Because of the comparatively large size of semi-trucks, accidents often cause catastrophic damage to the goods in their trailers and serious injuries to those involved. Trucking companies are regularly the targets of litigation, of course, as they tend to have the deepest pockets. Still, truckers and the companies that employ them are not always legally responsible.
After an accident, plaintiff attorneys work long hours to assign blame. Trucking companies also should try to determine exactly why the crash unfolded. If the tractor-trailer has one, a black box can be extremely useful.
What does a black box do?
While not all semi-trucks on the road today have black boxes, many do. Officially called event data recorders, these black boxes track many vehicle operations. In fact, according to reporting from Reuters, black boxes are capable of documenting in real time a vehicle’s speed, crash forces, brake and airbag deployment and even seat belt usage.
How are black boxes useful to trucking companies?
There are numerous real-world applications for black box data, including managing fuel economy and driver hours. When it comes to possible litigation, though, the contents of a black box can be particularly useful. Indeed, while accident reconstructionists might disagree about the cause of a crash, it is difficult to argue with the integrated information inside a black box.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it is important to safeguard the contents of a truck’s black box. Ultimately, if the black box contains information that is helpful to the trucking company, the company might be able to avoid liability for a potentially costly accident.