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Lawyers Using ‘Black Box’ Data in Tractor-Trailer Accident Cases

For decades, news reports on airplane crashes have described searches for the “black box” that records flight data crucial to the accident investigation. Now, most tractor-trailers on the road contain a similar device, which might be pivotal in litigation when they get into accidents.

These devices, known as an electronic control module (ECM) or an event data recorder (EDR), record various types of information that can be significant in a truck accident lawsuit or insurance claim, such as:

  • Truck speed — Pressure to complete a job promptly or inattention could push a commercial vehicle driver to unsafe speeds. By reviewing what the ECM or EDR says, the parties can evaluate if a truck was moving too fast.
  • Seat belt and air bag malfunctions — The extent of a truck driver’s or passenger’s injuries might depend heavily on whether seat belts provided effective restraint and air bags deployed properly. If either of these parts failed, a possible claim might exist against the manufacturer.
  • Whether the driver hit the brakes or gas pedal — After an accident, memories are frequently hazy and parties may feel pressure to describe their actions in a favorable light. However, ECMs and EDRs can state with certainty if the tractor-trailer operator was hitting the brakes or accelerator in the seconds before the crash.
  • Timing of multiple impacts — Because tractor-trailers are large and difficult to bring to a sudden stop, they are more likely to be involved in multi-vehicle collisions. With the recording device, investigators can determine the timing of each impact.

For injury cases stemming from tractor-trailer accidents, you need an experienced litigator who understands the significance of ECM/EDR data and can use it to demonstrate where the fault lies in a commercial vehicle accident.

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban represents victims of tractor-trailer accidents in the Carolinas and Virginia. Please call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We have offices in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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