/ 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?


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…


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Phil says:
24 July 2017

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

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!!!

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.

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.

WhiteHawk says:
27 August 2017

I have a dashcam and always turn it on before driving. I have caught two seperate incidents of bad driving through red lights which have been sent to the police.

There are other incidents i have caught but the perpetrator has been lucky enough to not have their registration caught clearly, such as a motorcyclist doing a wheelie.

I think dash cams are a great idea and encourage all offences to be reported. If you drive badly or illegally, why should you get away with it? No indicating, undertaking and speeding are ones that annoy me.

But the amount of near misses due to running a red light due to lack of patience, especially at road works, defies belief.

jeff says:
27 August 2017

i think its a great idea, how often do you see people tearing along the motorway only to slow to 70 whn they approach a camer, i realise dash cams dont reocrd MPH, but the wanton disregard of the laws might be less than it is now knowing that anyother car might just have recorded the infraction and the driver might then upload it, its probalbly going to be used as payback for being cut up.

My wing mirror was damaged by a driver who was overtaking parked cars, who tried to force me to swerve off the road to avoid him. He drove off but the incident was recorded on my dashcam. The police collisions unit decided there was insufficient evidence to warrant further action. My insurance company thought otherwise and after eight months (and the threat of civil prosecution) I received payment. I would not drive now without a functioning camera, but I am less inclined to send footage to the police. Not only do they not have the resources to have a presence on the roads, they don’t seem to have the backroom staff either.

John B says:
1 October 2017

I’ve recently experienced two highly dangerous incidents. First, an articulated lorry tailgated me very closely and aggressively for about 20 miles, finally blasting his horn while lurching forward to within inches of my bumper – so close that I thought he was going to ram me. The end result was he almost forced me off the road. (I understand this wasn’t the first time this particular company’s drivers have engaged in such dangerous activities, presumably just for fun.). Second incident two weeks ago: an idiot texting while driving a Karcher service van on the M5 behind me nearly ran into me as he hadn’t seen me slowing down for roadworks. That near miss didn’t stop him texting and he almost ran into me a second time a couple of minutes later. That stupidity was followed by abusive gestures when I signalled I had seen him texting. I wouldn’t hesitate to send dashcam footage of either incident to the police.

On the subject of privacy, I tend to agree with wavechange. Dashcams are essentially mobile CCTV systems; and static ones – e.g. on your house – are subject to the Data Protection Act if any part of the image they capture is of a public or private space, even if it’s incidental to the main purpose of the image (data) gathering. Even private householders (not just businesses since 2015) have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office in such circumstances; and they have to abide by reasonable-use guidelines which includes restrictions on publishing images online. Maybe dashcam users should be subject to the same provisions.

SPEED TRAP DETECTORS…………………….a slightly different topic but I cannot find anyone who has one & finds them usual…..the Daily Mail recently had a model from “Aguriworld”

Yes I do. After a woman backed into me in a Tesco car park and the only witness drove off, I had nothing to prove I was in the right outside of the photos of the damage. This was complicated by the other driver saying I backed into her-clearly not possible- and a dash came would have helped. So I got one and use it all the time. With the increase in deliberate crashes I need backup and filmage, like in the fake motorcycle accident scam, will do that.

Dash Cam reviews: I have just read the review in the current issue (and checked on line).
Why is a major limitation of some (all?) dash cams not mentioned: only small obsolete sdhc cards are supported rather than current sdhx?

I have an Nextbase 312GW which is very good except that I cannot use more than a 32GB card.
I would consider a 612GW after reading the Which report for the higher resolution, but if, as it
seems, it too cannot use more than 32GB, then one can only make records 1/4 the length which is ludicrous.

I believe that this is a software (missing exFAT drivers?) limitation: I can use 128GB and larger sdhx cards on my various linux machines.

The latest weekly scoop tells us that some insurers are now offering a discount if an approved dsah cam is fitted.
I like the idea of fitting one, anyway but have been put off by the need for ugly cables hanging down across the dashboard so the camera can be plugged in to a 12v socket. Several friends have this and is does not look good.
I have a 2017 Volvo XC60 which has a built in camera for navigation purposes and I have suggested to my dealer that this ought to double as a dash cam. Yes, they agree that’s a good idea but Volvo aren’t interested…..
Is there any affordable way of fitting a dash cam so that it is permanently wired in without visible cables? And compact enough so that it does not obscure more of the windscreen – there’s already a big chunk taken up by the Volvo camera and sensors built into the unit fixed inside the screen.
And with solid state memory so compact now, would it not be possible to have sufficient storage for at least 3 months – worth of good quality recording?

I’m fuming! Some dope reversed at 90 degrees into the rear nearside door of my car and wrote the door off. I was manouvering at the time in a car park, but had stopped when I saw him approaching and had sounded my horn. Obviously, I hadn’t driven sideways into the rear of his van and photos of the damage showed no scrape narks to show I was moving at impact – just the deep dent where his van hit. No witnesses. His insurance company offered 50/50. Mine didn’t like it but felt it had to accept as there were no independent witnesses, and said a court case would not be cost-effective and likely to give 50/50 anyway. It appears common-sense doesn’t play any part in insurance company thinking, or in court.
Is there any way a dashcam system could have provided some useful evidence?

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What a great idea !!!
And once they get identified online they can get shown up for the lowlife tossers they really are and If I was there in court I would get someone to follow them into the car park, follow them home and add their address and a photo of their car on the internet to go with the mugshot already taken.
Countries like Belgium, Luxembourg,Austria, Portugal and others have already accepted that this is a major infringement of privacy and it takes a Muppet country like Wales which probably has more sheep than what you would call humans to try and cajole their sad inhabitants into grassing all their neighbours up for petty traffic offences.