Black Box Data in Trucks

The “Black Box” of Big Rigs: What Data Can Tell Us After a Crash

Due to the massive size of tractor-trailers, accidents involving these vehicles often lead to serious injuries, fatalities, and catastrophic property damage. Understanding the factors contributing to these accidents is crucial both for improving road safety and holding responsible parties accountable when they cause collisions. The “black box” of big rigs, known more formally as the event data recorder, provides valuable insight into the events leading up to a crash. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, your attorney may use data from the EDR to build their case.

Wondering if you have a valid claim after a truck accident in Atlanta? The team at Bailey Javins & Carter is here for you. Call us at 678-981-5370 to set up a consultation now.

What Are Event Data Recorders?

Event data recorders, commonly referred to as “black boxes,” are electronic devices installed in vehicles to record critical data related to vehicle operation and performance. You’ve likely heard this term used in the context of airplanes, when investigating agencies look at a plane’s black box to figure out what went wrong immediately before it crashed. 

EDRs capture information such as vehicle speed, engine RPM, brake application, steering input, and other factors in the moments leading up to and during a crash. The data is captured on the EDR and can be pulled and analyzed by an expert after a collision.

Insight Provided by EDRs

EDRs play an important role in understanding the circumstances surrounding a truck accident and determining its cause. By analyzing EDR data, investigators can figure out the chain of events leading up to the crash. They may look at the truck’s speed, the driver’s braking behavior, driver inputs, and any mechanical issues or malfunctions. 

This information can provide valuable insight into factors such as driver error, fatigue, distracted driving, mechanical failure, or environmental conditions contributing to the accident. It’s obvious how this can assist those trying to figure out who is at fault for a crash. 

For example, consider fatigued driving—a massive problem within the trucking industry. Fatigued driving is easy to identify when you look at EDR data. Fatigued drivers often have a slow decrease in speed as their feet slide off the accelerator. The vehicle may drift and steering input is limited. Finally, there is often a sharp jerk back in the opposite direction once the driver snaps awake and realizes what has happened.

Legal Implications of EDR Evidence

If EDR data can be validated and verified, it can be very strong evidence in a truck accident case. If it harms the other driver’s case or directly contradicts their retelling of events, expect their legal team to try to poke holes in the EDR’s reliability or the expert’s analysis of the data. This is one reason you need an attorney—you need professionals who can access and analyze the EDR data properly. They must then be able to defend the reliability of that data from those who will question it.

Building Your Truck Accident Case

Truck accident attorneys often use EDR data to build their truck accident cases. Most truck accidents are the result of a handful of driver errors, and EDR logs can make it easy to detect what occurred immediately prior to a crash. Those who have analyzed many truck accidents know what pattern of behavior to look for during analysis. 

Some EDR data may also show whether or not the driver was in violation of FMCSA regulations. For example, if the truck was moving for longer than a driver is legally permitted to drive, that’s a clear sign of an hours-of-service violation. If serious mechanical errors contributed to the crash, this may point to a failure to do proper inspections and maintenance.

Your attorney will know how to use EDR data in conjunction with other types of evidence to build the strongest case possible.

Start Your Case with Bailey Javins & Carter

If you’ve been injured in a Georgia truck accident, don’t wait any longer to find out if you have a valid case. Call the team at Bailey Javins & Carter to set up your free consultation. You can reach us online or call us at 678-981-5370.