Drivers need to know that there is a “black box” in most large trucks today. This box is responsible for recording information about the operation of the vehicle.
When someone is hit by a truck or involved in a truck accident, this electronic device known as an Electronic Control Module (ECM) should be preserved. Getting control of the ECM early helps everyone gather important information about what caused the crash and can help determine fault as well. You will need a lawyer to ensure that information is preserved.
How do ECMs work?
ECMs are linked up with the truck’s engine electronic control module. That link makes it possible to receive signals about the vehicle’s:
In advanced ECMs, it’s possible to get other information, too, such as the oil level in the vehicle or the tire pressure at any one time.
Following a collision, it’s possible to download that information to a computer.
Not all black boxes are the same
The first thing to know about these recording devices is that they are not all the same. Some record on a loop that lasts only a few minutes. Others record on much longer loops that retain many hours or data.
Depending on the kind of ECM in the truck, victims of collisions may have only a short time to seek out that information.
Will ECMs be destroyed in crashes?
It’s unlikely, because they are usually protected well. However, if there is a fire or major electrical problem, the ECM could be damaged and data could be lost.
A black box could help with your case
Being able to get data from a black box could help your case. However, not all trucks have these boxes installed.
For the most part, trucking companies do have these ECMs installed, because they provide data on the drivers and how they’re doing their jobs. For victims of truck collisions, whether that victim is the driver or someone else, the black box may be indispensable evidence of what went wrong and who should be held liable for the incident. In many cases, this information will be valuable and you need a lawyer to help ensure you get it.