What is a black box in a commercial vehicle? Many of us travel as part of our employment duties. Accidents involving private cars and trucks are deadly enough. but, accidents involving commercial vehicles lead to deadly results. Commercial trucking companies have a greater level of liability. Therefore, most commercial vehicles have what is commonly referred to as a black box or Engine Control Module (ECM).  Like in commercial aircraft, these devices record and store data about the vehicle that they monitor.

Common Accidents

Three of the most common accidents caused by truck drivers are: failure to stay in the proper lane; failure to maintain a proper speed; and braking in time to avoid an accident.  This information is recorded by the ECM.  Additionally, most devices also record tire pressure, average speed, how much pressure was applied to the brakes, if the driver was wearing a seat belt, correspondence between the driver and the dispatcher, how long the vehicle has been operated and the global positioning system (gps) location where the accident happened.

Black Box After An Accident

This information is useful to both parties.  It helps the accident re-constructionists determine how the accident happened and who was at fault.  If you fail to examine this information, you will depend upon the trucking company’s insurance carrier to present the information.  Do not let this be the only voice in investigating the accident.


If you have been involved in an accident involving a commercial vehicle make sure your legal representative reviews the evidence such as the ECM. This is likely to add value to your claim.