What Is a “Black Box” and How Is It Used in Truck Accident Cases?

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Truck Accidents

tractor-trailer-on-fire-after-being-involved-in-truck-accidentTruck accident cases can be complex, but there are electronic devices like the truck’s “black box” that can be used to support your case. It’s important to obtain this electronic device as quickly as possible so that the trucking company does not have an opportunity to erase important information that may be stored on it.

What Is a “Black Box”?

A “black box” in a truck is a term used for various electronic data recorders installed in commercial vehicles. They aren’t literally black boxes, but rather computer modules that record data on the truck’s performance and the truck driver’s actions.

The technical term for a black box in a truck is an Event Data Recorder (EDR). EDRs are essentially electronic memory devices installed in trucks to capture data related to the vehicle and driver activity around the time of an accident.

The specific data recorded can include speed, braking activity, engine performance, seatbelt use and even the steering wheel’s position. It’s important to note that EDRs don’t record audio or video of the accident scene, nor do they track the driver’s activities for extended periods like hours-of-service logs.

Obtaining black box data often requires a court order as the trucking company owns the information. This requires your truck accident attorney to file a lawsuit early in the process. However, this data can be powerful evidence in a truck accident lawsuit.

How Are Black Boxes Used in Trucking Accident Cases?


Accident on mountainous road, motor vehicle accident, car wreck. Long vehicle overturned and lying in ditch on side

Black boxes can provide crucial objective information about the moments leading up to a crash, similar to airplane flight data recorders. This data can be vital when memories are faulty or the situation is disputed.

This data can be used by investigators and attorneys to determine fault in a trucking accident. It can help establish if the truck driver was speeding, driving recklessly, or if there were any mechanical issues with the truck that contributed to the accident.

What is the Purpose of an EDR in a Commercial Vehicle?

EDRs record data for a short period before, during, and after a crash. This data can help accident investigators understand how the crash happened and establish who is at fault.

These electronic devices act as a fact-finding tool. By recording crucial data around the time of a crash, they provide objective information on vehicle performance and driver actions. This data is vital in accident reconstruction, helping investigators understand how the crash unfolded.

Further, EDRs can be used to improve commercial vehicle safety. The data collected by EDRs goes beyond individual accident investigations. Truck manufacturers and safety agencies can analyze this data from various crashes to identify trends and potential safety issues. This information can be used to improve vehicle design, implement new safety features, and ultimately enhance overall road safety for commercial vehicles.

Is a Black Box the Same as an Electronic Logging Device?


Electronic logging device for trucking industry with hours of service displayed on smartphone screen

No, EDRs are different from Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) which are mandated by law for most commercial vehicles in the United States. ELDs track a driver’s hours of service to ensure they are following regulations on driving time and rest periods.

When you are involved in a truck accident lawsuit, you will need to obtain both the EDR and the ELD to reconstruct what happened before, during, and after the crash. Combined, these electronic devices can provide a plethora of information to lawyers and investigators that will help you get the most compensation possible by determining liability.

Contact Truck Accident Lawyer Venus Poe for Help

If you were involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle, it’s important to obtain key evidence like the black box right away. Attorney Venus Poe understands the urgency of cases like these and will act quickly. Contact us today at (864) 754-0823 to get started. We have offices in Greenville and Fountain Inn

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