Security, safety and telematics specialist Cobra UK has called on the UK government to legislate for the fitting of front-facing cameras to all commercial vehicles in a bid to protect the freight industry.
Cobra’s call for action follows the growing spate of ‘crash-for-cash’ incidents that cost the insurance industry £392 million in 2012 and accounted for 69,500 personal injury claims.
Cobra hopes the move will help businesses avoid the costs and vehicle downtime incurred by this organised crime, and in turn protect their drivers, the reputation of the business and the business’ insurance record.
Cobra UK Managing Director Andrew Smith commented: “Crash-for-cash is an industry-wide issue and it is important the freight industry works together to combat it. By approaching the government with solutions we hope they can act upon these and recognise this growing issue is costing freight operators valuable time and money as well as putting drivers in danger.”
A number of freight drivers have already reacted to the increase and have installed ‘dash-cams’ in their vehicles to record the view through the windscreen to protect themselves and capture footage before, during and after a potential collision. As a result, Cobra has experienced an increased interest in its Global Live Mobile CCTV security system which is offered to commercial vehicle drivers.
The system provides live video streaming of the interior and exterior of the vehicle 24/7 from two to 16 cameras, which can be monitored by the fleet operators themselves or via Cobra’s dedicated Independent Monitoring Centre.
If the UK government enforces the legislation, Cobra believes the video footage obtained from front-facing cameras, which is admissible evidence in court, could rapidly disprove the growing number of such claims and offer much-needed protection to the freight industry.
Just last year, video evidence from an HGV’s on-board camera was used to help convict a gang who deliberately drove into the vehicle in an attempt to make a fraudulent insurance claim. In a separate case, a motorist was disqualified for 12 months because of footage taken on a front-facing camera that showed him attempting a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre.
In a recent survey, the Insurance Fraud Bureau found that each day insurers uncover an estimated 381 fraudulent insurance claims worth £2.7 million.
This has been fuelled by the rise of ‘crash-for-cash’ incidents, with a new tactic that is increasingly being used by fraudsters emerging this year. The gang flash their headlights to give victims the impression they are being allowed to join a main road but then accelerate in order to hit the unsuspecting driver side-on.
As well as for proving innocence following a collision, on-board footage can also be used by drivers to show they were not lane-hogging or tailgating, offences which now carry a £100 fine and three penalty points.