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By Shaheen Wallace, Esq. Aug. 24, 2020

What Makes Truck Crashes Bad

Why are tractor-trailer crashes so devastating?

The short answer to that question is size and weight.

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds compared to a fully loaded sedan, which can weigh 4,000 pounds. And with a weight difference of nearly 20 times, even a collision at low speed in a semi can have catastrophic consequences.

What this means for drivers of tractor-trailers is that they are required to follow strict federal regulations about how they operate their trucks on the road. Some of the common rules for truck drivers relate to how much sleep a driver must get, how heavy the loads are allowed to be, and what type of training a driver must have.

While car crashes and truck crashes are similar, they cannot be treated the same. The rapid preservation of evidence in a truck crash can make all the difference.

Modern trucks are equipped with Engine Control Modules that control and monitor engine performance. If there is a crash, the ECM functions to tell us what the truck was doing right up until the moment of the collision.  In order for a complete investigation to be done to help injured victims, securing this data will be critical.

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If you or anyone you know was seriously injured in a car crash, call us so we can help you. Our office remains open during this time, and you can speak directly to an attorney and get a free consultation when you call. We are available to speak with you via video conference, text or telephone. Call us or send us a message, or visit our website at

n Electronic Control Module (“ECM”) is a small computer that collects data in modern passenger vehicles.[1] All modern, heavy trucks (i.e., tractor-trailers) are equipped with ECMs.[2] The basic function of ECMs is to control and monitor the vehicle’s operations.[3] This includes recording information such as engine performance, fuel efficiency, cruise control, climate control, mechanical problems, airbag systems, and speed-controlled stereo volume.[4] ECMs also run diagnostics, detect problems in the vehicle, and turn on dashboard warning indicator lamps.[5] If a vehicle is in an accident, certain ECMs record data that can help explain what happened.[6]


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