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Drivers using 'dash cams' to fight fraud

More and more drivers are using in-car cameras to help prove their innocence in road accidents, according to new research.

in-car-camera 

Motorists in the UK are increasingly installing in-car or dashboard cameras in their cars to prove they are not at fault for crashes.

The in-car video cameras, which record the driver's view from the windscreen, are designed to film journeys and capture events before, during and after a collision.

A new study by motoring organisation the AA has revealed that while only a small amount of its customers currently use the "dash-cams", a growing number are expressing interest in them.

39% of drivers interested in dash-cams

The AA survey showed that 39 per cent of drivers would be interested in installing the cameras in their vehicles.

Some 29 per cent said they were not aware such devices existed, while 32 per cent said they had no interest in the cameras.

One per cent of the 25,000 people surveyed already had the cameras installed.

Some of the motorists already using dash-cams, which can cost up to £300, are employing them as a tool to combat so-called "crash for cash" fraudsters.

Cameras used to combat 'crash for cash'

These frauds are based on deliberate or invented collisions and the exaggerated or fictitious claims which result.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau has estimated such fake accidents are costing drivers almost £400 million a year.

Ian Crowder, an insurance expert at the AA, said: "It is the 'crash for cash' scams that have focused interest in the use of dash-cams.

"They can be of benefit in the event of a collision and the police would use such evidence, as would an insurer, in helping determine the circumstances of the event.

"They are already widely used in some countries like Russia, Poland and Japan.

"Unfortunately it is a sad thing that we would need to use these devices to demonstrate someone is being dishonest."

Will dash-cams become mainstream

Matthew Paterson, head of liability claims at car insurance provider Admiral, says the industry is still unsure whether the market for dash-cams in the UK will continue to grow.

He said: "It's hard to say whether they'll become more widely used in the UK.

"The fraud issue in the UK is not quite as prevalent as other countries, and people won't anticipate a situation where they'd require filmed evidence to help them.

"So while the evidence from dash-cams may be something insurers would like in determining liability and combating fraud, I'm not convinced they'll become a big factor in the UK any time soon."

Car collision on main road

Tristar Worldwide, a chauffeur company based in Middlesex, fitted dash-cams to all of its 460 vehicles in May.

Its fleet manager, Janusz Kozlowski, says the cameras have already resolved collision disputes and seen the company's at-fault accident rate halved. 

He said: "I expect the company to make savings of up to £60,000 a year based on fewer accidents and because we will be less likely to be targeted by 'crash for cash' fraud."

Insurance discount for dash-cam drivers

Insurance company Adrian Flux has been offering a 15 per cent discount to drivers who install an approved dash-cam since spring 2012.

However, in general dash-cams are still not widely recognised by insurers at present.

AA car insurance expert, Crowder, added: "At the moment dash cameras are not a requirement for car insurance companies.

"However, if they were to become more widely installed by drivers then insurance companies ultimately will take a greater interest.

"They can be equally useful for insurers but motorists will be well aware that the recording could highlight their own driving error as well as those of others."

What do you think?

Have you or would you install a dashboard camera in your car? If you've done so already, why?

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Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus is a reporter at Confused.com. He started out writing for newspapers in Monmouthshire and Newport before moving to Italy to teach English. After four years in Sardinia he joined the team at Confused.com.

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