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Call for compulsory cameras to banish ‘crash for cash’

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One in four motorists (26%) think the UK should take the lead in the fight against so-called ‘crash for cash’ scams by making in-car cameras compulsory.

The RAC, which carried out the research, says the vast majority of drivers (71%) believe introducing in-car accident cameras would help to cut bogus car insurance claims from staged car crashes, which has become a billion pound industry for unscrupulous car criminals.

The increase in so-called ‘crash for cash’ scams has prompted motorists to take action themselves as the motoring organisation found nearly two in five (39%) drivers said they are considering fitting an in-car camera.

Latest figures suggest that 4% of drivers already have an in-car camera, and the majority (59%) said the main reason they bought one is to have a record of what happens in case of an accident.

A fifth (21%) specifically cited protection against ‘crash for cash’ scams as the reason they had a camera.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates bogus claims rose by 34% last year to 59,900 cases and has also dubbed the UK the ‘whiplash capital of the world’, with the £2 billion in claims adding £90 a year on to the average motorist’s premium.

RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “Accident cameras or in-car cameras are commonplace in some countries where unscrupulous driving practices are a more regular occurrence.

“With ‘crash for cash’ crimes unfortunately becoming more prevalent on UK roads, motorists are looking to in-car cameras to protect themselves from being taken advantage of.”

Fortunately, only a small number (3%) of those surveyed had fallen foul of an insurance scam to date. However, of those that had, 73% were victims of a ‘crash for cash’ incident.

Williams said: “As long as they are used correctly, dashboard cameras are a valuable record of the circumstances that occurred around an accident and as such can help to reduce the cost of personal injury claims which, in turn, should ultimately reduce the cost of insurance.

“Making in-car cameras compulsory would come at a cost initially, but they could pay for themselves in the long run if they cut the nation’s premiums.

“When used in conjunction with a telematics ‘black box’ they can also provide accurate information of driver behaviour to help customers and insurers to deal with claims more quickly.”

As well as making road users feel safer, almost three quarters (72%) of those surveyed would consider installing a dashboard camera if it meant they could pay lower insurance premiums.

A similar amount (70%) also felt that an increased use of cameras among UK drivers would help cut the number of bogus insurance claims made.

Williams said: “We hope that the introduction of cameras will have a positive impact on car insurance claims and once we have proven the benefit in reducing claim costs we will discuss with our panel of insurers about how we can acknowledge their use.”

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  • Andy Titterton - 16/10/2014 10:31

    A good idea as it may be, the focus on the article is on the fact that 'one in four' motorists want cameras to be made compulsory. Look at it the other way, with a less hitting headline - ;Three in four drivers don't think cameras are worthwhile fitting to cars'.............

  • Weave - 16/10/2014 11:42

    Cameras in cars do offer a quite interesting future potentially for all of us. Crash for Cash may well be just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to using the data that would inevitably be collected through constant monitoring of a cars position and surroundings. I could well imagine the police being inundated with images of other road users having been filmed making errors whilst driving etc etc. Partners could check up on each others movements, parents could check upon their offsprings driving style and of course their whereabouts too. I'm not entirely sure I would have wanted my parents knowing quite every place I knew "when I was a lad" and I'm sure I wouldn't of wanted everything filmed ! So what of such a bid to make compulsory? One can only imagine the amount of hurdles there may be to jump through prior to such legislation being proposed let alone put in place? So whilst I find your headline of interest, I suspect in reality we will see today's market place develop on an as required basis driven only by customer demand. Could be the next dealer profit opportunity though? And no FCA to worry about.....!

  • Paul Gauntlett - 16/10/2014 11:51

    I'd be very happy to have a camera in my car. The cost of them (and data storage) is now very small and the potential benefit significant. However I wish the vehicle manufacturers would have this option to select rather than having to have to buy a device to fit onto the dash board / windscreen and the wires etc that creates. In fact many manufacturers already have camera's fitted to the cars (blind spot/ rear parking / sign recognition) so adding the function of recording surely would be relatively easy?

  • Mike Reader - 16/10/2014 12:20

    Shouldn't the first cause of action be if you feel that you have been the subject of a cash for crash scam, to involve the Police. I wonder how many potential scammers would wait around to be interviewed if they were known to have done this before. I think this is where the Police and Insurance companies should investigate these instances more deeply

  • Dirk Olsen - 16/10/2014 12:36

    I've got one in my car for about 6 years and am happy to have it. I'm used to a dash camara which I already had while working in Russia and that's not only because of accidernts (I won't go into details of the other usage). The only problem one has and that is that the camara is fed current by the cigarete lighter and I would like to have a camara pointing out of the rear window. To do that has anybody got an idea which they could pass on?

  • Personal Driving Coach - Duty of Care - Managing Occupational Road Risk - HSE etc. - 16/10/2014 13:40

    Typical, externalise. It's akin to having a 'Baby on board' sticker - pass the responsibility on to others. . . How about 'managing a known risk' - leave more space ahead of you and lose speed earlier. Consider the implication of understanding 'you can't run into the back of a vehicle that doesn't exist! Use this knowledge to alter your approach to roundabouts and other hazards.

  • Richard Willis - 17/10/2014 10:17

    Obviously we all live in the perfect world, ever heard of cash for crash drivers cutting you up and making abrupt stops for no reason? I think the point is being missed here

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