Wouldn’t it be nice to know what actions a truck driver took in the moments before a collision? Fortunately, you can find this information if the truck has an electronic onboard reporting system, a.k.a. a “black box.”
Black boxes on commercial trucks work like black boxes on airplanes, recording information that can be accessed later to find out how an accident unfolded. Your Austin truck accident lawyer should move quickly to preserve this information to uncover whether it can help with your legal claim.
What Information Do Black Boxes Record?
There are many types of recording devices popularly called “black boxes,” and they do not all record the same information. Each device is different, but some can record information such as:
- Tire pressure
- Oil levels
- Whether the truck decelerated quickly
- Any hard braking
One electronic device is now required on all commercial trucks—the electronic logging device (ELD). It will record how long the truck has been in service, which is very important as the trucking industry has a history of pushing its drivers too hard. Consequently, the federal government passed hours of service requirements that limit how long a trucker can operate a vehicle before needing a break. In spite of these laws, violations regularly occur.
Some black boxes are designed to record over information in a loop, so information can be lost quickly. But new federal regulations will require that ELDs store certain information for at least six months.
In the old days of paper logs, trucking companies and individual drivers could too easily falsify their records. In fact, some trucking companies had one log for the government regulators and another (more accurate) log for themselves.
With an ELD, regulators and others can find out precisely how long the trucker has been on duty. These systems should also report information in real time, making the information that much easier to collect.
How Does an Injured Motorist Obtain this Information?
Government regulators can just demand that trucking companies hand over their logs. However, injured motorists will need to have a possible legal claim against the company and send them a preservation of evidence letter. This letter puts the company on notice that it must preserve evidence related to your accident. If the company doesn’t, they could be sanctioned by a court and possibly even lose the lawsuit by default.
To protect yourself after an accident, hire an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can preserve evidence and then analyze the electronic logs to identify whether a driver was on the road in violation of federal law.
Speak to the Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at DC Law Today
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are probably in a lot of pain and worried about the future. Commercial trucks cause devastating injuries, and you will need compensation to pay for medical expenses and replace lost wages.