The use of onboard video systems in the trucking industry continues to grow, with fleets installing cameras on and in their trucks at a growing rate. These systems are installed to hopefully provide the owners and operators evidence to reduce potential liability and exonerate their drivers in the event of an accident. Onboard video was used in 300,000 trucks in 2014; this figure is expected to reach 1.3 million to 1.5 million by 2021.
Has the addition of video systems in trucking fleets actually increased safety and decreased trucking accidents? At least one study says so. A study of over 10,000 crashes by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that event-based video systems, combined with driver-behavior coaching, reduced fatal crashes by 20% and reduced injury crashes by 35%.
The sophistication and capabilities of each video system vary; for example, some only use cameras facing outward while others are driver facing as well. If trucking companies monitored all drivers this way, they could catch safety violations and then use that information to make things safer. While transportation companies hope to use trucking video to limit their liability exposure and negotiate better commercial insurance policy rates for themselves, plaintiff’s lawyers can use the same data for clarity as to what really happened during a trucking accident, including to prove negligence.
Spoliation of Evidence in Trucking Litigation
Like other businesses, trucking companies must maintain business records and other data as required by law. The victim must put the defendant on notice of his or her legal claim or potential legal claim so the defendant is aware of its duty to preserve the evidence. This can be accomplished by sending a litigation hold letter instructing the defendant to preserve certain types of possible evidence. These letters should be comprehensive and thorough.
The destruction of relevant evidence related to the legal claim is called spoliation of evidence. When a trucking company learns one of its drivers was involved in an accident, it may engage in spoliation of evidence in order to conceal its negligence or the negligence of its driver. This spoliation may happen very soon after an accident, which potentially presents a significant problem for an injured plaintiff.
Knowing video logs may exist in a trucking accident case is the first step toward ensuring this evidence is maintained and not destroyed by its owner and is made available for production in discovery.
Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you care about was injured in a trucking accident, reach out to the attorneys of Craft Law Firm for more information about your potential claims. We have successfully handled catastrophic trucking injury cases for over 55 combined years and we would be honored to have your family’s trust in helping you through this difficult time.