SALES OF dash cams have boomed yet despite the popularity of the in-car video cameras, that record a vehicle’s surroundings, most drivers who film a crash or dangerous driving find it difficult to submit footage to police forces.
Now a leading dash cam is taking matters into its own hands, forming a national portal through which drivers can easily submit footage to police forces.
Nextbase, a Surrey-based company that dominates dash cam sales, is working with police chiefs in England and Wales to launch the Nextbase National Dash Cam Safety Portal, which will allow owners of any make of dash cam to upload footage of accidents or dangerous driving for police forces to assess.
Footage would be accompanied by details of when and where any alleged offence took place and a witness statement. Police officers would then determine whether further action should be taken, including issuing a fixed penalty notice fine – which could be accepted or contested in court.
To date, the only similar system for submitting dash cam footage was Operation Snap, an initiative run by North Wales Police.
Since it was introduced, in late 2016, the force has prosecuted hundreds of drivers based on evidence from dash cam video
A coordinated project run across England and Wales would provide drivers with an easy way to submit footage in the event of an accident or having witnessed dangerous driving or experienced road rage. And it would reduce the time it takes police to download and assess dash cam video.
Currently, outside of North Wales, few police forces have a website that allows motorists to share such footage. It means drivers make contact by phone, email or using social media.
Tim Shallcross, Head of Technical Policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) describes the current approach as chaotic and confusing: “If I’m in Norfolk, I’ve got to ring them up; if I’m Suffolk I’ve got to do it over the Internet; if I’m in London, I’ve got to go in, in person. So no one will know what to do and nobody knows what jurisdiction they’re in, anyway,” Shallcross told Driving.co.uk.
The Nextbase National Dash Cam Safety Portal would be free to use, according to Bryn Brooker, head of marketing for Nextbase. “We understand the restrictions in terms of cost and time of the police developing a platform themselves, so it was an easy decision for us to take the initiative,” he said, while attending the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, where police chiefs were introduced to the new safety portal.
A spokesman for Nextbase told Driving.co.uk that the company would announce final details of the project by the end of the month.