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Can Dashboard Cameras Help Road Safety?

By Principal Lawyer, Serious Injury

Dashboard cameras are increasingly popular in the UK with some retailers reporting an 800% increase in sales.  So, with an increase in popularity could the use of ‘dash cams’ make our roads safer?

We’re certainly starting to notice more news stories where dashboard cameras have recorded footage of a road traffic collision. Just last week a HGV driver using a dash cam caught footage of an accident in Somerset in which he was involved . A car towing a caravan tried to overtake the HGV but lost control, crashing his caravan into a lamppost.

Dash cams simultaneously record audio and video and are used by drivers to record the sights and sounds of what happens on the road in front of them as they’re driving. They also record a vehicle’s speed and location and can quickly establish what happened if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident. Dash cam footage can help police reconstruct accidents, especially in cases where they are unable to establish the precise mechanics of an accident through normal forensic procedures.

Falling Meteorites and the World’s Biggest Dash Cam Users

Dashboard cameras have been used to film a plane crash in Taiwan. In Russia, the country with the biggest number of dash cam users in the world, dash cams have even recorded footage of a falling meteorite.

An estimated one million drivers in Russia have dash cams installed in their vehicles. Russian drivers feel that the cameras offer them protection from false accusations and road rage incidents. They’ve become so widespread in the country that Russian courts are increasingly giving weight to dash cam footage in cases involving road traffic accident claims.

UK Drivers Back Dash Cam Use

If a recent survey is anything to go by, the UK could be following suit and seeing dash cam usage go into six figures. A poll for the ITV programme Car Crash Britain: Caught on Camera found that 47% of drivers said they’d back plans to install dashboard cameras into all new cars as standard, compared with 37% who opposed the idea.

One of the many reasons given for the backing of dash cams – both by the UK poll and by drivers in Russia – is the worry over ‘crash for cash’ scams. This is where an accident is deliberately caused by someone to benefit from false insurance claims. Scammers often disable their brake lights so that drivers behind them find it hard to stop in time and fake witnesses are also common. As dashboard cameras record all footage of what’s happening on the road, it’s no surprise that drivers feel more protected with a dash cam installed.

Dashboard cameras can certainly give drivers peace of mind whilst on the road, according to Halfords who reported an 800% increase in sales since last year. A spokesperson said, “We predict dash cams will soon be seen in every car, going from a niche gadget to a driving must-have.”

Although it might be too early to say that dashboard cameras can definitely make our roads safer, they can make drivers think about their behaviour whilst driving. As the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says, “There is clear evidence to confirm driver behaviour is improved when an individual is aware they are being monitored.”

Jenny Maloney is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, specialising in Road Traffic Accident claims.

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Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm with more than 1,450 staff in 18 offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, Derby and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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