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Trucking Data Expert:
Collection of Electronic Evidence in Truck Accidents can be Key to Developing Your Case.

Digital Evidence Collection / Computer Forensics Articles

By Scott Greene

Black Boxes on trucks including EDR, ECM, ECU, allow help determine what was happening with the vehicle during the time prior to the crash. Some of these devices can store years worth of data, others just store the condition of the Tractor during a recent event such as “Hard Stop” or crash. There can also be lots of history such as the number of miles on the truck,  how much time the vehicle was operated between certain speeds such as 75-79 MPH and even the highest recorded vehicle speed. As examples for what we have found, we discovered that one commercial vehicle that made it to 105 MPH! In another case, we saw a truck decelerate from 75 MPH to 0 in 5 seconds when the crash occurred.

Other data sources such as Telematic Systems like Qualcomm, Lynx , CalAmp, Siemens and others will allow investigators to determine how fast the vehicle went from point A to point B. How many stops were made, and the route that the driver took to reach his destination. In addition by looking at an entire company one can determine if the company encourages Hours Of Service (HOS) Violations, or if just certain drivers are breaking the rules.

Cell phones can also tell a story about the drivers habits. Not only would it be nice to know if the driver was texting at or about the time of the accident, but also if the phone contains evidence of browsing websites that tell him how to disable safety systems that are on the truck and trailer. In addition, the cell phone may contain GPS data that could independently show how fast the truck was moving and what stops were made.

The commercial vehicle’s Company Office is also a treasure trove of data. The dispatch system can sometimes contain the broker information, the client information and dates and times of communication by text message or Telematic system between the office and the driver. The maintenance record system would have the details about the services performed on the tractor and trailer. The human resources system should contain information about the employee training, sick leave and other items that may be of interest.

Keep in mind that many systems, especially those in the Company Office, can be manipulated. The output from the software will look perfectly normal and yet the data has been altered by the company. Detection of this manufacturing or manipulation of Electronic Evidence may be detected by reviewing the actual data, behind the scenes.

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