/ Motoring, Technology

Would you buy a dashboard camera for your car?

Car crash

Criminals are causing crashes on our roads in order to extort money from car insurers. Would you fit a camera to your car’s dashboard to protect yourself from ‘crash-for-cash’ scams?

Car insurance is one of the priciest parts of owning a car. Despite recent claims that premiums are lower than last year, they’re being pushed up by both uninsured drivers and criminals who’re staging accidents to make money from insurance companies.

Crash-for-cash scams hit the road

Crash-for-cash scams revolve around criminals slamming on their brakes without warning and causing innocent people driving behind to crash into them. The scammers then submit fraudulent insurance claims, covering everything from false whiplash claims, loss of earnings, as well as fake bills for the recovery of their car, repairs, vehicle storage and replacement car hire.

There have even been reports of criminals staging accidents by flashing their lights at other drivers to signal that they’re letting them out of junctions, to then deliberately drive into them. Also known as ‘flash-for-cash’ scams, this particular tactic has become popular due to the fact that it’s very hard for victims to prove that the scammers flashed them.

According to the Metropolitan Police, crash-for-cash scams reportedly cost insurers nearly £400m a year and could be adding an extra £50-100 to innocent drivers’ annual premiums.

Would you buy a car dashcam?

One way of protecting yourself against false claims is to fit a camera to your dashboard to film the road ahead. These cameras are already popular in countries like Russia where car insurance scams are common. Of course, ‘dashcams’ can also help you in legitimate accidents, as Ian Crowder of the AA explains:

‘They can be very helpful in the event of an accident to work out who was involved and who was to blame. Footage could be useful to support an insurance claim. The insurance industry would consider them to be a good thing.’

So, would you buy a dashcam to protect yourself on the road? And would it affect the way you drive if you knew that your driving was being filmed?

Would you buy a dashboard camera for your car?

Yes (59%, 632 Votes)

Maybe (22%, 237 Votes)

No (15%, 166 Votes)

I don't own a car (4%, 45 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,080

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Comments
Member

Shame there’s no link or tag to more info on dashboard cameras… I plan to research these dashcams to see what’s available. My number one requirement would be that they are removable, preferably with simple plug in/plug out connections, as I would not be able to leave the device in my vehicle due to theft – the cam would be snatched almost the instant I parked, where I live!! I also hope to find a helmet-cam for my son’s motorbike helmet, to serve the same purpose as the ones in cars. It is just a pity that society has sunk so low that we now need these cameras on board – I think the crash-for-cash scams are despicable.

Member

Hi there,
on the subject of ‘point of view’ (POV) cameras, I use a Drift HD Ghost camera mounted on my motorcycle helmet and also use it (via suction mount) on the car windscreen for EVERY car journey. It provides superb ‘TV quality’ imagery with remote wireless control. It’s waterproof and tough. I used it extensively during my training for my Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists test, and continue to use it. It comes with a range of mounting options and accessories – I’ve just ordered a chest harness for shoulder mounting. It’s not cheap, (£300), but you get what you pay for. I power it via a 12v source both on bike & car but if this was interrupted for any reason, the camera’s battery ‘kicks in’ seamlessly without compromising the recording (5+ hours on the SD card). The camera has recorded endless hours of superb motorcycle and car footage, not to mention some atrocious, aggressive and downright antisocial (and dangerously illegal) driving by other road users. Oh, and I get 10% off my insurance for having the camera in use, (in addition for the 20% reduction for being an IAM member). I now wonder how I ever rode (and drove) without this device. In the event of a road traffic incident, it’s often your word against theirs – but the camera never lies.
I hope this is of help!

Member

Dear Sean, thank you so much for all your info and advice, it definitely is helpful. And well done and congratulations on achieving the IAM! My son has only just passed his full motorcycling tests, and I am sure he’ll want to go for the IAM once he’s had a few more road miles’ experience (and had a chance to save up !). So I will pass on your advice 🙂

Member

Thank you for your kind comments!
The (£139) cost of joining the IAM includes all tuition, both theory lectures, practical tuition and the cost of the test itself. Believe me – it’s worth EVERY PENNY! (Bear in mind, you could spend that on a pair of motorcycle gloves!). The IAM experience has literally saved my life, as I think back to countless driving & riding experiences where I think ‘before I did the Advanced training, I’d never have seen that coming…’ etc. We train people to Police Class 1 Advanced standard – the same as Police get. I also use much less fuel than before, as an added bonus!
The training, combined with the video recording of every ride is keeping me alive. As we say: ‘Great roads. Great bike. Great rider?’… There’s always something to spend 140 quid on, but if your life (or the life of someone close to you), matters a lot, is that not worth the money? As a Nurse (for over 20 years), I’ve seen (and continue to see) the results of bad decisions made on the UK’s roads. The majority of it is preventable and nearly always due to driver or rider error. You need EVERY edge in your favour to stay alive on Britain’s congested roads. Good training, a well maintained machine and video evidence of your journey will go a long way.
Take care and stay safe!
Regards, Sean.

Member

Hi Blackheath Howler,

There are a vast range of dashcams out there from very basic £15 recorders to sophisticated cameras that cost hundreds of pounds. Some insurers approve certain cameras and give users a discount and this Chilli Bongo is approved by at least one insurer, though it’s not cheap: http://www.chillibongo.com/shopping/products/3-Full-Camera-Systems/1-CB-100HD-Full-HD-1080p-In-Car-Camera-System/

Here’s a slightly cheaper option too: http://domestic.roadhawk.co.uk/roadhawk-720-dash-camera

Member

Both the expensive and cheap models only point in one direction. I would have thought, for it to be effective, it would have had to be a cylindrical device with at least four lenses to give a 360 degree view, as you don’t know where the other car is going to hit you from.

Member

Maybe one of the perks of working for Google Street View. 🙂

Member

You’re not going to realistically get a ‘dash camera’ that covers 360 degrees! The easiest solution would be to have a front AND rear camera – more money and a bit fiddly, but possible. The Police have 3 ‘Go Pro’ cameras in the cars: one front, one rear and an internal one filming the rear seats (for obvious reasons). My Drift HD Ghost has a 170 degree angle lens so it covers a wide front angle and covers most of the side and front views.. On the bike helmet, it also covers the bike’s instrument panels and the rear mirrors – conveniently giving a record of the vehicles behind. It’s a matter of simply selective positioning of the camera.!