Over the past 24 months dash cams have skyrocketed in popularity. They’ve transformed from a niche bit of tech for ‘paranoid’ motoring enthusiasts to a device that could soon be as commonplace and essential as a sat nav.
Not only do the police accept dash-cam footage when trying to settle an incident involving someone who uses one, but they even appeal for available footage from passers-by to help with other crimes.
As they grow in popularity, dash cams are also becoming increasingly important. Sure, using one will certainly come in handy if someone dings your rear bumper at a red light, but here are some more serious crimes they could help to stop, along with real examples of when they have done so.
Best Buy dash cams – find a model you can count on in an accident
1. Hit and run
Sometimes it’s not just yourself you’re looking out for. More than 16,000 hit-and-run incidents occur in the UK each year, and the number is only increasing. A dash cam can help to solve a case that would otherwise run completely cold, and get justice for the victims.
2. Dangerous undertaking
There’s an old saying your driving instructor may have sagely repeated to you when you were a young learner driver: undertakers get undertakers.
Although undertaking (overtaking in the lane to the left of a vehicle) is not illegal in itself it is highly dangerous. Until recently, it would have been extremely difficult to track down anyone who put other motorists at risk with this manoeuvre. Fortunately, even if all parties escape unharmed, dash-cam footage can still be used to convict for dangerous driving.
3. Road rage
Recent surveys have shown that the UK is the world leader for road rage, with as many as nine in ten motorists saying they’ve been subject to it at least once. These incidents range from harmless, if distressing, gestures and insults to far more dangerous physical threats.
A dash cam can help police by providing both number plates and faces to help catch those involved.
It can be difficult for police to track roadside scammers when they have nothing to go by other than word-of-mouth reports after the incident. There’s often no vehicle used, and the scammers would be foolish to stay in the same spot, so the increasing popularity of dash cams has been a huge help.
One popular scam involves the unsuspecting mark being sandwiched between two cars working in tandem, before being coerced into rear-ending the one in front. In cases like this, a dash cam set-up that features both front and rear-facing cameras could be invaluable.
Of course dash cams are incredibly helpful for providing evidence if you’re a witness to carjacking, as in the example case below, but they can also help if you yourself are the victim. Many models have apps and wireless functionality that sends footage to your mobile device or home computer, such as the Nextbase iN-CAR CAM 312GW Deluxe or the Transcend DrivePro 200.
Example case: Birmingham pensioner carjacked and assaulted
Dash cams and the law
If you’re interested in buying and using a dash cam but are unsure about their legal status, we can help. Visit our in-depth guide to dash cams and the law to find out what you need to know and protect yourself on the road today.