Since the 1990’s, most trucks manufactured in the United States have an Electronic Control Module (ECM)—also called a black box—installed in their motor components. These black boxes are similar to those found in airplanes and could be useful in helping prove that the trucker was the cause of an accident.

Data Preserved in a Black Box That Could Be Useful in Proving a Trucker’s Negligence

Truck manufacturers originally began installing black boxes in their truck engine components to help defeat engine warranty claims. However, they also contain valuable information that could help prove a trucker caused a crash, such as:

  • Speed the truck was going
  • RPM (Rotations per minute)
  • Acceleration rate
  • Number of hard stops
  • Length of time the trucker was driving
  • Amount of time the truck was going over 65 miles per hour and the highest speed driven
  • Driver identification information
  • Idle time of the truck
  • How much fuel was consumed
  • Whether a seat belt was used
  • Whether the airbag was deployed

Black box information is preserved for 30 days on most trucks, although older models could record data for a much shorter period of time. After that, it begins recording over the previous data, erasing it.

In addition, some truck companies install a cab electronic module, which records dispatching or delivery information. This data could also provide useful information in proving a trucker’s fault in causing an accident.

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a truck accident, so the attorney can take necessary steps to preserve the data in the black box of the truck that caused your accident. This information could be invaluable in proving the trucker’s and trucking company’s liability in causing your accident and help get you the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in an accident with a trucker, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982