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How dashcams are changing the way we drive

Dashcams are video cameras mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard in order to continuously record the view from the front windscreen.

According to the AA, as many as 15% of motorists in the UK now use dashcams. They are increasingly integrated as standard on new cars but portable cameras are also widely available, and can be fitted on to any vehicle. They record in loops, overwriting older footage that is no longer deemed useful, meaning you never have to worry about running out of storage. Their primary use is to record any significant incidents and provide evidence to insurance companies following an accident.

Useful for insurance companies

Insurance companies have welcomed the rise of dashcams, as they record a more reliable version of events than eyewitness accounts. It is possible that fitting a dashcam could even have a positive impact on your insurance premium.

Tony Clayton, Commercial Insurance Manager at Arnold Clark Insurance Services said: ‘Accidents are an everyday occurrence on roads in the UK and a dashcam will provide peace of mind should you be involved in one – particularly an accident that wasn’t your fault, or if liability is disputed. Sadly, there are also around 30,000 ‘crash for cash’ incidents on UK roads each year, and dashcams are increasingly important in helping insurers identify such fraudulent incidents.’

As well as being important to individual drivers, dashcams could have some impacts for fleets too. Tony explains: ‘If your vehicle is part of a company fleet, then fitting and using a dashcam will be a positive addition to the risk management programme of your fleet manager.’

New guidelines required for dashcams

Some are calling for more guidance and legislation to help motorists use dashcams properly, as there are concerns that some drivers are seeing the camera as a substitute for careful driving.

Although there are concerns about limited views, dashcam footage will now be used across Wales in order to prosecute driving offences, with motorists urged to upload footage of interest to the police website. As dashcams continue to grow in popularity, both insurance companies and law enforcement agencies will use the footage more often, which means the public needs to understand their obligations.

Things to remember when using a dashcam

As with any technology, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you use your dashcam safely and effectively.

  • Make sure that your portable dashcam is properly fixed and doesn’t compromise your view of the road.
  • If the camera has an in-built screen, then this must be turned off as it is illegal to view video-screen devices while driving.
  • If you’re buying a dashcam, check the picture quality requirements with your insurance company. Images have to be of the right standard in order to be considered as evidence, should you need to make a claim.
  • If you have told your insurance company that you are using a dashcam, you must ensure that it is switched on and operational at all times.
  • When travelling abroad, check the local laws on using dashcams as they remain illegal in some countries and highly discouraged in others.
  • Do not share any footage you take on social media, as this could be in breach of privacy laws.
  • If you have any questions about dashcams, our fleet managers are always up to date with the latest technologies and are happy to advise on the implications they could have for your business.

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