high tech, motorcycling, Motoring News, road safety, vehicle technology

Be careful: Dashcams might be hashcams in court

  • Dashcams sometimes miss whole picture
  • High-profile police patrols still necessary
  • Protection? It could be the opposite…

LONDON, England – The UK’s biggest road-safety charity has warned that the rush of drivers buying a dashcam might not create as many prosecutions for dangerous driving hoped.

It could even lead to to fewer traffic patrols as officers spent more time analysing the such recordings.

In 2015, according to IAM Roadsmart, the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that sales of dashcams had increased almost tenfold and that many insurance companies were accepting such video as part of insurance claims.

‘LACK OF CONSISTENCY’

IAM RoadSmart has now urged caution because, it has found, drivers can be lulled into a false sense of security in thinking a dashcam will protect or exonerate them after a crash.

Indeed, the opposite might be true.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, said dashcam video often did not show the full picture of a crash: videos were often too short or of poor quality; didn’t show how a crash developed; or showed only a very restricted angle.

He added that there was no consistency through which police forces would accept dashcam video. On Monday (August 21 2017) both North and South Wales Police were widely quoted in the media as saying they would welcome it through its Operation Snap but the situation was very different or unknown across Britain.

Greig said IAM RoadSmart was calling for consistent national guidelines on:

  • The standard of dashcam video required for prosecution
  • What the police do with it
  • How to submit it in the correct way

“Our members are very supportive of high-profile policing but it takes time for police to evaluate video, decide what to follow up, trace the driver(s), serve paperwork and then obtain a successful prosecution within legal time limits.

“Our main concern is that dash cams must not become a replacement for trained officers undertaking high-profile roads policing.”

‘END OF THE LINE’

A dashcam, he believed, wasn’t the be-all and end-all. “People must improve their own standards of driving while expecting others to do the same. We at RoadSmart are very concerned that drivers might be investing in a dashcam as a substitute for better driving.

“In many ways a dashcam is the end of the line; real accident prevention requires better driver training and tackling ingrained attitudes and behaviour.”

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