The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). There are numerous regulations that govern this industry, most of which are contained in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The fact that big rig operators have a different set of rules to follow means the type of evidence you should look for in truck accidents is also slightly different. Here are a few important pieces of evidence you may need.
Truck Inspection Report
When tractor trailers are involved in an accident, they must have a certified truck inspector view the vehicle before it is removed from the scene. Although this report may be compiled by a state trooper, it is nonetheless not included in an official accident report, which means you will have to ask for it separately. This inspection report will contain important information about the condition of the trailer and the truck itself.
Black Box Information
Many trucks these days are equipped with “black boxes” that provide a great deal of information about accidents. Black boxes can provide clues as to how fast a truck was going, when the driver applied brakes, and how long the driver had operated without a rest period.
High Tech Devices
There may be other high-tech devices inside the cab that would provide information about an accident as well. For example, many trucks are equipped with inclinometers that measure the slope at which a vehicle is traveling. On-board computers and GPS systems can also provide information that would be useful to an accident reconstructionist.
You must act quickly to obtain this evidence; otherwise, it might be routinely destroyed in only a short amount of time. Knowing who to request what documents from can be difficult, which is why we always recommend contacting a personal injury attorney quickly after an accident.