​Crash Data Recorders Needed in Trucks and Buses

The occurrence of accidents involving commercial buses and trucks have caused major concern to the point that the National Transportation Safety Board has been encouraged to enforce the installation of black boxes inside these vehicles for reporting purposes.

Award winning Attorney Steven M Sweat shares his insights and views on why crash data recorders are needed in trucks and buses.

The occurrence of accidents involving commercial buses and trucks have caused major concern to the point that the National Transportation Safety Board has been encouraged to enforce the installation of black boxes inside these vehicles for reporting purposes. The term “black box” is commonly recognized due to the role it plays in the investigation process after an airplane or helicopter crash has occurred. Although incident reports are documented at the scene of an accident, statements given by witnesses and those involved in the accident if they survive may be slightly different from the actual events. Although human intentions may be good, black boxes can yield better reporting results.

Benefits of a Black Box

There are several benefits that black boxes are able to provide in the event of an truck and bus accident. Black boxes can produce evidence despite the external damage that has happened to a bus or truck. When fiery crashes occur, sometimes all that is left is a black box. The need for this device was evident after a crash occurred in 2014 in California which involved a charter bus and a FedEx tractor trailer. The aftermath of the accident resulted in ten deceased passengers and other injured victims. Although the drivers of each vehicle could haven given an accurate account about what actually happened, neither driver survived to tell their side of the story.

The evidence that black boxes can produce include vehicle operation. Currently aircraft operations are recorded to help investigators find factors that cause a crash such as malfunctioning aircraft parts or human error. This can be useful when bus and truck drivers are traveling on highways at various speeds. If there are sudden stops or a high rate of speed is used for an extended period of time, investigators can determine which driver was at fault. If weather conditions are unfavorable, road conditions can be included to draw conclusions about the crash.

After evidence is collected, video simulation can be developed to replay the possible actions. As a result, mistakes that are discovered will assist in the development and implementation of future safety measures. These measures can include improved auto parts and driver education. Research indicates that black boxes are currently being improved to help yield more accurate information. Although black boxes may be in the process of being upgraded, the installation of current black boxes will provide a significant amount of evidence. This is especially critical when accident survivors and other motorists on the road may be at risk of losing their lives due to widespread fires.

The importance of the installation of black boxes in trucks and buses move beyond the collision. Many people have lost their lives because of the negligence of drivers. When innocent people lose their lives, their loved ones continue to suffer many years after the incident. When black boxes are installed in buses or trucks, closure for families can happen as opposed to the existence of lingering questions which may never be answered.

The Urgency for Immediate Black Box Installation

The idea of installing black boxes in buses and trucks has been brought before the NTSB as a way to shed light to the need of the device. Research indicates that Event Data Recorders are used in some vehicles to record accident related events. Since this device is currently being used, this should prompt the NTSB to initiate change immediately to help reduce crashes which are likely to occur on certain road areas. Over the last five years, there has been an increase in commercial truck travel and the number of truck and car accidents.

The state of California has been cited as one of the states with the highest number of fatal truck accidents. This is due to the amount of cargo that is transported every day on California’s busiest highways. As a result, thousands of motorists including drivers and passengers of buses are at risk of coming into contact with trucks that may cross medians or encounter other unexpected factors which lead to fatal accidents.

Although the likelihood of fatal accidents may not be totally eliminated, the installation of crash data recorders can assist traffic and highway authorities in making changes in how trucks are permitted to travel during heavy traffic hours. Since California is a central hub for commercial road travel, it is imperative that these devices be installed immediately. When proactive steps are taken to increase the safety of travelers, more lives will be saved which ultimately will reduce the amount of emotional pain many families have been experiencing lately. The mandatory installation of black boxes in trucks and buses is definitely one initiative that can help resolve this issue. The advantages of black boxes in trucks and buses as well as accident statistics should be substantial proof of the device’s necessity.

Steven Sweat is a personal injury attorney based in Los Angeles, CA. He is the principal of Steven M. Sweat, APC, an award winning accident and injury law firm. He is a regular contributor online and publishes articles and information on tort law and the rights of individuals to seek compensation for bodily harm caused by negligence or wrongdoing related to motor vehicle accidents and other mishaps.

Release ID: 87043