Get the Hard Data From a Truck's ‘Black Box'



By Tim Dollar —

If you’ve been in a large truck-related crash, don’t assume you’ll never know what really happened. The conduct of commercial motor vehicle drivers is often monitored and recorded, thanks to several technological systems installed on their vehicles.

Satellite-based and cellular tracking devices let fleet managers monitor their drivers remotely, including their location and speed, and even their braking and cornering techniques. “Black boxes,” also known as electronic data recorders, can be invaluable to investigators after a crash. They record information on tire pressure, engine RPM, sudden braking, clutch engagement, following distance and driving hours. They also record communications between drivers and their company managers.

Because black box data is so invaluable, it’s important to ensure that the truck is secured. Data can be lost or erased if the truck is driven, moved or repaired before records can be downloaded. Often, gaining access to the information requires specific legal procedures or even a lawsuit.

Trucking companies are also adding technology designed to prevent rollovers and monitor driver fatigue, and not all vehicles have the same equipment. The more information gathered after a crash, the better. Often, accident reproduction experts can present the most compelling evidence in truck crash litigation. Every piece of hard data will provide a more complete picture of what happened leading up to and during a wreck.

Tim Dollar, a truck crash attorney with Dollar Burns & Becker and victim advocate.