Taking a look at the pros and cons of having a dash cam in your car

Our RSA expert looks at the reasons why you should, and why you should not, invest in one

Car dash cam
Car dash cam

The amount of video footage posted on the use of dash cams is truly astonishing.

Some of it is funny, but the majority of what's posted online is pretty terrifying.

The most harrowing involve crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, showing, if it were needed, just how vulnerable and fragile the human body is.

Quite a bit of the footage has to do with Russian drivers.

It is said they began using dash cameras to counter the growing number of 'cash for crash' insurance fraudsters (people jumping on their bonnets and claiming) as well as corrupt police demanding fines for false traffic offences.

On-board cameras are becoming more common in this country.

But should you invest in one to record your journeys?

The upsides for having them could range from helping with insurance claims and providing evidence of illegal driving to making you a more conscientious driver.

To find out what benefits, if any, there are from using a dash camera I spoke with Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs with the AA.

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He told me that they don't encourage their members to use them per se, although they have no objection to their use.

"Where they are useful, though, is in settling liability after the fact. They can be very useful in resolving disputes or establishing exactly how a crash occurred and in reducing fake crashes or insurance scams."

Does video footage of a crash or illegal driving help the gardai with investigations, or in prosecuting a driver?

The Garda press office said that each incident reported to them would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

But they did confirm that it is possible to use dash-cam footage in the event of a serious road traffic incident or collision.

Gardai have appealed for such footage following serious incidents in the past.

From a road safety point of view, it can be beneficial at times, especially in the event of a contested incident or complaint, but a driver shouldn't get distracted by such in-vehicle equipment.

One thing the gardai were at great pains to stress was the need to be mindful of data protection issues if you are thinking of sharing video recorded footage on social media.

"Data protection issues and the right to your good name in particular must be considered when posting footage on open source social media," a Garda press office spokesperson said.

"Posting dash cam footage online is not recommended where a Garda investigation is likely or possible."

He also added that: "Highlighting wrongdoing on behalf of identifiable people, vehicles or organisations can be problematic.

"Some of the footage posted can attract a great deal of negative derogatory comments.

"Posting footage online can also hinder an investigation and possibly a prosecution.

"Our advice to members of the public who have video footage of traffic-related incidents that they want to bring to the gardai's attention is to report it to your local Garda station or use the Traffic Watch lo-call number 1890 205 805 and indicate the fact you have dash cam footage."

While a dash cam is recording the actions of other road users, it also puts you, the driver, in the spotlight.

Because it's recording your driving, it may make you more conscious of your own behaviour.

This in turn forces you to up your own game when it comes to driving safe.

Have you a dash-cam? Have you found it helpful? Tell us at ecunningham@independent.ie

Indo Motoring

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