The National Safety Council reports that nearly 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal auto accidents in 2020. Approximately 147,000 people were injured in truck accidents in the same year. Commercial trucks are much larger than the average vehicle on public roads and consequently, the damage caused in a commercial truck crash is often catastrophic. Personal injury lawsuits for commercial truck accidents often lead to six and seven-figure payouts. Frequently, information from the truck’s event data recorder is a key piece of evidence in a large commercial truck accident investigation.
What Does an Event Data Recorder Do?
Event data recorders (EDRs) sometimes called “black boxes” or electronic control modules may be installed in commercial vehicles or privately owned vehicles. The device records technical vehicle information before, during, and after a collision. This information can be used to understand the events that led to a crash and what happened during the collision.
Event data recorders often record information about:
Pre-crash vehicle dynamics including the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, deceleration, and engine RPM
Vehicle crash signature
Driver inputs including steering and brake application
Restraint usage including the use of a seatbelt and whether airbags deployed
How is EDR Information Used in a Truck Crash Investigation?
Large commercial truck accidents are often caused and contributed to by many different factors. It is nearly impossible to assign blame for a crash without a thorough investigation. The information from an EDR can be used to understand how the driver’s actions may have contributed to the crash. For example, if an EDR shows that the brakes were never touched during a rear-end collision, it may point to drowsy driving or distracted driving. If the EDR shows that a driver was weaving in and out of lanes or driving erratically before a crash, this could be a sign of intoxicated driving. Information from an EDR may also point to issues with the truck itself, including problems caused by insufficient maintenance or defective vehicle parts.
Gathering and Preserving EDR Data During an Injury Claim
A personal injury attorney working on a commercial truck accident injury case may be able to use EDR data to demonstrate the culpability of the at-fault party. Often, crash data retrieval technicians and accident reconstructionists assist injury lawyers in gathering and interpreting EDR data. However, before EDR data can be used during an injury case, the data must be downloaded from the device. Attorneys may use letters of spoliation to ensure that EDR data is not lost or destroyed before the data can be retrieved.
Contact an Orland Park Truck Accident Injury Lawyer
At Schwartz Injury Law, we understand the challenges involved in commercial truck accident cases and how to overcome these challenges. Call our experienced Cook County personal injury attorneys at 708-226-9000 for a free, confidential consultation.