If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good dashcam video on YouTube every now and again, at some point, you’ve probably come to a basic realization: All of those videos sure do seem to come from Russia; don’t they. You’re not imagining things — this is absolutely true. Everyone in Russia seems to have a dash camera installed in their vehicle, in large part, because most of them do. Auto insurance fraud is so prevalent in that country that many people have turned to technology to provide a much-needed level of protection that an entire industry cannot.
But, many people don’t realize that this trend is hardly limited to that particular country. According to a story that recently ran in the Japan Times, the regular appearances of dashcam crash footage in news reports and on television programs have apparently generated a massive demand for dashcams in areas like Japan as well. Not only are concerned drivers seeking an extra level of legal protection in the event of an accident, but auto insurers in that country are also getting in on things, too.
Japan and Dashcams: What You Need to Know
According to the aforementioned piece that ran in the Japan Times, the surge in demand for dash cams and related equipment in Japan has been so great that one of the largest auto retailers in the world — located in Tokyo’s Koto Ward — has actually set up a special section both in-store and online to sell and install them all. Though the products are priced at an average of $225 — a bit high, comparatively speaking, to what you can get in the United States — they are still selling incredibly well.
Diving deeper into this particular trend, it seems that most people are installing both front and rear dashcams in their vehicles to guarantee that they’re always protected — regardless of the situation they happen to face. Drivers seem particularly interested in not only equipment that features high-definition resolutions and wide-angle images, but in models that automatically activate in response to some type of jolt or other collision, which are particularly popular.
For a bit of additional context, one study estimates that shipments of dashcams by Japan-based manufacturers topped out at about 1.4 million units across all of 2016. Not only is this a massive number by any standards, but it actually represents an increase of about 40 percent in popularity over the previous year. Manufacturers agree that this particular trend began to take shape in and around 2012, and it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down any time soon.
This trend is not one that is merely limited to consumers, however — far from it. In September of 2017, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department even officially acknowledged just what an important role that dashcams can play in today’s world. They installed dashcams on 314 of their patrol motorcycles — a large portion of the fleet that is currently in operation. They also announced plans to equip the remaining cycles in the 900-unit fleet with similar dashcams by as soon as March of 2019.
Likewise, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. (a leading insurance provider in Japan) began actually lending out dashcams to policyholders in April of 2017. To a certain degree, this makes a large amount of financial sense. If dashcams can help avoid accidents or can help settle claims faster, the investment of providing them to drivers for free is far outweighed by the money the company will save in the long run.
When two of the most heavily populated countries on planet Earth both agree that dashcams are incredibly important, it may be time to sit up and pay attention. Though dashcams have been popular in the United States over the course of the last few years, one has to wonder whether we’re on the cusp of a massive trend of our own. Will dashcams become as ubiquitous as Bluetooth technology in next year’s models? Only time will tell.