/ Motoring

Do you own a dash cam?

dash cam

The numbers of cars with dashboard cameras installed has rocketed in recent years, so are they really a must-have car accessory and why are they so popular?

According to Halfords, sales of dashboard cams accounted for a large proportion of the retailer’s in-car equipment sales last year. Even Lidl has got in on the act – this week, it had a cheap dash cam for sale in its middle aisle baskets.

And when we asked Which? members to tell us about their experiences of using a dash cam, one member told us: ‘I would no more drive without my dash cam than without my seat belt’.

So why are dash cams becoming a must-have gadget for your car?

Crash-for-cash

One of the key drivers behind the increasing popularity of dash cams is the rise of fraudulent and disputed insurance claims, sometimes as a result of so-called ‘crash-for-cash’ scams.

‘Crash-for-cash’ scams, like the shocking one in the video below, cost the insurance industry around £340m a year, according to the Insurance Fraud Bureau. Luckily for this victim, she had her dash cam installed and switched on.

Prosecutions – can a dash cam help?

Of course, real accidents can happen, and a quick search on YouTube will bring up a plethora of genuine crash videos and footage of dodgy drivers.

In some cases, dash cams have proved vital out on the road. In 2015, the Nextbase footage below led to a dangerous driver being handed a driving ban and a fine.

Footage from another dash cam user led to a mugger being jailed for attempted theft of a motorbike in 2015. And recently, Nextbase footage was provided to the police after a road-rage incident in Leicester. Some have also used dash-cam footage to successfully appeal against car parking or driving fines.

Even local police are making use of dash-cam footage, and have appealed for videos following crimes.

Over to you

Do you own a dash cam? If so, have you’ve used it following a crash to prove what happened? Did your car insurance provider accept the footage? Or have you been a victim of a crash-for-cash scam? Did you have a dash cam fitted? Or perhaps you’ve captured something else of note on your camera, such as another crime or incident, or even a neighbourhood cat having a snooze on your bonnet…

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I don’t have a camera and at present I do not feel the need, but I can certainly see the value of them and the quality of cameras continues to improve.

Perhaps it would be useful if we could enter the registration number of a dangerous driver and upload the video to provide evidence. If the registration number is logged several times in a period, the evidence could be investigated and action taken if appropriate. I hope that the risk of dangerous driving being caught on camera could help reduce the problem.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

We do have a dashcam and in Wales there is a service where footage can be directly uploaded to the Police for examination. I’ve also created a YouTube channel where the worst examples of what we’ve encountered can be seen.

Member
Phil says:
23 July 2017

I’ve had a dashcam for three years and whilst I’ve recorded examples of the usual silliness it’s not yet been needed in any prosecution. It did play a pivotal role in getting £180 compensation from Thames Water after I hit a pothole so has effectively paid for itself.

I’m surprised no car makers have started fitting the things as standard.

A correction to the original article. The dangerous driver was jailed for eight months as well as being banned.

Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
Member

Thanks for the additional detail Phil. Very depressing to think an idiot would escape custodial sentencing.

Whilst the idea of alarming people so they install cameras has a track record in houses is this an element of playing into manufacturers hands ? Whilst we can see thousands on YouTube the actually instances of where it has been useful in the UK divided by the number of cars on the road and the time spent recording might reveal it is of marginal value given its life span is probably short years.

Bearing in mind the thousand of hours and effort s people go to faking “real” events for TV programmes the idea surely is some crook equally creative is planning to have the cam as part of the scam.

Member
Phil says:
23 July 2017

I think as my experience and that of the two examples in the article show it only needs one incident to justify the cost.

Maybe, just maybe, as dashcams become more common it might improve the standard of driving and lower the casualty rate if the nutjobs know they’re being watched.

Member
Jay Chate says:
23 July 2017

How lucky. I hit a drainage cover where the foundation was lose and damaged the underneath of my car (In Luton) both the Highway Maint & Luton Council informed with dash cam video plus sound (like thunder). The accident happened at 18:30. Informed via phone and e-mail and in the morning when I went past the site it had been repaired (10:30ish). They never got back to me, I e mailed three times both departments. Phoned twice and they claimed the camera was not informative enough to make a claim.

Member
Phil says:
24 July 2017

That’s outrageous. Did they say how what information they would need?

Member
bishbut says:
24 July 2017

A dash cam MUST be the next thing fitted to all vehicles as standard because the standard of driving today is pathetic and at times dangerous you need to have a record of idiotic driving seen very day Too many distracting things are fitted to day as standard so why not something useful for a change not just fitted as a gimmick to sell cars

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Perhaps we should discuss the privacy issue. I can understand the benefits of using dash cams to record examples of irresponsible driving or insurance fraud, but I am less happy about people posting videos on YouTube. Virtually all of us are driving mass produced cars but at least Google usually blanks out registration numbers on Google Street View. I don’t really want to feature on a video that can be seen by the world. I might not have combed my hair. To be serious, do we need legislation to restrict what is done with video captured by dash cams?

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I share your concerns Wavechange, but I hesitate to suggest legislation at the moment, although it could become necessary.

We have become a voyeuristic society enjoying the capability of sharing funny. scary or horrific images without discrimination between the sensitivities involved. Whole TV programmes are based on this sort of video imagery ricocheting around the internet , basically for sensational excitement. One clip leads to another, most of them dire or trivial beyond belief – but they are captivating, and fuel the desire to capture and upload identifiable pictures of people or their vehicles at moments of distress or shock. Even offenders have rights against false incrimination. I think we need to be very careful.

I do support the case for having dashcams for private evidence recording in the event of a police investigation or for an insurance claim. It’s how we set the boundaries for this that needs a lot more consideration.

Member
Phil says:
24 July 2017

Dashcams are really no different from any other type of camera and should not be subject to any greater restrictions. We all have the right to photograph or film anything and anybody in a public place (despite what some uniformed thugs might tell you) and I think we’d be heading off on a dangerous path if that were to change.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I am thinking more of encouraging self-restraint in publishing videos rather than introducing legislation, Phil. Taking photos and videos is generally conspicuous whereas using a dash cam is not.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Yes, we do have the right to take pictures of anything and anybody in a public place, Phil, but we don’t have the right to publish pictures of people if it would infringe any of their rights as citizens. It’s the publication of images that I feel needs attention and a careful approach that upholds rights on both sides.

Member
Carolyn says:
25 July 2017

I have had a dash-cam for years, had a cash for crash incident at a roundabout and the insurance and police were not even interested!

Profile photo of RustyMoskvitch
Member

In January 2016 my partner was batted up a motorway sliproad by a neglegent driver who accused her of cutting into his lane. The case is due to go to court soon but her insurers are confident that she will be exonorated. Had she had a dash cam at the time it would have proven her innosence beyond doubt already. We now both have Nextbase dash cams and never drive without them.

Member
balch says:
30 July 2017

Dashcams are the best thing ever invented. I was hit by driver in roundabout ,when i pointed the car camera ,driver admitted her fault..my car repaired without any cost to me…. Priceless!!!

Member
Paul says:
30 July 2017

I have a dashcam fitted to my car and works (taxi) vehicle. Yes, I have recorded silly mistakes and saved them, reviewed them but then deleted them. Not yet recorded anything to cause alarm like dangerous driving, but the day will come and it will be invaluable. I think they are now a necessity where every vehicle should be fitted with them.

Member
Dinty Frost says:
31 July 2017

Many new cars have parking assist cameras fitted now. I think it would be a good idea if these recorded video all the time the vehicle is being driven and not just when parking.