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Texas Lawyers Discuss Black Box Investigations


Recovering Evidence to Support Your Truck Accident Claim

A black box investigation is a critical element in any truck accident case. A commercial truck’s black box can provide a wealth of data to support your claim. In many cases, the black box investigation reveals crucial evidence, enabling injured truck accident victims to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and other damages.

The attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP have handled many black box investigations. We know the steps, who to contact, and what information to look for. Unfortunately, a black box’s storage ability is limited, and time is of the essence. That’s why if you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s poor decisions, you should contact our firm today. With our knowledge and expertise, we may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve and need.

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What Is a Black Box?

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are commonly called black boxes. They record data that can help show how long the driver was on the road (likelihood of fatigue), what the driver did, and how the truck accident occurred. A black box records information regarding:

  • The speed at which the truck was traveling (including average speed)
  • Steering position
  • Load factor
  • GPS coordinates
  • Driver braking activity, including whether the driver slammed on the brakes
  • Driver acceleration
  • Seatbelt use
  • Trip distance
  • Driving time
  • Engine oil pressure
  • Inlet air temperature
  • Exhaust stack temperature
  • Cylinder exhaust temperature
  • Throttle position
  • Deployment of airbags

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How Prevalent Are Black Boxes In the Trucking Industry?

Nearly all commercial trucks today have black boxes. These devices became mandatory for all commercial trucks and buses under the congressionally mandated ELD rule as part of MAP-21 (a federal funding and authorization bill), as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This rule was intended to create a safer work environment for drivers and to make it easier to track, manage, and share records of duty status data. The electronic logging device synchronizes with the engine of the truck to automatically record driving time, for more accurate recording truck drivers’ hours of service.

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What Makes Black Box Data So Important in a Truck Accident Case?

If you have been injured in a collision with a big rig, data taken from the truck’s black box can help prove that the driver was fatigued, speeding, or otherwise driving negligently. If faulty brakes or other truck equipment failure caused the accident, black box data could help prove that, as well. Losing this data could significantly impact your case. To prevent that loss, your attorney must act quickly to put the trucking company on notice that the black box data must be preserved.

As electronic logging devices (black boxes) have limited data storage capacity, new data is written over old data in a loop. On some large trucks, these loops can be a little as ten minutes. The old data is lost when new data is written over it. When a big rig crash occurs, data must be taken from the black box as soon as possible to preserve evidence in the case. After a serious truck accident, attorneys for the injured victims must ensure that the truck is not moved or repaired, the black box is not removed, and no information is retrieved from it unless all parties are present.

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Why You Need a Lawyer

A collision with an 80,000-pound commercial truck can cause severe injuries to passenger vehicle occupants. Your best chance of obtaining a full recovery of your losses is to have an experienced lawyer by your side. Our Texas trucking accident attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, will act quickly to investigate your accident and preserve relevant evidence in your case. We can assess the full extent of your losses – past, present, and future – and build a strong claim for compensation based on the evidence. We can negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and will not hesitate to take your case to trial, if necessary, to recover the compensation you deserve.

Large trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers to fight against your claim. If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, contact us today at (903) 212-2822. The sooner you act to retain experienced counsel, the better your chances of being fully compensated for your injuries.

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Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP

Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP is a legal practice that provides personal, client-centered legal services that address the specific needs of accident victims and injured parties.


Dan Sorey
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Derek Gilliland
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John Hull
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