Any motor vehicle collision involving a truck will likely result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. Following the crash, it is imperative that any evidence that sheds light on the factors that led to the wreck is collected and preserved. Two important pieces of evidence are the event data recorder (EDR), and the truck’s maintenance logs.
What is an EDR?
Often referred to as a black box or electronic data recorder, the EDR is a piece of technology tied directly into the truck’s essential systems. It is designed to capture technical information about the vehicle for a brief period of time. Activated by a significant physical event like a crash, the EDR records volumes of information for the five seconds prior to the wreck. Based on which parameters are selected, the system can monitor and record factors such as:
- Vehicle speed
- Engine RPMs
- Cruise control status
- Brake status
- Throttle position
These factors can help build a coherent picture of the events that led to a truck collision. For example, if the brakes were not applied to avoid a crash, it is possible the truck driver was distracted or sleeping while behind the wheel.
How does the maintenance record help?
It is not uncommon to see a fully loaded 18-wheeler barreling down the highway at incredible speeds. If any of the mechanical systems, safety equipment or electrical systems fail, the large truck can demolish smaller vehicles in its path. These vehicles log hundreds of thousands of miles each year and must be properly maintained to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Crucial factors can include:
- Tire maintenance
- Engine maintenance
- Brake maintenance
If any of these systems fail, the 18-wheeler can cause a catastrophic collision on a crowded city street or fast-moving highway.
It is important to gather this information after a collision. Additionally, investigators will often seek the driver’s training records as well as performance history.
Large truck collisions can devastate smaller passenger vehicles and their occupants. Drivers and passengers can suffer brain trauma, spinal cord damage and crush injuries. Severe collisions often result in fatality.