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Dash cam for peace of mind - Recordings can protect driver's interest

Published:Friday | July 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMKawain Fearon
Claudia Roye, Claims manager, BCIC.
A dash can recording being shown on the screen in the motor vehicle's interior.
Dr Garth Rattray
A camera mounted close to the rear view mirror of a motor vehicle.

One of a motorist's biggest fears is being involved in an accident. In the aftermath, your memory could be affected and hence your account of what has happened, delaying the insurance claim process.

However, thanks to access to technology, a number of drivers are now utilising dash cams to capture every moment of their drive.

A dash cam is a video-recording device placed on the dashboard of a motor vehicle. or otherwise mounted inside the windscreen. Dash cams vary and can record inside and outside the vehicle, the footage being stored for retrieval at a convenient time. While some dash cams have internal storage, others facilitate additional storage through the use of an SD card or other external storage device.

According to Dr Garth Rattray, he bought into the idea of having a dash cam for safety reasons, "I was tired of witnessing dangerous and deplorable driving on the road. I held out hope to convince the powers that be to 'deputise' citizens as traffic observers. And I want it, just in case I need it as evidence in a crash," he said.

Having the dash cam, Rattray has become a more alert driver ,"I have become much more aware, not only of the other drivers, but also of my own driving. After all, the camera will also record my driving activities," he said.

With an impending increase in fines for drivers who disobey traffic laws, it is anticipated that a lot of motorists may employ the unconventional tactic to get the courts to toss out cases against them - if it is proven that they were on the right side of the law.

Having been pulled over in routine checks, Rattray said to date he has not observed a difference in the approach of police officers and "no cop has ever asked what it is".

Safety and accountability is one thing, but there is also insurance to consider.

According to Claudia Roye, Claims manager at British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), having a dash cam "could help to settle claims faster if the camera has recorded the moments leading up to the accident. This could be an accident involving our own insured motor vehicle, or any other accident which occurred within the view of the camera."

She continued: "Our driver could be a potential witness, aided by the camera footage."

However, she pointed out that a street cameras would be the best go to for assessment of accident scenes, as they give a better view of roadways and traffic.

While a faster settlement would be a plus for motorists, Roye said "because of the limitation of the camera (frontal view only) I do not think that installation would warrant discounts or incentives."

For motorist, however, a faster claim settlement and safety may just be the premium need.