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Could dashboard cameras make our roads safer?

One of the key factors in a road traffic accident claim is being able to prove who was at fault for the accident. At its simplest this could be a rear end shunt where the driver behind admits fault straight away. However when the accident is perhaps not as straightforward and a defendant denies liability, often a Claimant will be reliant on witnesses coming forward to provide an independent account of what happened.

With technology advancing all the time, dashboard cameras are now playing a bigger part in road traffic accident claims and can offer valuable assistance in providing evidence to establish the cause of the accident. A dashboard camera (dash-cam) is a small video camera that attaches to the front windscreen and records the sights and sounds of the road ahead when driving. They can also record a vehicle’s speed and location and can quickly establish the accident circumstances if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

Provided they do not obstruct your view of the road it is legal to have these installed in your car and they are becoming increasingly popular, with more and more commercial fleets installing them to their vehicles.

Buses are already fitted with cctv footage of both the inside and outside of the bus for the safety and security of their passengers. The footage of the road ahead also proves valuable when an accident occurs as a review of the footage can quickly establish exactly what happened and who is at fault.

So what are the benefits of having a dash-cam?

The most widely publicised benefit is to offer protection to drivers against fraudulent claims that are often referred to as “crash for cash” situations. The example that comes to mind is a driver deliberately braking harshly to cause an accident where the presumption is that if someone goes into the back of the vehicle in front they will be to blame for the accident.

However their usefulness is not only limited to helping uncover fraudulent claims. In “hit and run” type collisions a dash cam could capture images of the vehicle at fault and in disputed accidents what better evidence is there than video images of the collision itself.

In addition, a few car insurers are now offering discounted premiums for installing a dashboard camera to the vehicle and insurers are increasingly asking this of their customers when applying for insurance.

According to the RAC nearly three million motorists are now recording their journeys with in-car cameras. 25% believe fitting a dash cam will improve their driving, while 69% of those who have had an accident involving a dispute over who was responsible, think that having one would have been useful.

The use of dash-cams is certainly on the rise and I do not imagine it will be long before dashboard cameras are installed into all new cars as standard and be considered a driving must-have. Could they become a legal necessity further down the line? They are fairly inexpensive and easy-to-use but the evidence they provide can be invaluable.