Sales of in-car cameras (or dash cams as they are more commonly known) are on the rise. More and more motorists are keen to capture footage of accidents and incidents involving other drivers and cyclists.
No-one wants to be wrongly accused for something that is not their fault, and dash cams offer drivers the chance to prove they were not at fault should someone make an insurance claim against them. The popularity of these devices has been fuelled by the increasing number of scams emerging on the UK’s roads. In short, dash cams give careful law-abiding drivers the chance to fight back.
‘Crash for cash’ is the name given to staged road traffic accidents in which fraudsters brake sharply causing the driver behind to go into the back of them. Subsequently, they will attempt to claim compensation for alleged whiplash. 54% of fraudulent claims are ‘crash for cash’, costing insurers £392 million a year.
As if this wasn’t enough for drivers to contend with, there is also a growing number of ‘flash for cash’ incidents, too. This craze sees apparently good-mannered drivers flash their headlamps to signal a driver can pull out of a junction, before driving straight into them. Not so polite, after all.
However, drivers with a dash cam on board have evidence to prove that the fault does not lie with them. Footage can also be used as a tool to track down drivers who may have left the scene of an accident or to protect drivers against police corruption (predominantly in Russia where this is a major problem).
Russia is also the location of an incident that was a pivotal moment in the dash cam’s lifespan thus far. In 2013, multiple Russian drivers captured the moment a ten-ton meteor crashed down to earth – all on their trusty dash cams. Clearly, there’s more to dash cams than just evidence against insurance fraud.
Dash cams have been around since the 1980s when video-tape cameras were used in US police cars, but it wasn’t until that Russian meteor crash that their popularity sky-rocketed. In the UK, just 4% of drivers currently have a dash cam, but around 40% are considering buying one, so watch this space...