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?
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…