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drivinggraham bengeopinionroad safetyspeed camerastraffic policing

Are Dash Cams really the future of road safety?

I have been on record for many years denigrating the use of speed cameras as a means of improving driving behaviour. I suggest that only the visual presence of marked police traffic cars really makes drivers adjust the manner of their driving.
Perhaps then it’s time to modify my views as the development of dash cam technology seems to have overtaken my thinking…

Dash cams are everywhere! They are cheap, easy to install and use, and insurance companies seem to like their use.

Now four police areas in Wales are to pilot a scheme which will accept dash cam footage which shows bad driving and will use it in court as the basis of a prosecution.

One of the UK’s most senior traffic cops, Jane Willets, says she broadly supports the initiative and is watching the pilot project with interest. Her view is that, after years of cuts, with only 4000 specially trained traffic cops across the entire UK, the technology may now allow them to use dash cam offerings to prosecute the worst cases and to educate others to drive more safely.

Think about the numbers and you can understand that view. 4000 traffic cops in the UK. That’s just over 1300 per shift, and, given that they are normally rostered in pairs, that’s just 650 cars on the road at any time. Those 650 traffic cars are effectively policing 30 million cars!!!

However, the trial organisers won’t accept just any clips sent to them…

They are well aware of privacy issues so, no anonymous clips. No clips sent to social media or the internet. And anyone taking part must be prepared to be a witness in court.

Perhaps using this technology will help improve driving behaviour, but I would still rather see more police cars on the road. Perhaps then my daily journeys wouldn’t make me witness so much crass, rude and downright dangerous driving.

Graham Benge
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