General Insurance Article - Dashcams contribute to road safety

The government’s funding boost for police to use video evidence as part of a two-year road safety action plan comes as more people fit dashcams in their cars.

 Up to than two thirds of cars in the UK are likely to be equipped with dashcams over coming months with a fifth (20%) of drivers already owning one while another half (51%) thinking about doing so, 16% seriously, according to an AA-Populus study.*

 Drivers have often found difficulty in submitting dash-cam evidence of poor or dangerous driving to local police forces although in 2016, North Wales Police launched its ‘Operation Snap’** dashcam video portal to accept such evidence. The scheme has seen a large number of fixed penalty notices, retraining courses and prosecutions take place as a direct result of this evidence and it has now been extended to cover the whole of Wales.

 However, only 2% of drivers say their prime reason for installing a dashcam is to record evidence of bad driving. Nevertheless, the success of the North Wales Police initiative suggests that if drivers happen to record a motoring offence, they are prepared to submit that evidence.

 The chief reason for dashcam ownership is concern about establishing liability in the event of a crash (60%), or to protect against cash-for-cash fraudsters (25%).

 Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance says: “Data is king in the event of a collision and dashcam footage provides proper, reliable evidence that can establish fault. What’s more, it can and, based on the Operation Snap evidence does, lead to prosecution of dangerous drivers.

 “So government funding to enable police to analyse dashcam evidence submitted by the public, whether from a dash-cams, cyclists’ helmet-cams or smartphone footage is to be welcomed it helps to improve road safety and the North Wales police initiative suggests that it does.

 “Similarly, dash-cam evidence submitted to insurance companies can be decisive in ensuring that fault can be properly attributed where otherwise, circumstantial evidence and witness statements may suggest a different outcome.

 On the Bikeability training suggestion, Conner says: “Clearly any initiatives that improve road safety are welcome. The suggestion that cycle Bikeability training of drivers could offer an opportunity to discount car insurance is interesting and we need to study the detail to see whether it would have any meaningful impact on premiums. According to ABI figures, fewer than 0.1 motor claims involved cyclists last year.”

 “Car insurance is based the evidence of claims risk based on driving behaviours.

 “Drivers who use dash-cams are already more likely to drive in a responsible manner and be more observant of all road users whether on two legs, two wheels or four. That’s because they know evidence from a dash-cam can be self-incriminating in the event of a collision. In a crash, police already routinely take dash-cam footage in the same way they check to see whether a mobile phone was being used at the time.

 “If as a result of increased dash-cam use and better cycle awareness fewer claims are made, then premiums for everyone will come down.”

 Reasons for buying a dashcam
 ‘To use as evidence to prove fault in a possible collision’ is the overwhelming reason why people have bought one:
 • 60% overall (60% men; 68% women); with similar results across all age groups and regions
 • West Midlands drivers are most likely to be concerned about possible ‘cash for crash’ fraud attempts (29%) compared with 25% overall.
 • Women are also slightly more concerned about potential ‘cash for crash’ attempts (26% saying this compared with 25% of men).
 Other reasons for buying a dashcam include:
 • Reduce my insurance premiums (5%);
 • ‘because I like gadgets’ (1%);
 • to record possible thieves or collisions while parked (3%)
 • to record bad behaviour of other drivers and publish online (2%)

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