Police have warned against the use of dashboard-mounted cameras for ‘vigilante’ behaviour, as the technical devices grow in popularity.
‘Dash cams’, as they’re commonly known, are becoming a ‘must have’ for businesses and individuals clocking up copious kilometres each year.
The cameras are seen as a cheap but effective way of capturing evidence in the event of a collision, or a means of providing proof for drivers booked with traffic offences when they believe they are innocent.
Police are not required to attend collisions where no injuries are suffered and no towing is required, and members of the public are no longer required to report such incidents to police in most states.
As such, a dash cam could make all the difference when lodging an insurance claim, particularly if the version of events recorded by each party involved doesn’t stack up.
More upmarket cameras can even capture navigation coordinates and the vehicle’s current speed, and the owner can choose the length of time and quality of the recording depending on available memory.
But a trend has emerged as the cameras grow in popularity which seems them being used more often than not to record poor driving standards.
Such videos are then uploaded to social media or video-sharing platforms on the internet, attracting thousands of views.
And it’s this behaviour police are wary about, warning that the public should not be using dash cams purely to ‘name and shame’ other drivers.
Inspector Simon Humphrey from Victoria’s Road Policing Command said law enforcers would prefer footage of badly behaved drivers be handed to them, rather than posted online, but drivers should be more concerned with their own actions.
"Ideally we'd just prefer if people just concentrated on the road and they weren't distracted with trying to capture footage of other drivers and behaviour generally," Inspector Humphrey said, speaking with the ABC.
"Worry about your own driving - don't engage in vigilante behaviour."
Dash cam footage was used to prosecute a driver in Victoria, who was found guilty of killing three people as the result of a collision in Melbourne’s south-east.
Police themselves have been captured by one of the devices in Sydney’s west, causing a three-car collision on the Great Western Highway (see video below).
While drivers might be preoccupied with recording the poor behaviour of fellow motorists, most dash cams commence and cease recording automatically when a journey begins and ends, and superfluous footage is recorded over on a loop.
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