Fleet News

Dash camera prevents costly M25 insurance claim

This is the dramatic moment a lorry is caught on camera shunting a car side-on 100 metres along the M25 at 50mph. But the accident was caused by the hesitancy of the car driver who failed to join the motorway lane correctly.

The haulier could have been looking at an expensive insurance claim from the Honda Civic’s driver after the collision. A Smart Witness camera had been fitted to the lorry's dashboard which conclusively proved the car driver was to blame.

Gary Humphreys, Group Underwriting Director for Markerstudy Group, said: "These cameras are a cheap and effective device to help innocent motorists and we expect they will become more commonplace.

"Camera technology adds a visual element in helping insurers decide fault in the event of an accident, as well as providing individuals with evidence following road rage incidents or dangerous driving.

"We have had claims for incidents on roundabouts and over lane discipline where the camera has proved vital in determining liability and has enabled us to avoid long drawn out disputes."

He added that having a camera fitted can reduce premiums by up to 20 per cent. 

Smart Witness managing director Simon Marsh said: "Drivers worry blame will always be attached to them when they hit another vehicle from the rear, particularly when there are no reliable witnesses.

"In this case, the lorry driver was very relieved his Smart Witness camera meant he could quickly prove the accident was not his fault. This latest video shows the risk which all motorists face on a daily basis and how efficient a Smart Witness camera is at revealing the truth.

"Thankfully in this case, no insurance claim was filed but who knows what could have happened if the camera had not been there."

Smart Witness systems have saved insurers £20million by providing evidence against fake whiplash and personal injury claims. Figures released by the insurance industry earlier this year showed up to 60 per cent of the 550,000 whiplash claims filed each year were bogus.

Experts said claims had soared because people were 'motivated' by the ease of claiming in financially tough times. Sales of Smart Witness accident cameras have soared by 40 per cent in the last year as motorists protect themselves against the dangers of fraudsters.

Mr Humphreys added the cameras help protect drivers against the scams which have now become a £1 billion industry. He said: "The cameras can help protect drivers against 'cash for crash' scenarios. This includes deliberate severe braking in front of a driver to instigate a 'slam on' and subsequent whiplash injury claims.

"They can also guard against 'flash for cash' claims where a driver flashes to let another out of a junction and then crashes into them on purpose."

The cameras, a bit like a black box journey recorder, fit onto the windscreen, are powered through the car's cigarette lighter or can be directly wired in. They record the driver's view of the road ahead and also monitor the car's location, speed, breaking and impact G-forces.

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  • Craig Sharratt - 17/12/2013 11:37

    I agree these will save insurers money, the problem is the drivers that do not know the Highway Code that cause accidents and the innocent party gets blamed. You should not pull out into a main road causing a driver to slow or brake, this happens many times on my commute. If you want to nip out accelerate quickly to the speed of the road. Stopping or slowing on a main road to let someone out of a side road! Why, when this slows the flow of traffic (you are on a main road for gods sake). This morning a driver in front of me exiting a roundabout stopped at the exit to let pedestrians cross? If I had been rear ended by someone entering the roundabout quickly who would be to blame? Not indicating on a roundabout!!! Queueing over a hatched area or Keep Clear Box, no lights at dawn/dusk, no lights in fog, Fog lights when not needed! The standard of driving is shocking and these drivers will continue to be a menace on the roads until they are stopped by the Police and spoken to about there errors. I am also a cyclist so I am very aware of my actions and other road users so always indicate my intentions to other road users, I am by no means the best driver in the world, I do admit to speeding when conditions allow (not on busy streets/near schools), but having never had a fault accident I consider myself to be better than most.

    • Dave platt - 21/12/2013 15:04

      @Craig Sharratt - totally agree with everything that you have written Craig, Especially the paragraph starting "not indicating on a roundabout

    • S McDuck - 09/01/2014 17:35

      @Craig Sharratt - You seem upset by a driver "Stopping or slowing on a main road to let someone out of a side road! Why, when this slows the flow of traffic (you are on a main road for gods sake). " I would say this is most likely to be because the driver is being considerate to other motorists. You question the driver in front you stopping to let pedestrians cross? As a driver who is by your own admission "better than most" I would have though that you would have been aware of Highway code rule 204 and would have praised the driver for showing such consideration. Really I think you need to consider other motorists and road users. Not everyone is possessed with your fantastic motoring abilities. I myself am a decidedly average driver but a reasonably competent pedestrian ( my bike is fitted with stabilisers so I ride only on the pavement ). When driving I am often inconvenienced by other drivers, cyclists , pedestrians and even….would you Adamn and Eve it farm machinery and livestock sharing the highway. I choose to just chill out and listen to a little Bach on radio 3. I suggest you try it. It may help to relax you as by the tone of your letter you seem a little stressed.

    • Mr F Marshall - 10/01/2014 17:13

      @S McDuck - I agree with Mr Sharratts comments as well. All except for the part about fog lights. I for one think your car looks a lot cooler with Fog Lights on and hence makes you a better driver.

    • S McDuck - 10/01/2014 17:36

      @Mr F Marshall - You clearly mistook my email I was not agreeing with @Craig Sharratt for most of my reply. I do agree with you about the Fog Lights though as having every light on all the time makes you look much better and makes it much easier to spot people nipping out of side roads so that you can stop to let them pass.

    • Craig Sharratt - 11/01/2014 14:54

      @S McDuck - Thanks for your reply. I am well aware of rule 204 regarding pedestrians and cyclists etc. I dont mind courteous driving and often let others out of side roads when the conditions are right, i.e if in slow moving traffic. I would not however slow from 40mph to a virtual stop to let someone out, (which has happened) especially if there is a car quite close behind me or even worse a HGV what would not have the stopping distance of a car. With regards to the fog light issue, foglights are supposed to be used in fog! However if I have a headlamp bulb fail I would use side lights and fogs to assist others seem, otherwise on a country lane someone may think I was a motor bike coming in the opposite direction. I also have them on to light the edges of dark narrow country lanes, but turn them off when finished. You may note that some manufacturers actually use the fog lights for DRLs and to light curbs when cornering,So I am not sure if the law has changed regarding fogs! The issue is not using the lights correctly when the conditions dictate. I was out mid week after dark on my bicycle and had to wave at a driver that was oblivous to the fact he didnt have lights on! If I had pulled out in front of him he would have probably done me serious damage! driving is not a game, often silly little errors lead to big mistakes! With regards to the camera in the HGV, this will be mounted at the top of the windscreen, well forward of were the driver sits and the perspective will have been very different!

  • Joseph Pettit - 18/12/2013 20:14

    Smart witness cameras should be installed on not only commercial vehicles but also,om passenger cars as well. Were there is a dispute as to who is at fault,the camera doesn't lie ! The extra expense of installing these cameras would be more than paid for by eliminating long drawn out legal rangles as to who was at fault.

  • Simon Murphy - 19/12/2013 09:41

    It is still a shame to see this sort of inconsierate, unproffessional driving by the lorry driver. Closing on the vehicle in front at a junction, then failing to allow the car to join the carriageway (Highway Code).

    • Dave Platt - 21/12/2013 15:00

      @Simon Murphy - if you read the Highway Code you will see that it states that you should join a motorway at the speed of the traffic already on the motorway, also the broken dotted line at the edge of any slip road means give way,NAMELY give way to traffic already on the motorway, it is not up to the HGV driver to give way, the car has superior acceleration to a truck and should have accelerated or eased off

    • Jon Scott - 22/12/2013 23:38

      @Dave Platt -

  • Alan France - 19/12/2013 10:23

    Fantastic driving by the lorry driver saved the life of the car driver here also

  • Simon Murphy - 19/12/2013 10:39

    ... and this is why electronic control is coming.

  • roland waters - 19/12/2013 12:48

    Not sure the distance was good prior to the collision and hence view of the marked areas was not as clear as could have been would be the insurers arguments had they insured the car? Aslo, as many times an insurer states the car was clearly joining and but for the failure of the lorry to brake to avoid, steer or skid to avoid the collision it would not have happened. But then again, as we all know, insurers opinions are linked to the profit opportunities - perhaps if they insured both vehicles they would advise each the best is a 50/50 so both premiums go up and both lose NCB? Not sure any insurers differ much with or without cameras, it's still a money decision for profit as to who is at fault.

  • M F - 20/12/2013 07:21

    If the HGV driver had eased off a little this incident would have been avoided.

    • Dave platt - 21/12/2013 15:09

      @M F - it's not up to the HGV driver to ease off the car driver should have given way. That's why there are broken dotted lines on slip roads meaning GIVE WAY

    • M F - 23/12/2013 07:39

      @Dave platt - OK, so an incident that could have cost lives, could also have been completely avoided if the HGV driver had used his brain instead of possibly thinking, " the accident that is about to happen, THAT I COULD AVOID, that will cost a lot of money (if not lives) will not be my fault, so let's just let it happen anyway! Very intelligent - not.

    • Dave Platt - 04/01/2014 14:08

      @M F - final word on the issue numbskull.....What you are seeing is what the camera can see NOT what the driver can see. It's called a blind spot which all trucks have, have a look at "Renault Clio being pushed by HGV" on YouTube and you will see what I mean

  • Fpl - 31/12/2013 07:39

    Brilliant video. I will be ordering 10 of these in January

  • John Davidge - 02/01/2014 10:20

    Why didn't the 'professional' lorry driver see this developing and simply ease off to prevent a significant incident in the first place? He is just as much to blame in this collision. Cardinus Risk Management always encourage pro-active safety from drivers. All competent drivers will constantly be analysing the actions of others around them and acting to manage the risks - that is why they tend to remain incident-free. "But it wasn't my fault" is so often the cry of the selfish and naive. I'd agree that the lorry-driver's actions AFTER the impact minimised further damage - but at any busy intersection the professional should always be looking for this type of collision and pro-actively preventing it rather than selfishly putting other's lives at risk.

    • Dave Platt - 04/01/2014 14:11

      @John Davidge - because what you see is the view of the camera NOT what the driver can see !!! It's called a blind spot

  • M F - 02/01/2014 10:56

    Totally agree with John Davidge's comments.

  • JN - 02/01/2014 12:13

    John/MF - If you look at the footage you will see the camera is above the driver pointing down towards the road and is seeing more than the driver can. The car driver accelerates then slows down into the drivers blind spot and turns in. This all probably happed in a split second. To criticise the truck driver is wrong. Who knows what else was going on around him i.e. another car/truck coming up the other side. His actions afterwards no doubt saved serious injuries/lives.

  • John Davidge - 02/01/2014 12:28

    JN, the footage shows that this was a busy intersection with a 'splitter island' in the slip road. Such driving by car drivers is not uncommon and well-adjusted mirrors on the truck (including the wide-angle mirror and kerbside mirror) would have made this all visible to the truck driver, well before the camera could even see the car (I've driven HGV's for around 30yrs). Proactive truckers would have seen this car approaching and reacted early - even changing lanes in some cases. Whilst I accept that the car may then have been out of view near the front left of the truck at some point, that is even more of a case for the driver to create space and avert a collision - not blunder on regardless. We simply cannot allow bad driving to be excused by 'it was my priority'.

    • Craig Sharratt - 11/01/2014 15:03

      @John Davidge - Agree!

  • JN - 02/01/2014 23:37

    John - Pause the footage between 20/21 seconds the car is across the 'Splitter Island’ indicating the car has suddenly come from left filter lane to the right filter lane. The car wouldn’t have been in the Truck Drivers Vision - nor would they have been expecting it.

  • Len - 15/01/2014 13:10

    The fact remains that the camera recorded the events and therefore supplied circumstances to debate. Otherwise it would have been one persons word against the other with no witnesses.

  • Miss Max - 05/06/2014 10:48

    If there were more honest people in the world we would not need these type of things and not have to pay higher and higher prices for insurance

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