Each year, thousands are injured as a result of truck accidents nationwide. Hundreds are affected in the state of Pennsylvania. Victims of truck accidents suffer significant setbacks and losses. They find themselves having to pay medical bills and yet endure the loss of income because they cannot return to work soon after the accident. In fact, some other victims find themselves with permanent injuries and disabilities, which prevent them from ever working again.
The Importance of Evidence
When it comes to proving your truck accident case, one of the most important things is to have sufficient evidence to bolster your claim. If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to take a number of steps to protect your rights including getting prompt medical attention and gathering evidence at the scene including photos, videos, contact information from eyewitnesses, insurance information from the truck driver, etc.
Your truck accident lawyer will also send spoliation letters to the appropriate parties to help ensure that crucial pieces of evidence such as truck driver logs, cell phone records and documentation relating to truck maintenance are preserved. In addition to these, it is also important to preserve the truck’s black box.
What is the Black Box?
We often hear references to the black box in the aftermath of an aviation accident. In tragic cases where airlines crash into the ocean, you often see teams of divers going into the water to retrieve the black box so officials can get a sense of what went wrong. The black box in a truck accident is similar. A majority of trucks manufactured since the 1990s have what is known as the electronic control module, which is also known as the black box.
These modules are designed to capture a variety of data regarding truck operation. Some of this valuable data includes overall average speed, highest speed, time driven, amount of time the truck drivers travels at speeds higher than 65 mph, seatbelt usage, idling time and airbag performance. The black box data will also be able to show whether the truck driver braked before he crashed. Since the black box also records usage data, it could be compared to the driver’s personal log to determine whether his actual driving time was greater than what was recorded.
Why It is Important to Preserve
Black boxes in commercial trucks typically record data for a period of 30 days. Sometimes that recording period might be even shorter. So, it is crucial that these modules are preserved soon after the accident. If they aren’t, the data could be erased or lost forever. It is also a fact that the data recorded on these modules are effectively the property of the trucking company. This means that the trucking company could destroy this information until it is ordered by a court to preserve it. Black box data can be extremely valuable to make determinations with regard to whether a driver was fatigued, speeding or otherwise negligent at the time of a crash.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is important that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and take prompt to steps to preserve and protect pieces of evidence including the black box, which could be crucial for your claim.