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Semi Truck Accidents: Investigations and Dash Cams

Home > Ernst Law Group Blog > Semi Truck Accidents: Investigations and Dash Cams
Semi Truck Accidents Investigations and Dash Cams

FAST FACTS 

  • Buses and large trucks were involved in 12% of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
  • This was a 5% increase from the year before.
  • California is among the 10 states that had the highest average of fatal crashes involving buses and large trucks between 2014 and 2016.

When you or a loved one is involved in a collision with a semi truck or commercial vehicle in San Luis Obispo, the aftermath can be devastating. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles can mean serious injury and property damage in the event of an accident.

In fact, a person is more likely to sustain a severe injury in this type of accident than in one involving two passenger vehicles, and they aren’t the only victims. Truck drivers themselves can also be injured in these collisions.

In 2014, 761 semi truck drivers were killed while operating their vehicles. Trucking companies are not only looking for more ways to keep the occupants of passenger vehicles safer, but their own drivers as well. One of the ways that has been implements is the truck driver dash cam.

Here’s how they have proven beneficial:

  • Truckers are less likely to drive dangerously when they know they are being recorded.
  • When the driver’s own smartphone is used as the dash cam, phone usage shrinks drastically.
  • Investigators are given a recording of exactly what happened before and during the accident.
  • The evidence gathered from a dash cam is more reliable than personal accounts of a collision.

What About Privacy?

Most of us are aware of what truck dash cameras are thanks to news reports and social media postings showing dash cam recordings of police stops, arrests and other incidents. Semi truck dash cams operate in the same manner.

We see the picture from the viewpoint of someone looking out the front window of a vehicle. Some trucking companies are taking it a step further and also installing inward-facing cameras in truckers’ cabs.

Some worry that an inward-facing camera is an invasion of privacy, but many truckers welcome the technology. When a trucker is monitored, they are more likely to operate their vehicle safely and, as a bonus, their insurance rates are typically lowered.

These recordings can also provide proof in the event that a lawsuit is filed. There may be no better way for a driver to prove that he or she was operating their rig in a safe manner than by being able to show a court exactly what was occurring in the cab before an accident.

Other connective technology could be a major help for truck drivers and, in turn, others on the road in the coming years. More connectivity means truckers can be notified almost instantly of any dangerous conditions coming up on the road. In addition, this technology could monitor routes better and make sure required breaks are taken to prevent fatigue.

Other Evidence in an Investigation

Evidence Used in Truck Accident Investigations infographic

View/Download PDF

Truck dash cameras, of course, aren’t the only way fault can be proven in a collision between a passenger vehicle and semi truck. While every collision is unique, there are typical items that a San Luis Obispo truck accident lawyer will look at.

When helping you determine whether you and your family are eligible for compensation following this type of accident, your San Luis Obispo attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the crash. Here is how this investigation may be handled.

Driving Records

Every transportation company is required to maintain a DQF, driver qualification file, on every driver they have on their roster. The files contain training information, driving records, employment history and certain personal records of the driver.

The file also contains results of any drug or alcohol testing the driver has undergone. By obtaining these records, your attorney will be able to determine, in part, if the driver contributed to the accident or was likely to have contributed to the wreck.

Maintenance Records for the Vehicle

Your attorney will also scour maintenance records for the vehicle. This information will also be contained in the DQF. The information provided may indicate that equipment failure has occurred with the rig on a previous occasion, that the company failed to maintain the vehicle properly, or that the load was improperly place in the trailer.

While this information may not prove your case, the evidence discovered will certainly support your claim.

GPS and Black Boxes

In today’s world, GPS records are used as a way to keep tabs on drivers and their trucks. Your attorney may obtain these records to demonstrate that a driver was on the road too long. In other cases, your attorney may seek to gain information stored by the truck’s black box.

This could indicate that the driver was speeding, that they failed to brake or even how they had shifted gears prior to the accident.

Dash cams in California produce legally admissible evidence, but a trucking company may be hesitant to share any or all of this information. Your attorney will have the experience necessary to put the right legal pressure on the owner of a trucking company in order to get the evidence necessary to support your claim.

Speak with a San Luis Obispo Attorney Today

No person who has been involved in an accident with a semi truck should be forced to deal with the financial damages that often occur following such a serious incident. If you have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, reach out to our team of experienced San Luis Obispo attorneys.

We will review the details of your incident and advise you of your legal rights. You have nothing to lose by calling our office. We will help you schedule your case evaluation and we will advise you of the best steps for moving forward. Call our office now or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

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