Dashcams may not yield any increase in prosecutions for dangerous driving and may also lead to fewer visible traffic patrols as officers spend more time analysing amateur footage, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has warned.
In 2015, reports suggested that sales of dashcams had increased by 918%, with many insurance companies now accepting footage as part of insurance claims. But IAM RoadSmart has urged caution, as drivers are potentially lulled into a false sense of security in thinking a dashcam will protect them or exonerate them from all blame in the event of a crash – when in fact the opposite might be the case.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said dashcam footage often does not show the full picture of a crash – often being too short, poor quality, failing to show how a crash developed or only showing one very restricted angle.
”IAM RoadSmart is calling for consistent national guidelines on the standard of dashcam footage required for prosecutions, what the police will do with it and how to submit it in the correct way,” said Greig.
“Our members are very supportive of high profile policing but it takes time for police to evaluate the footage, decide what to follow up, trace the driver, serve paperwork and then obtain a successful prosecution within legal time limits.
“Our main concern is that dashcams must not become a replacement for fully trained officer undertaking high profile roads policing.”
He concluded: “A dashcam isn’t the be-all and end-all. People need to realise they must improve their own standards of driving as well as expecting others to do the same.
“We at IAM RoadSmart are very concerned that drivers might be investing in a dashcam as a substitute for better driving, instead of using it as a back-up.
“In many ways a dash cam is the end of the line; real accident prevention requires better driver training and tackling ingrained attitudes and behaviours.”