SuperTalk Mississippi

Commercial Vehicles Now Have Data Recording Software Installed

PEARL, Miss.- When an 18-wheeler is in a wreck, investigators are going to want to know what caused it. There were 1,501 large truck and bus crashes in the state of Mississippi just last year. Mississippi is the seventh state law enforcement agency to receive a federal grant that goes toward the training of investigators in the field of data retrieval out of commercial motor vehicles. They were training this week in Pearl.

Ron Baade works for Commonwealth Transportation Consultants in Pennsylvania. He’s down here this week to help with the training.

“We’re teaching a class on electronic date recovery from commercial motor vehicles,” Baade said. “As everything in our lives becomes more computerized, there’s little pieces of data that get stored in various components on board commercial vehicles, and that data relates to how that vehicle was operated prior to the collision. So what our participants in the class this week are learning is how to collect that data, how to interpret that data, validate it’s accuracy, and apply it to an investigation to help understand how a particular commercial vehicle crash occurred.”

This is what the computer screen looks like when plugged into the truck to retrieve the data.
This is what the computer screen looks like when plugged into the truck to retrieve the data.

This technology will help investigators determine a multitude of variables that could’ve caused the wreck. “One of the things everybody’s looking for is how fast the truck was going,” he added. “And that’s one of the data elements that shows up in the data we’re looking to recover. Also important pieces of information are; when was the brake applied, when was the clutch applied, and in a very limited number of vehicles, what kind of steering angle was input by the driver. So, to some degree, we get some driver reaction information as to how the driver responded to the approaching threat, and from that, we can tell a little more about how the collision occurred.”

Baade also noted that the need for this technology is for the safety of the driver. “Commercial drivers are just like the rest of us, they’ve got cell phones, they’ve got family calling them and texting them. They should know better than to engage in those activities while behind the wheel but they’re seceptible to the same human frailties as the rest of us.”

Here is the video of the demonstration:

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