Several Mississippi trucking companies are installing on-board devices similar to the black boxes on airplanes to help investigators determine fault if there is an accident involving one of their trucks.
The move is in part a reaction to the 1,400 truck crashes that took place in Mississippi in 2014. The “black boxes” will collect data from the truck and deliver it to investigator’s laptops. “As everything in our lives gets more computerized, there are little pieces of data that get stored in various components on board commercial vehicles,” said a representative from Commonwealth Transportation Consultants.
Investigators are being trained to use the new technology to learn exactly what causes truck crashes. They are particularly interested in learning what the truck driver was doing just before the accident. They say that the new technology will better enable them to hold drivers responsible for traffic accidents.
Investigators admit that training to learn how to use the new technology is using up taxpayer dollars, but they hope to save the state money long term in other ways. “It comes into play with whether you’re spending taxpayer money to actually go to a trial or whether with the overwhelming evidence you’ve got, someone just takes a plea deal,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Larry Smith.