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What’s Inside a Big Rig’s Little Black Box?

The electronic logging device (ELD), otherwise known as the black box, has been congressionally mandated for commercial drivers who are required to maintain records of their hours of service. Exceptions to that rule include drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000. The black box has become an integral part of trucking. In addition to data regarding the driver’s hours of service, it can provide data on vehicle speed, steering function, braking action, and other vehicle parameters. In some cases, black box data can be used as evidence to support a claim for compensation after a serious truck accident.

What Is an ELD?

An ELD (black box) is an electronic logging device – a tablet computer carried in the cab of a large commercial truck. This technology provides a simple, accurate method of keeping records that truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain under federal regulations. ELD use is mandatory for all vehicles covered under recent legislation as of December 16, 2019. It is designed to make recording tasks already required for the trucking industry easier to perform.

What Does the Black Box Do?

The ELD is connected to the truck’s engine to record a wealth of data automatically. Some types of entries can be manually edited by the driver or support staff. Edits are tracked and must be approved by the driver. The data is uploaded to a system from which reports can be run and compliance routes can be created. Trucking companies can also use the data to determine fuel costs, time spent on specific routes, whether drivers need additional training, and which routes are the most profitable for the company. Our Texas trucking accident attorney can use black box data to obtain evidence of driver or trucking company negligence to support a truck accident claim for compensation.

How Can ELD Data Be Helpful In a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

The black box can provide information about the tractor trailer, the truck driver’s behavior, and the circumstances surrounding the crash. It can provide evidence of hours of service violations (leading to driver fatigue), speeding, and other negligent driving behavior, as well as data about the condition and operation of the vehicle, including:

  • Brake application
  • Accelerator application
  • Speed and rate of acceleration
  • Seat belt use
  • Tire pressure
  • Airbag deployment

Fifteen states, including Texas, have enacted strong legislation to safeguard personal driver information gathered by electronic logging devices. However, black box data can be collected and distributed for the purposes of litigation, such as a truck accident claim for compensation.

New Mexico and Texas Truck Accident Lawyer

If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck accident, the best thing to do is to speak with an experienced trucking accident attorney as soon as possible. At the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C., we can thoroughly investigate your accident to determine fault and liability, and collect and preserve evidence, including black box data, to support your claim. Call us at (903) 207-5526 to schedule a free consultation so you can learn more about your options under the law.