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Use GPS black boxes to prove your truck accident case

Rule 6 of “Big 10 Rules of the Road”

  • Presented by: Steven M. Gursten
  • Description: This is the seventh of a series of 13 videos for truck accident lawyers, on handling truck crash cases. In this video, Steve Gursten shares Rule 6 of his “Big 10 Rules of the Road” during the American Association for Justice Interstate Truck Litigation Group conference in New Orleans. Rule 6 emphasizes the importance of on-board hours of service devices, also called GPS black boxes. Gursten says it’s very important for truck accident lawyers to ask for these devices, in order to cross-check the truck driver log books, and look for inconsistencies that would highlight truck driver negligence.
  • Length: 2 minutes, 33 seconds.

Video Transcript:

Slide: Automatic on-board hours of service devices

  • Must warn driver visually or audibly that it’s not working
  • If it’s not functioning, driver must produce hand-written logs
  • Another source of fact-checking a driver’s habits

Automatic, on-board hours of service devices. Be aware by the way that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is pushing for all motor carriers to have these on board, by 2012 I think, to have these hours of service devices. They were, by the way, pushing to have these in 2005, and that didn’t turn out so well, since we’re in 2010. And with the economy being the way it is, it probably will not be enacted by 2012, but right now it’s a hot topic and the trucking companies are screaming about this. So what’s your takeaway on this one? Your takeaway is to always ask for these on-board hours of service devices. Most of the bigger trucking companies do have them now, the vast majority, and a lot of the small ones have them as well, a growing number. And the point is even when the defense lawyer gives you the truck driver’s log books, you still want to get this information, because it’s very easy to fact check and very easy to show the inconsistencies and impeachments on the on-board hours of service devices. Normally they don’t give it. And that’s why, because they know. There’s also major spoliation issue here, because again, if it’s timely requested, and they fail to produce, or they say that it got lost, or destroyed, or what have you; be aware of this: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that back-up data be kept in a separate location and be updated once a month, every month as well as kept on the truck. So when they say it’s lost or destroyed or its missing, it’s really, really hard to do that if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires them to do under rule section 395.15.

How Michigan Auto Law can help with your truck crash

If you’re a truck accident attorney and you need help with a case, read our online guide, Help for attorneys handling truck accident cases. For more information, here’s a blog on what truck accident lawyers must know about GPS black boxes.

If you’ve been in a truck accident, call (800) 968-1001 to speak with one of our truck accident lawyers now. There is no fee or obligation, and we can answer all of your questions.