In the second part of our look at the dashcam phenomenon, Stefan Morkis talks to insurers and road safety experts.
Insurance premiums can fall for drivers who have dashcams fitted to their vehicles even if they do not make the roads safer.
The falling cost of technology coupled with a rise in “crash for cash” scams where drivers cause collision so they can claim compensation has seen a 918% rise in the number of dashboard cameras sold in the UK.
Some companies already offer discounts on insurance normally around 10% if the policy holder owns a specific type of dashcam.
Dashboard-mounted cameras first became popular in Russia, where drivers used them to prove they were not at fault for accidents.
Although not universally welcomed they are banned in Austria because of privacy concerns they are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. A recent survey carried out for the ITV programme Car Crash Britain found 44% of drivers now believe it should be mandatory for dashcams to be fitted to all new cars.
Mark Godfrey, director of RAC Insurance, said: “Dashcams give drivers an added level of protection to guard against unexpected malicious events taking place on the road which they might otherwise struggle to prove. “By having a visual record of what took place it is far easier for an insurer to come to the right conclusion and avoid the affected motorists being unfairly penalised by a potential fraudster.
“From what we have seen so far some insurers have had good success in using in-car cameras to help eliminate insurance fraud so logically you would expect their use to reduce premiums, but we would need to see this over a longer period of time in order to understand their true impact.”See also: Why drivers’ errors have become internet smash hitsRAC head of external affairs Pete Williams added: “Accident cameras or in-car cameras are commonplace in some countries where unscrupulous driving practices are a more regular occurrence.
“With ‘crash for cash’ crimes unfortunately becoming more prevalent on UK roads, motorists are looking to in-car cameras to protect themselves from being taken advantage of.”
Nearly three-quarters of RAC members (71%) believe dashcams will help prevent bogus insurance claims, with 39% saying they plan to install one.
Bryn Brooker, marketing manager with NextBase, the UK’s largest seller of dashcams, added: “One of the main reasons that people are buying dashcams is for their own protection.
“A dashcam can prove an accident was not your fault. It can be used to show police and insurance companies exactly what happened and make any insurance claim quick and easy to resolve.
“With the rise in cars on the road and increasing reports of ‘Crash for Cash’ scams. a dashcam is the perfect solution to make sure you are protected and do not lose your no claims bonus, or get caught by a fraudster.
“Dashcams are also being used to capture incidents of dangerous driving and have been successful in helping to remove dangerous drivers from our roads.
“Insurance companies are increasingly becoming aware of dashcams and in late 2014 a number of insurers started to offer discounts.”
Sandy Allan, road safety manager at RoSPA Scotland, said: “Whilst we appreciate technology does improve driver behaviour it is hard to find evidence at the current time to confirm this is the case for dash-mounted cameras.
“These devices can monitor the users behaviour but their primary role to date appears to be as a defence or prosecution evidence provider in relation to other road users.”