A Shrewsbury solicitor outlines the pros and cons of dash cams
24th November 2016
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Dashboard-mounted cameras, or ‘dash cams’ as they’re more commonly known, have grown in popularity and availability in recent years – with most petrol stations selling them from over the counter.

But are they what they seem, and are they worth the money? With each ranging in price from £20 to over £100, they can seem pricey at first take, but the benefits of having one fitted in your vehicle is a reason why many people think they are indeed worth the money. Let’s look at the pros, and some of the lesser-known cons, of using a dash cam…

Pros

  • Dash cam footage can be used to provide a first-hand look at ‘what really happened’ during a road incident, providing evidence of who or what was a fault
  • They can be vital when witnesses aren’t present (however witnesses still remain the most important evidence to support an insurance claim)
  • Having one fitted to your vehicle can prevent you from falling victim to ‘staged accidents’ – when the perpetrator causes an accident on purpose to claim false injuries from insurance companies
  • As well as being able to capture footage of incidents on the road, you may be able to capture great sights while you’re driving – from natural occurrences like a meteor shower or shooting star, through to eye-catching scenery and wildlife
  • You can use the footage as reference to make driving better, and re-watch any potential hazards you might have faced on your journey (this can be particularly useful for young or new drivers)

Cons

  • As mentioned above, the best evidence available for an insurance claim is a witness who has seen it take place from an alternative angle. While dash cam footage can show what happened from your point of view, it might not pick up other hazards at the time of driving (such as a cat crossing the road)
  • Dash cam footage can actually be used against you. If you have one fitted, and are involved in an accident which was your fault, your camera can be used in the other person’s defence – so be sure to drive safe!
  • As they are fitted to the windscreen or back window, they can be a distraction to the driver – so be sure to place it in a way which doesn’t obstruct your view
  • It can attract thieves if kept in view
  • They can be costly – depending on the brand and model

The main purpose of a dash cam is to protect the driver from potentially complex road traffic cases, and can be a useful tool used by your solicitor to defend your case.

There’s also the UK Privacy Law to take into account. You are free to use the footage from dash cams as long as it’s for personal household reasons, and it doesn’t infringe on someone’s privacy. For example, you can legally share footage of roads as they are a public space, but it would be illegal to use footage if it is considered intrusive to a person’s privacy, including their property1.

If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident and need to seek legal advice, please do contact your local solicitors, Edmund Coxhead or Ryan Bickham, on 01743 248148 (Shrewsbury) for an initial discussion.

1 | https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1542/cctv-code-of-practice.pdf

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