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Sample Law Firm Article #1
Black Box Data Key Evidence in Tennessee Truck Crash Cases
There has been a concerted effort in recent years to have the commercial trucking industry use “black boxes” to improve safety. Black box monitoring systems also known as electronic log systems, electronic data recorders and electronic control modules systems have revolutionized the way Tennessee trucking accident lawyers litigate trucking accident cases. The experienced truck accident law firm of Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC recognize the fundamental role of “black box” evidence in trucking accident cases and will make sure the data is preserved so that it can be used to by an expert to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding a Tennessee trucking accident.
Black boxes provide a wealth of information that can be used by a trucking accident lawyer to establish the basis for the trucking company’s liability during settlement negotiations and at trial. Black boxes record an abundance of critical information that can be important in establishing negligence in a trucking accident including issues related to the condition of the vehicle such as vehicles maintenance problems and tire pressure. Critical evidence about the driver’s performance is also recorded such as sudden braking, speed control issues, clutch application and shifting, following distance, and exceeding regulated hours.
Experienced Tennessee trucking lawyers such as those at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC will also investigate black box data for relevant email communication between the driver and the trucking company. Email correspondence obtained from black boxes may provide damning admissions about mechanical problems, driver fatigue or other admissions of fault by the truck driver immediately following a trucking accident. Because black boxes are typically equipped with global positioning systems (GPS), they provide detailed information regarding where the truck was immediately prior to a trucking accident.
If a person is seriously injured or killed in a trucking accident, it is imperative he or she retain an experienced Tennessee trucking accident lawyer immediately because black box evidence that may be indispensable can legally and intentionally be destroyed. Tennessee trucking accident law and federal regulations permit trucking companies to destroy black box data as well as other vital records and documents after 60 days. Tennessee trucking companies routinely destroy or “lose” important data and documents that may establish negligence and hours of service violations to avoid liability where a trucking accident results in serious injury or death to another person.
At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we know that trucking companies have a strong motivation to destroy black box data that may establish a legal basis for finding the trucking company legally responsible for injuries caused in a Tennessee trucking accident. The attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC will immediately send written notice via certified mail to the trucking company that the black box data must be preserved for pending litigation and that the truck must not be moved or repaired. This letter is sometimes called a “spoliation letter.”
Experienced trucking accident lawyers will direct the company not to move or repair the truck because this can result in the event recorder being erased or recorded over before the information can be downloaded. If the trucking company refuses to provide the black box data claiming it has been destroyed or lost, the experienced trucking accident lawyers at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC can demand that the trucking company provide the backup copy that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires be kept somewhere other than the truck’s on board computer.
The attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC Law may also retain an expert to be present during the download of the black box data to help prevent “lost” information. We will also try to reach an agreement with the trucking company regarding how and when the information will be downloaded to avoid “accidental” loss of critical data. If the trucking company refuses to cooperate, the attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC Law may expedite the filing of a civil lawsuit and request an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent the trucking company from doing anything that might result in loss of the black box data.
The black box data can be used to build a case against the trucking company or to discredit the trucking company’s claim regarding the circumstances of the trucking accident. At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we may employ an accident reconstruction expert who will use the information obtained from the black box tocreate computerized animations of the accident, which are very effective and convincing tools for proving liability to a jury.
The black box data can also be used to discredit the testimony of the driver, trucking company expert or trucking company executives. Many drivers and trucking companies routinely falsify their written logs. This practice is so prevalent the logs are derisively referred to as “lie logs” in the trucking industry. The black box data can be used to discredit falsified written logs or to contradict the testimony of the driver or trucking company representatives during deposition or at trial.
At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we know that black box evidence is usually an indispensable part of establishing liability on behalf of a person who has been seriously injured or killed by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.
Sample Law Firm Article #2
Underage Drunk Driving Charges In California
Even a single drink can subject someone who is under 21 to punishment under the California DUI zero tolerance law (V.C. 23136). Under California’s zero tolerance law, it does not matter whether a driver under 21 is impaired in any way while driving. Zero tolerance means the mere fact of having consumed ANY measurable amount of alcohol before driving constitutes an offense. A driver who is under 21 can violate this provision simply by consuming cough syrup prior to driving.
If you are underage and stopped by a police officer with a blood alcohol level of 0.1% or greater, you face a mandatory one year license suspension and two points on your DMV driving record. Violation of this provision is considered a civil offense. If the accused is under 18, one’s attorney can have the case handled in juvenile court.
The driver who is under 21 and stopped by a police officer faces even more severe penalties if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.5%-0.7%. The violation of this provision is no longer treated as a civil offense but instead constitutes a criminal infraction (V.C. 23140), which also carries a punishment of a fine and two points on one’s DMV driving record.
A driver under the age of 21 is also subject to the same DUI provisions that apply to those over 21. Under California DUI law, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor if you are either driving under the influence of alcohol (V.C. 23152 (a)), which is sometime called “generic DUI” or are driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.8% or higher (V.C. 23152 (b)), which is sometimes called “DUI per se.”
If you are under 21 and accused of driving with any amount of alcohol in your blood, you should contact nationally known San Francisco DUI attorneys, Sample and Sample, Attorney at Law. Some prosecutors will try to charge a driver who is under 21 with violating all three laws (i.e. civil, infraction and misdemeanor). Experienced San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, will challenge the charges of driving with alcohol in one’s blood on various legal and factual grounds as well as the prosecutor’s decision to charge the driver with all three types of violations.
The DMV may suspend the license of an under age drinker who refuses to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening device test (“PAS” test) when pulled over by a police officer. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, can challenge the validity of the PAS test based on such grounds as the following:
- Whether the device was functioning and calibrated properly
- The officer had a valid basis for the initial stop of the vehicle
- The adequacy of the officer’s training
- The officer complied with standard procedures
These are just a few of the grounds San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, may rely on in defending a driver who is an under age drinker. If a PAS test is not immediately available, the officer will ask the driver to submit to another type of chemical test like a breath or blood test. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, may be able to challenge the test if time passes before the officer administers the test. The officer is also required to properly warn a driver who is under 21 regarding the possible consequences of refusing to submit to a PAS or other chemical test. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, will investigate the circumstances of the stop and arrest and may be able to challenge the charges based on the adequacy of the warning issued by the officer as well as a number of other defenses San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, can review with you.
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