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What is the “black box” on a truck and why is it important?

The black box on a truck is an electronic onboard recording device that keeps track of a trucker’s driving time. It can help determine if the trucker violated the hours-of-service rules, which stipulate the amount of time allowed behind the wheel. Sometimes accident victims use it as evidence when filing a claim after a truck accident to recover compensation for their damages.


How a Black Box May Be Useful after an Accident

A violation of the hours-of-service rules could help establish the cause of an accident. For instance, claimants may argue that since the driver went over the allowable time, fatigue could have been a contributing factor or possibly direct cause of the crash. Driving while drowsy would be considered negligence, but it can sometimes be very difficult to prove, which is why data from the black box may be useful.

Some devices may also record the driver’s road speed. This could help prove the trucker had exceeded the posted speed limit at the time of the accident. This is another type of negligent driving behavior that could show the driver’s liability for injuries that others sustain in an accident.

Accident victims may use black boxes to show the distance traveled between destinations, too, and the time it took the driver to cover that distance. If it appears the driver got from Point A to Point B much faster than the speed limit would allow, for example, it could indicate the driver rushed between locations and, therefore, may help substantiate claims of carelessness behind the wheel.

This can not only point to the likelihood of a driver speeding, but may help establish erratic driving, too. Sudden lane changes, cutting off other vehicles, and weaving in and out of traffic are some examples of reckless driving. Of course, witnesses to the accident can better help substantiate that the driver was operating the vehicle erratically at the time of the accident.

An Attorney Can Help Obtain Data from a Truck’s Black Box

With the potential to build a strong case based on data from the black box, it’s clear why obtaining it would be beneficial. But there can be some challenges. First, it’s possible that the driver and/or trucking company attempts to erase or alter the data. This is one reason to contact a truck accident attorney serving New Jersey and beyond, who can send out a letter requiring preservation of all information on it.

It’s especially important to secure legal counsel if injuries in the accident are severe, disabling or life-threatening. There is a lot at stake emotionally, physically and financially. So to protect one’s rights and explore all legal options, seek advice from an attorney familiar with truck accident cases.

At Cordisco & Saile LLC we understand the significant impact an accident with a semi can have on an individual and his or her family. We can help obtain evidence to prove the trucker’s liability, such as the black box. So don’t delay seeking help; contact us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation.