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NTSB Calling for Installation of Data Recorders on All Commercial Trucks

A fiery California crash that cannot be explained by investigators has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to urge that all commercial bus and truck manufacturers install data recorders on their vehicles.  The NTSB states that it has been unable to determine why a tractor-trailer in California crossed the median and struck a bus transporting high school students on a college tour.  The accident killed eight bus passengers.  Flames encompassed the bus and emergency exits were blocked, forcing students to escape through windows.  NTSB officials report that had the truck or bus been equipped with a black box recording device, this could have shed light on the cause of the accident.

Our Miami truck accident lawyers find that this is not the first time the NTSB has urged for the installation of black boxes on all trucks and cars.  In fact, the NTSB has recommended data recorders for decades but the United States Department of Transportation has declined to mandate their installation in all larger motor vehicles.  The American Trucking Association responded by expressing its support for any technological devices that positively impact safety.

What is a Black Box or Data Recorder?

A black box or data recorder is a device that stores information concerning the physical characteristics of a vehicle.  The following information is generally collected by the black box recorder:

  • Speed
  • Braking, including heavy braking or use of parking brake
  • Location
  • Hours driven
  • RPMs
  • Time spent idling
  • Movement of the vehicle
  • Acceleration and deceleration times
  • Fuel consumption
  • Driver identification

Depending upon the black box device, additional information such as seatbelt use and whether airbags were deployed may also be saved.  The black box was developed based upon flight data recorders which have been used in airplanes since the 1990’s. Black boxes are commonly used in commercial trucks, but there is no federal mandate requiring their installation.

The Importance of Black Box Data in the Event of a Crash

            Black box data can prove vital to uncovering the cause of a truck accident.  The black box may reveal that the truck driver was speeding or had been driving for over the maximum number of hours permitted under federal law.  The recorder could also demonstrate that there is a mechanical failure, such as brake failure, or other serious problem with the truck.  For truck accident victims, this information could prove essential in their truck accident lawsuit.  Black box data may substantiate their own or witness accounts of the accident or could reveal an entirely unrecognized cause of the accident.  The importance of securing black box evidence cannot be emphasized enough.

If the truck involved in your accident had a black box, your attorney will take steps to immediately protect the evidence from destruction.  The data recorder will be safely held and processed with both parties present.  With this data, your attorney can build your strong truck accident case.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Over 130 Years of Collective Experience

            For exceptional representation with your truck accident action, contact the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano  We have of 130 collective years of experience representing truck accident victims in South Florida.  Our skilled representation and dedication to our injured clients has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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