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Should "Dash Cams" Be Installed on All New Cars?

Published May 21, 2015 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney
Dash cam

WCNC recently reported about a reckless and intoxicated driver causing a multi-vehicle collision along a New York State toll road. While reckless driving behavior is far too common in the state of New York, what makes this particular auto accident different is that all the events leading up to collision, as well as the moment of impact itself, were captured on the dash cam video of another vehicle. This raises the question of whether “dash cams” should be installed as a basic feature on all new cars.

A dash cam video could provide indisputable evidence for victims and their families to use in accident claims or wrongful death lawsuits. Dash cam videos could also be helpful in tracking down hit-and-run drivers, thus reducing financial losses to innocent victims.

Benefits of Having an Accident Recorded on a Dash Cam

In addition to the New York State Police performing standard field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests to determine the at-fault driver in the recorded accident had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.19 percent, the dash cam video also provided video documentation of the actions the driver took that caused the accident to occur.

In this particular video, the driver of a Camaro is seen pulling up in the right lane. As he approaches a tanker truck in front of him, the Camaro’s driver attempts to merge into the left lane, almost colliding with a pick-up truck in the process. Fortunately, the pick-up truck is able to swerve to avoid the Camaro, and then pulls out ahead of the Camaro. The Camaro quickly pulls up behind the pick-up and its driver begins tailgating, flashing the vehicle’s lights, and doing everything he can to get the pick-up’s driver to move out of the way (despite having nowhere to go). Towards the end of the video, the Camaro’s driver can be seen attempting to pass the pick-up illegally on the left-side shoulder of the road. When he loses control in the gravel, he appears to swerve into the pick-up truck, causing it to collide with a big rig in the far right lane. All three vehicles end up leaving the roadway. The owner of the vehicle in which the dash cam was installed stated none of those involved in the accident sustained injury.

Since that time, the driver has been charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. If either of the other involved drivers had sustained serious injury or chose to file lawsuits for injuries or losses, the dash cam video would be a key piece of evidence in the case.

Dash Cam Privacy Issues and Restriction Concerns

While many people may want purchase a dash cam so they can record instances of negligent or reckless driving behavior, capture evidence in a hit-and-run accident, or be able to accurately determine fault in other types of traffic accidents, various privacy concerns and restrictions must be considered. In some states it is illegal to record an individual without express permission. The placement of such a device on a vehicle’s dashboard must not hinder the driver’s visibility.

Based on current trends, it will not be long before we begin seeing dash cams in more vehicles across the U.S. In fact, CNET featured one of the more technologically advanced dash cams on the market at CES 2015 in January 2015. The Thinkware F750 is capable of recording accidents, and it comes with built-in GPS information, a lane-departure warning system, a crash warning system, and the ability to stream live video to a cell phone or other device. With all of those benefits, who wouldn’t want to have a dash cam as a standard feature in all new vehicles?


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