Q. I was recently involved in a no-fault accident but I struggled to prove it to my insurer. Now I am thinking of buying a dashboard camera. Would evidence recorded by it be admissible in court or help to convince insurers?
A. Installing a video camera to record your driving and the movements of other motorists is lawful and is becoming more common. As the camera will be filming incidents on public roads and there is a genuine purpose to having the device, this will outweigh any possible claims that it breaches people’s privacy.
If the camera captures an incident there is nothing in law to prevent this footage being used in either criminal or civil proceedings — as a lawyer, I have been involved in many cases where dashboard camera footage has been used. It can also provide evidence to an insurer in order to settle a claim.
Some insurers even offer a discount to drivers who have fitted cameras. Remember, though, that a video could be used against you if the accident were your fault. Similarly, if you were suspected of a criminal offence, the police could potentially seize the device and copy the footage.
If you decide to invest in one, it is essential that it does not impede your view of the road or distract you in any way. Many are designed to be fixed to the windscreen rather than the dashboard. In this case it should ideally be secured outside the “swept area” (the space reached by the windscreen wipers).
A badly positioned camera would have to be removed before your car could pass the MoT test and could become an issue if you were involved in an accident or stopped by the police for any reason.
Nick Freeman is a solicitor who runs a legal practice in Manchester specialising in road traffic law – read more from Nick here.
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