Each year, countless individuals are injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer in California. Injuries tend to be more severe the heavier the load that’s being hauled. While it’s important for you to see a doctor immediately after you’ve been involved in a crash, in serious injury cases, you’ll also want to speak with a Visalia attorney right away to help you preserve critical evidence in your case.

Since virtually every tractor-trailer is considered to be a commercial vehicle, their owners and operators are subject to additional regulatory oversight that other motorists aren’t. One of the ways that this benefits you if you’re involved in a crash with a semi is that they’re equipped with an Electronic Control Module (ECM) or a “black box”. It functions much like one on an airplane does by recording onboard operations data.

Most ECMs are able to retain information such as the highest and average speed, as well as how many times the trucker operated their truck over 65 miles per hour. It also can capture how long they drove for and remained idle, how often that they wore their seat belt, whether their air bag was engaged and what the median revolutions per minute (RPMs) were.

These black boxes are generally able to retain this information for as long as 30 days; however, older units may have a much smaller memory and only capture this information for a short time. Once new data is recorded, it will generally overwrite the older information.

This is one of the reasons that it’s critical that you and your attorney move quickly to preserve the data. It’s also important because in some jurisdictions, the ECM data is considered to belong to the trucking company. They may quickly destroy it post-crash.

The data recorded on this device may prove helpful to investigators and attorneys that are attempting to make sense of why a crash occurred. This is why it’s critical that you first seek out medical treatment, then immediately reach out to a truck accidents attorney who can act quickly to make sure evidence is preserved.