If you’ve ever been in a road accident and experienced the stress of the other person involved disputing the order of events and what actually happened, you might have turned to using a dash cam as a means of recording your journeys on the road.
As we know with the rapid progress of EV technology, reliability and price of new tech tends to eventually drop so as to make it affordable to the likes of you and I. It would have been unthinkable to consider using a dash cam only a few years back, but with Nextbase offering the popular 112 model at just £49, the prospect of using a dash cam has become very affordable in recent years.
Today we learned that all four Welsh police forces will be elevating the use of dash cams a step further than simply evidence for insurance claims. In October 2016, Operation SNAP was launched in north Wales. Operation SNAP encourages members of the public to upload footage of wrong-doing onto the police website in conjunction with the Go Safe project encouraging the public to send in digital images/recordings of antisocial behaviour, motoring offences or inconsiderate driving. So far 129 cases have been dealt with as a result.
Contrary to what you might expect, Operation SNAP is actually saving police time rather than increasing it: Inspector Dave Cust, North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit explains that police time per case is being reduced by around 12 hours. “It’s proper reliable evidence,” he says.
The Go Safe website provides clear information as to what is required – and this does not include uploading to social media in any way, shape or form; this is simply not acceptable. The whole unedited journey must be provided via the SD card (removable from the dash cam) or memory stick or CD.
Cash for Crash
It’s inevitable that there will be a negative reaction to this news as well as the positive. As Inspector Cust points out, such footage can be used to prove innocence as well – it’s not a tool for snooping on other road users. There is another very good reason for considering using a dash cam video recorder and that is to counteract the ‘cash for crash’ scam.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau states that cash for crash costs the UK around £340million every single year. The scam usually consists of the car in front slamming the brakes on forcing you to do the same, but usually too late. A further member of the scam gang will be there to state that the accident is your fault. Claims can be exaggerated with whiplash injury and inflated hire and recovery costs. Figures of up to £30,000 are not unheard of.
It all boils down to which side of the fence you sit on; if you think that dash cams (and speed cameras to a certain extent) exist to protect the innocent road user and punish the bad road user, then I am sure you will welcome the news that you can buy a respected brand dash cam for less than £50 (the previous Nextcam model, the 101 Go, won the Sunday Times Driving Best Value award in 2015).
If you are thinking of investing in a dash cam, then reliability is the order of the day – a camera that fails to record the crucial moments or has footage too grainy to be used is, well, totally pointless. You can find numerous best dash cam reviews on reliable sites such as Which? And TechAdvisor. Both carry some useful advice and articles as well.
A couple of things that are worth considering: G-Sensor (detects impact and locks the recording avoiding accidental deletion) and some sort of parking mode, as not all accidents will occur whilst the car is actually travelling. If you can afford it, a night view mode is a good idea – and a rear facing dash cam may also prove to be a wise investment too, though some do have 2 camera lenses; one for the front and one for a rear view.
I’m sure police forces across the UK are watching Operation SNAP with keen interest, and surely it’s only a matter of time before this is rolled out nationwide.