Accident Reconstruction And Electronic Data
Today, companies that engineer the latest vehicle technology have placed a number of sensors and modules in your vehicle that record everything from your vehicle’s speed to various problems the vehicle may be having. Your vehicle can now sense if your tires are underinflated, overinflated, or inflated just right. They can tell if the collision avoidance system worked properly, and they have event recorders.
Nonetheless, this technology has not helped trucking companies fend off lawsuits as much as they had hoped. In fact, trucking companies are losing more money in civil court than ever before. Two trucking companies were hit with a $1 billion lawsuit after an unlicensed driver caused an accident that killed a young man. This is the largest trucking verdict to date and it came in the midst of the best trucking technology we’ve ever had access to.
The electronic control module
The electronic control module records everything. This includes top speeds, sharp stops, roll stability, and it often has event recorders. This technology has not helped trucking companies fend off major verdicts. In fact, it has hurt the trucking companies. Why? Because the data on the ECM can be used against them in court. For example, a “bad driver” may have top speeds recorded over 80 mph. If the ECM has recorded that a certain driver drove a certain truck well above the speed limit, that can make its way into a personal injury lawsuit. The trucking company can be held liable for allowing a dangerous driver on the road. When they cause an accident, the plaintiff can argue that the trucking company had all the information they needed to ensure that the driver was dealt with at the time. Since they ignored the data, the driver was able to continue speeding until he eventually hurt someone.
But the fact is, unless the trucking company is looking at the data after every delivery, they don’t know what’s on it. They only find out what’s on it when an accident specialist accesses the data from the various modules that record it.
That being said, passenger cars are responsible for more accidents with trucks than trucks are responsible for accidents with passenger cars. It’s largely that the expectation on the trucking company is greater when they have access to their drivers’ trip logs. Juries will hold a trucking company accountable for what they knew or should have known, given that they had access to the information at the time and chose to ignore it.
While ECM modules may have helped get a number of truck accident lawsuits dismissed, they are also resulting in nuclear verdicts against trucking companies who failed to act on data they had access to.
Talk to a Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today
The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert handle vehicle-related torts including car accidents, commercial vehicle accidents, defective auto part accidents, and more. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.