The Commercial Truck’s Black Box Records Vital Data on Its Operation, Serving As Key Evidence for Your Lawyer in Pursuing Compensation after an Accident in New Jersey
In this country, there are 13.5 million registered trucks. Of these, nearly 3 million are tractor-trailers, and 10.5 million are one unit. These statistics include trucks whose gross vehicle weight is more than 10,000 pounds. That’s a lot of trucks, and big ones, too, all with the potential of being in an accident. Most of them have a black box, which is important in the event of an accident. The black box on a commercial truck is a device that records and keeps important information about a truck’s operation and performance. This information can help identify factors that led up to an accident. It can be used as evidence to help your truck accident lawyer fight for you and improve your chances of being compensated for all that you or your loved ones endured as a result of the accident. And black boxes aren’t limited to trucks and commercial vehicles. In fact, a multitude of cars contain black boxes throughout New Jersey and the United States. If you are seeking to prove liability for an accident, the black box records retrieved from a vehicle can be vital. Here’s why.
Systems within a Black Box
Black boxes usually consist of two systems: an Event Data Recorder (EDR) and an Electronic Logging Device (ELD). EDRs record data points on the vehicle’s performance. These data points, such as brake time, acceleration, and speed, can help reconstruct the events leading to an accident. ELDs track the hours that a driver has been driving and whether or not those exceed regulations. ELDs help your lawyer see whether driver fatigue was one cause of the accident. ELDs are required by law, but EDRs are not. Most new vehicles do include them, however. Trucking enterprises use them to investigate accidents internally, thereby improving overall safety. Starting in 2017, the United States Department of Transportation has mandated ELDs for most commercial trucks and buses. Cars are not required to contain black boxes, but more and more manufacturers have installed them in their new vehicles in recent years.
Key Information Logged by the Black Box
A black box records extensive and essential data, including:
- Braking action and force
- Engine speed
- Truck acceleration, deceleration, and speed
- GPS location
- Angle of steering
- Length of driver’s time behind the wheel
This data and the insights it provides are essential to an investigation or legal procedure.
Understanding Black Box Operation in the Event of an Accident
Certain events, like sudden braking or a collision, act as triggers for the black box to start recording data. The criteria for triggering can differ depending on the vehicle. Once triggered, the black box records a snapshot of data, covering a few seconds before and after the triggering event. This snapshot gives a detailed view of what was happening inside the vehicle during the crucial moments surrounding the accident. The recorded data is securely stored in the memory of the black box, designed to withstand damage. This ensures that the information remains intact and retrievable even after a severe collision.
After an accident, authorized personnel, such as investigators or law enforcement, can retrieve the data from the black box using specialized equipment and software provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer or other experts. The retrieved data undergoes analysis to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident. This analysis includes details like vehicle speed, brake usage, throttle position, and other key parameters crucial for understanding the accident’s circumstances.
Federal Guidelines for Black Box Usage in New Jersey Vehicle Accidents
In New Jersey, the use and regulation of black boxes (Event Data Recorders or EDRs) in vehicles, including in the event of an accident, are typically governed by federal laws set by agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rather than state-specific regulations. Therefore, the operation of a black box in the event of an accident in New Jersey would generally align with federal guidelines.
5 Tips to Ensure the Preservation of Black Box Data
Ensuring the preservation of data in a vehicle’s black box is crucial for accurate accident investigations. Here are steps vehicle owners can take to safeguard this information:
First, report the accident to authorities such as law enforcement, informing them about the presence of a black box. They can take steps to secure the data during their investigation.
Second, consult with an attorney specializing in transportation law for guidance on proper procedures, ensuring black box data preservation in accordance with the law. He or she may invite the pertinent officials to be present at the downloading of the data, to ensure their preservation.
Third, if safe, document the accident scene with photos or videos. This documentation aids in reconstructing events leading up to the accident and supports the accuracy of black box data.
Fourth, formally request in writing the preservation of black box data, directing it to relevant parties like law enforcement, insurance companies, or the vehicle manufacturer.
And fifth, consider involving professionals such as accident reconstruction experts who can assist in properly preserving and extracting black box data.
Experienced Lawyers Know How to Leverage Black Box Data in Your Lawsuit
Lawyers specializing in personal injury cases understand the legalities surrounding black box data and can navigate these complexities effectively. At Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys can promptly act to preserve the black box data, sending letters to relevant parties to ensure the information is safeguarded and not tampered with. We will work with experts to extract and interpret the black box data accurately. This analysis is crucial for understanding details like vehicle speed and braking patterns related to the accident.
Armed with insights from the black box, our lawyers can construct a compelling case, using the data to establish liability and depict the sequence of events leading to the injury. We can then negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, presenting the black box data as persuasive evidence to influence settlement talks. If a fair settlement can’t be reached and the matter goes to court, our attorneys may bring in expert witnesses, like accident reconstruction specialists, to testify. These experts provide professional opinions on how the black box data supports your side of the story.
With a commitment to best serving your interests, our personal injury attorneys can also navigate privacy concerns. Black box data raises privacy concerns, and we can effectively navigate these issues. Our team can address challenges related to the data’s admissibility in court while respecting privacy laws.
Let Cohen & Riechelson Obtain the Key Information You Need from a Black Box Device after an Accident in Mercer County, New Jersey
In essence, having a lawyer with expertise in personal injury law can be instrumental in utilizing black box data to strengthen your injury claim in East Windsor, Hamilton, Woodbridge, Princeton, Burlington, Hightstown, Trenton, Burlington, Mercer County, or elsewhere in New Jersey. Cohen & Riechelson’s knowledge, experience, and network of professionals can enhance the impact of this valuable evidence in seeking compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been in a crash that left you injured in New Jersey, contact the experienced accident lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson today. Call us at 609-528-2596 for a free introductory consultation in which we’ll evaluate your options.