What can a truck’s black box tell you?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Thankfully, there has not been a major commercial airplane crash in a few years. When these aircraft go down, though, investigators quickly and diligently search for their event data records. Commonly called black boxes, these recorders have vital information about the plane’s operations.

Like commercial airplanes, many trucks on the road today have black boxes. If you have a collision with a tractor-trailer, it is critical to try to obtain the vehicle’s box. Indeed, it can tell you a great deal about why the accident happened.

Truck operations

According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, despite not being on all commercial vehicles, event data recorders are a valuable source of operational data for some trucks. In fact, if you can obtain a truck’s data recorder, you can gain insight into the following:

  • Speed
  • Accelerator and brake pedal position
  • Steering wheel position
  • Gear and engine speed
  • Vehicle maintenance


Some data recorders contain communications between the truck driver and the trucking company. If so, you may also learn about the trucker’s behaviors behind the wheel, including driving time, routes and rest breaks. When you are trying to assign fault for an accident, this information can be invaluable.


It is important to note that data in a black box may not be available forever. Because the trucker or trucking company may be able to delete or overwrite important facts, you may need to take legal action to safeguard the contents of the truck’s black box.

Ultimately, after a collision with a tractor-trailer, it is important to work with a legal team that knows how to access black box data and what to do with it.

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