Every day thousands of people upload dramatic footage of high-speed accidents or horrific near misses they’ve witnessed on the road. These videos are shot by dashboard cameras in cars, ‘dash cams’ for short. The sale of these devices is taking the market by storm as the cameras are more than nifty filming devices providing entertainment.
Using a dash cam whilst driving or when leaving your car unattended could potentially save drivers hundreds of pounds in insurance fees.
Busy country roads, congested city streets and motorways are continuously putting the skills of even the best drivers to the test. This won’t ever cease to be the case.
At the same time, insurance fraudsters up their game too. That is why the popularity of dash cams will continue to rise without a doubt. The current trends confirm this. Four in ten drivers in the UK are planning to install a dash cam, according to recent research from the RAC.
Last year, dash cam sales at Halfords alone jumped by 320%. And RAC research reveals that the main impulse for UK drivers to buy a dash cam is to reduce their insurance premium. In total 72% of drivers indicated that they would most likely buy a dash cam if it brought them lower insurance premiums. Future estimates are that by 2020, more than one million drivers will have kitted out their car with a dashboard camera.
MiVue dash cam users enjoy the added advantage of free alerts to safety cameras, so you’ll always know where to drive with extra care. This feature is included in the two high-end models, the MiVue 538TM Deluxe and the MiVue 568 Touch, and comes with free unlimited updates for life.
Most of the MiVueTM 500 series dash cams have an integrated high- sensitivity GPS receiver, which allows you to track your position at all times. The image, direction, speed and geographical coordinates are automatically recorded, and when using the MiVue Manager desktop software on your PC or MAC, it displays the recorded information in Google MapsTM.
The majority of UK drivers that have already installed a dash cam indicated that the reason they did so was to be able to record the course of events during an accident (59%). If the worst does happen, it’s recorded, timed and dated. A minority of respondents in the RAC survey said they opted for a dash cam in their car to protect themselves against crash-for-cash scams (21%). Dash cam footage can protect drivers’ No Claims Bonuses.
In some cases, video recordings will also help you fight back in case police officers blame you for traffic offenses you did not commit. In 2013, police in the UK received a raft of new powers enabling them to issue fixed penalty notices for offences that previously were dealt with in court. If the police currently says that you have driven carelessly, tailgated, or stayed unnecessarily in the middle lane for instance, they can fine you on the spot. It’s always going to be your word against the word of a police officer, unless you have proof.
Some people even hand in car camera footage of events that does not involve their own safety, but that of others. For instance, one driver in Southall, Heathrow, caught another driver hitting an elderly man and then driving off. The dash cam material, was used in court and led to prosecution of the offender. Earlier this year police forces publicly appealed for similar footage, including instances of dangerous driving. This is the trend in many European countries too.
Apart from improving road safety and potential financial savings, dash cams are a source of entertainment. In recent years, the whole world has become acquainted with Russian humor thanks in part to dash cam material. Very often drivers happen to film events or moments that are unique. Recordings are easily shared on social networks. So if you witness something your friends would find hard to believe, just roll out that unbelievable footage. Or how about sharing that wonderful trip through beautiful scenery with family or loved ones? Or showing your aging parents what that old neighbourhood looks like nowadays?
The possibilities are endless.
The answer is "yes". There are no laws which prevent a driver from using a dash cam correctly in the UK. Drivers do need to make sure however that they do not block their view of the road, or allow themselves to be able to see the screen of the camera as they are driving, either directly or by reflection.
There is no problem either with presenting footage as proof in court. According to David Barton, a motoring law expert in Kent, privacy and data protection laws are straightforward to deal with. The Data Protection Act 1988 applies businesses organisations and is unlikely to be an issue when device in private vehicle has made a recording,he says.
Some situations however will prevent sound from being used as part of the recording when it is presented in court. For instance, taxi drivers will need to be very careful about using cameras that record sound.
Insurance companies love dash cams because first-hand moving images of an accident tend to leave no room for doubt during the aftermath of the event. A dashboard camera acts as an eyewitness on the road, which means that insurance companies are able to settle claims faster, in turn enabling drivers to recoup excess payments faster too.
Some insurance companies are so impressed with dash cam possibilities, that they offer 10% discounts on annual car insurance rates for customers with a car camera. And that makes good business sense for them, if you consider the time savings dash cams can make. An accident usually happens in a few seconds, moments which are subsequently fought over for weeks if not months! Handing in proof of the motions of all the involved parties settles claims far quicker, with less hassle and expense.
Dash cams already play an important role in the prevention of insurance fraud, which has been rising to shocking levels in recent years. Last year the number of bogus insurance claims increased by 34% according to statistics from the Association of British Insurers. Aviva reported a 51% increase in fraudulent claims over the same period. Many false claims concern so called ‘crash-for-cash’ scams, in which drivers crash into other cars deliberately and make it appear the targeted party is at fault. Dash cam recordings show what really happened and can protect potential victims.