By Henry Leung
#BLACKLIVESMATTER Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the movement and the protests. The movement was started because black men were killed daily in the US at the hands of over zealous white police officers. Last week, 43 year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death by police officers in Charlotte, NC. While the police claimed innocence, the dashcam video released on Saturday clearly shows that police shot an unarmed man. It doesn’t help that the shots were fired by a police officer not wearing a body camera. Dashcams are making police think twice before they shoot more people.
Dashcams are the cheapest protection you will ever buy. Compared to all the other safety items in cars like airbags, traction control etc, they cost an insignificant amount. They should be required in cars because of how much detail they can capture. So what will dashcams protect you from?
I was involved in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago. A car cut me off, forcing me to brake so hard that I locked my front brakes and crashed. The driver either didn’t know or didn’t care, and drove away. Fortunately, my friend was driving right behind and called an ambulance within seconds of my crash. Unfortunately, neither of us saw the plate of the other car, so they were able to get away without taking any responsibility.
A dashcam would have allowed us to find the driver (from the plate) and also would have also given clear footage of what caused the crash.
You’ve probably seen Asian dashcam videos where idiots roll onto stopped cars and then lay still, claiming injury, only to be chased off by the driver pointing at the camera. To a lesser degree, the same things happen every day. My friend had a low-speed accident with another car in a parking lot, and the other driver claimed back pain and significant damage to their car. If a dashcam was used, it would have been obvious that there was existing damage on the other drivers car and that the driver was not injured. Unfortunately for my friend, there was no dashcam, and the insurance company held her fully responsible.
I was 16 when my dad handed me the keys to the family car. It was a Chevrolet Celebrity, one of the worst cars GM has ever made with an anemic 2.5L, 4 cylinder engine making 100HP in a heavy car. Being male, and 16, the first thing I did was drag race the car in the middle of the day on a public road against my friend’s Volvo 240. I won, after I made a crazy left turn while running a red light. If my dad had known what I had done, I would probably have lost driving privileges or my life.
Dashcams allow you to trust people. Not because they are trustworthy or responsible, but because as per the business matra “what gets measured, gets done”, the dashcam is the nanny or big brother that monitors and makes people responsible.
Crash videos are all over the internet, mostly captured by dashcams. If you capture a nice one and post it on Youtube, you could make some decent money. There’s other more creative uses. I once followed my boss in my own car, while he drove his BMW M5. He probably was going over double the posted speed limit; having possession of a video like this would have made my next performance review easier.
So there you have it. Insurance Fraud, accidents, Safety and entertainment are why every car should have a dashcam.