"The Camera Never lies"

Are dashcams worth having? Can they reduce insurance premiums? And do they really work? A recent spate of court cases involved 'crash for cash', in which criminals (sometimes in organised gangs) were convicted of staging car crashes for profit. This has led to increased interest in methods that motorists can use to protect themselves against this kind of fraud, or more generally, to produce evidence of traffic incidents. One of these is the dashboard camera, or dashcam. What is a dashcam? A dash cam is a small digital video camera mounted behind a car's windscreen. which records on a loop, usually to a memory card. They can be halted either manually, or automatically by a detector which recognises a sudden halt, and footage of the relevant time period can then be downloaded. How effective are dashcams? Unfortunately, as yet there is no accepted standard of dashcam quality, and some of those advertised are substandard fakes, so buyers need to be careful. However, a good dashcam produces pictures of remarkably good quality, and the price of reasonable models has come down as their popularity increases. Are dashcams legal? The road is a public place, and bona fide recording is in the public interest, so there is no legal problem as long as the camera does not distract the driver or obstruct their vision. Some countries (such as Spain) do not permit dashcams, though.

Can dashcam evidence be used in court?

Yes it can, at least in the UK. The person who was in charge of the camera will have to swear that the images have not been tampered with, but the evidence is admissable and might well be helpful, particularly when it is a case of one person's word against another's. It should be remembered though that the footage could conceivably be used via sub poena by the other side so best make sure that you really ARE NOT at fault before mentioning it's existence!

Dashcams and insurance

Obviously, establishing that a motorist was not responsible for an accident can safeguard their No Claims Bonus; and more generally, an overall reduction in fraudulent claims will have a beneficial effect on everyone's premiums. Moreover, one insurance company recently announced that it would be reducing premiums for dashcam users by ten per cent. A spokesman for the company said; 'We believe that by using a dashcam and being able to accurately and quickly establish who was at fault, we will save money. Therefore motorists will significantly benefit from lower premiums and more responsible driving.' So far, however, some other insurance companies are not following this lead.