Even at a quick glance, it’s easy to see that dash cams bring a wide range of different benefits to the table that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. For starters, a lot of insurance companies will give you a discount on your monthly bill just for having one — meaning that sooner rather than later, this is one investment that will more or less pay for itself. If you ever get into a car accident, you won’t have to worry about a “my word versus theirs” scenario unfolding. You, your insurance companies and (in all likelihood) a court of law will know what happened beyond the shadow of a doubt because of the footage that your camera recorded.
But all of this demands the question: Are dash cameras more than just a modern-day convenience? They’re a powerful example of the best that modern technology has to offer, yes. But are they actually making the roads safer for all of us?
One new study aimed to tackle that very question and, regardless of which side of the argument you fall down on, the results will likely surprise you.
Dash Cams and Road Safety: Facts and Figures
According to a recent study reported on by The Sun in the United Kingdom, about one in five motorists now use a dash cam of some kind. When asked why, specifically, someone would make this purchase, most people agree that it is both to “protect themselves and to monitor other drivers on the road.” So are the cameras actually making that big of an impact in a situation where they’ve been deployed with this type of volume? In a word, “yes.” They certainly are.
The same study revealed that the Metropolitan Police force has seen a massive 7% drop in the total number of motor collisions that happen every year. These numbers were obtained from March 2017 to March 2018 and were compared with the same period of time from 2016 to 2017.
To put that into a bit of perspective, that means that about 397 fewer collisions happen every single month now that dash cams are so prominent across the country. Data also revealed a significant reduction in the total number of traffic offenses that were issued during the same period of time, along with the number of fixed penalty notices that were issued, both dropping by an average of 30%.
To break things down a bit further, roughly 60% of all drivers who currently own dash cams say that they’ve recorded at least one dangerous incident over the course of their ownership. Examples of this include but are not limited to things like road traffic accidents, situations where one or more people were engaged in dangerous driving, a car-related crime, some type of anti-social behavior (including on behalf of pedestrians) and more.
But even in such a short amount of time (relatively speaking), the total number of accidents has plummeted dramatically. The key thing to understand, however, is that this has less to do with the dash cams in a literal sense and more to do with the newfound sense of accountability that they bring with them. If you know that a large number of other drivers on the road around you have dash cameras, you’re less likely to engage in unsafe driving practices or participate in “cash for crash” schemes. It’s not because you’re suddenly a better driver — it’s because you know that if you continue to drive like you always have, you’re more likely than ever to get penalized for it. This has created a ripple effect in the best possible way and has, objectively, made the roads safer for everyone — at least in the United Kingdom.
The same study revealed that 80% of people who purchased dash cams said that they offered them valuable peace-of-mind when it came to knowing that even if they were involved in a car accident, they would be protected in a court of law. This study alone helps to prove that from that point of view, an investment in a dash cam is absolutely money well spent.