Any personal injury attorney handling a truck-car accident injury case must be familiar with a wide array of computerized, electronic “black box” information and data now available as part of the typical trucking company big-rig or tractor trailer.  Data recorders on semi’s/ tractor-trailers have become very sophisticated.  First of all, most trucking companies use an electronic control module or electronic data recorder ( referred to as the black box, electronic on-board computer (EOBR) or electronic logging device) which records certain braking data, speed, cruise control settings, and a sudden deceleration.  However, even newer electronic data recorders (EOBR’s) monitor the speed of a truck as well as the number of driving hours, which can vital for driver fatigue and federal regulatory compliance or violation.  Statistically, driver fatigue plays a part in many big rig or tractor trailer accidents causing personal injuries  These recorders can show every time a driver goes over the allowed hours of service, or the number of excursions over a speed limit.

 In the old days, driver log books were maintained manually, in a written form.  Personal injury lawyers who handled trucking-car/auto personal injury cases carefully review log books to determine whether truck drivers were tired and fatigued by operating over the number of hours allowed per day.  Now, some trucking companies have gotten rid of hand written logs entirely and are using global positioning systems (GPS)/satellite and wireless devices to track a driver’s route and schedule and to send this information back to the trucking company headquarters computers.  Any trucking injury attorney doing personal injury lawsuit work must be familiar with this new array of electronic/computerized information.  Often, we must quickly retain experts with experience in the trucking industry to keep us up-to-date on the fast-changing electronic data that can be obtained, and to advise us of immediate steps to take to secure and preserve evidence.  In trucking cases, retaining an experienced attorney fast is critical.

 Just as the railroad industry has embraced video cameras on many locomotive engines, video cameras are now being permanently mounted in some trucks mainly to help the trucking company prove what has gone on in case of a property damage or a serious personal injury or truck-car death case.  A computer records the video data, and it again may be maintained on a hard drive, or wirelessly sent to the trucking company headquarters.

Sometimes, electronic data information cuts both ways because trucking company lawyers are now seeking to obtain the electronic data recordings from the car or auto involved in the accident with the truck.  The data recorders in autos or cars typically are not as sophisticated as a trucking company data recorder, but there is relevant information that can be obtained.


For a person or family considering whether to retain a personal injury lawyer for a trucking accident case, it is important to take action as quickly as possible because trucking companies are required to keep many records, including daily driving logs, for six months from the date of the accident all, although some exceptions apply.  Timing can be critical in the evidence gathering efforts.

If you or a family member would like an initial free consultation with regard to a trucking-car injury case, feel free to contact any of our attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan..

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.