New research has shown that whilst more drivers are recognising the value of in-car cameras to help prove their innocence in road accidents, almost a third of motorists surveyed were unaware of such devices.
Such cameras, which record a drivers-eye view from the windscreen, are designed to film journeys on a daily basis, capturing and recording the crucial events leading up to, during and after a collision. Advanced models are also available which also record a view of the driver and passengers, particularly useful for taxi drivers to record a true version of events in the case of any disputes.
The research, conducted by motoring organisation the AA, revealed that a small percentage of its customers use these in-car cameras, amounting to one per cent of the 25,000 motorists surveyed. A growing number, 39 per cent of those surveyed, are beginning to express an interest.
29 per cent of motorists said that they were not aware that such cameras existed, and 32 per cent said that they are not interested in the cameras, which are already widely used in countries like Russia, Japan and Poland.
Some of the motorists who are already using in car cameras are using them as a tool against “crash for cash” fraudsters. Such frauds are the result of deliberate or invented accidents, and the exaggerated or fictitious claims which result.
Such accidents have been estimated to be costing drivers almost £400 million per year by the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
An AA insurance expert, Ian Crowder, said: “It is the ‘crash for cash’ scams that have focused interest in the use of dash-cams. They can be of benefit in the event of a collision and the police would use such evidence, as would an insurer, in helping determine the circumstances of the event.
“Unfortunately it is a sad thing that we would need to use these devices to demonstrate someone is being dishonest.”
Some companies are already seeing the significant benefits of such cameras. Tristar Worldwide, a chauffeur company based in Middlesex, took the step of fitting dash-cameras to their entire fleet of 460 vehicles in May of this year.
Fleet manager, Janusz Kozlowski, said that the cameras have already resolved collision disputes, and, further, that the company’s at-fault accident rate had halved.
He added: “I expect the company to make savings of up to £60,000 a year based on fewer accidents, but also because we will be less likely to be targeted by ‘crash for cash’ fraud.”
As well as giving drivers better peace of mind in supporting their version of events in the event of a collision, there are other incentives available to those who install in-car cameras. For example, insurance company Adrian Flux has been offering a 15 per cent discount to drivers who install an approved in-car camera since spring 2012. Comm-Tech can provide these approved cameras, such as Novus View-i Ruby and Silver cameras, to businesses at a discounted rate.
Whilst such cameras are not currently a requirement for car insurance companies, AA insurance expert, Crowder, said: “If they were to become more widely installed by drivers then insurance companies ultimately will take a greater interest.”