What is a truck’s “black box”?

It’s essential that a truck accident victim is able to prove liability when pursuing damages after a serious truck crash in Dallas. Proving liability requires proving negligence. A truck’s “black box” stores electronic data that may be quite useful when presenting relevant evidence to support your claim of negligence and liability.

What is a “black box?” 

The “black box” on a truck is the colloquial way of referring to a commercial truck’s Electronic Control Module (ECM). This typically is located within a truck’s engine. The ECM gathers important data about truck activity including average speed, the amount of time driving, highest speed, idling time, the driver’s seatbelt use, and more.

Electronic Control Modules are installed on the majority of trucks in the United States, and particularly those manufactured within the last 10 years. They are in use to create accurate driving logs for drivers. While each black box works a bit differently, most capture and store data for 30 days at a time.

How can a truck’s ECM benefit my personal injury claim?   

If you’ve been in a car accident caused by the driver of a large truck, the truck’s ECM may provide valuable information about the details of the day of the crash. For instance, it might show whether or not the truck driver was driving at an excessively high speed. Because most black boxes typically store data for a period of just 30 days, it’s crucial that you act quickly to ensure the data isn’t destroyed.

According to the American Bar Association, it is the duty of the appropriate parties to preserve evidence relevant to a car accident. Even so, it’s typically a good idea to send a “preservation letter” to the involved trucking company. An attorney can assist with this task and ensure it’s delivered in a timely manner.

An injury lawyer also can ensure you’re acting well within the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Texas. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 16.003 set the time limit at two years from the date of the accident.

What can an attorney do for me after an accident?

The attorneys at the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC, can help you create a preservation letter requesting that the trucking company maintain the evidence on a truck black box. A lawyer also can help you sort through the data to determine what’s relevant to your case and file a claim for damages should you choose to do so. If you have questions about how to get started or what types of compensation may be available to you, call our Dallas office now at 214-290-8001.

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