Dash cams are now commonplace on UK roads.
The small video camera – attached to a car’s dashboard or windscreen – records the road ahead and the footage can often be used as evidence following an accident to prove which party was at fault.
As well as recording footage and other information like speed and location, drivers who use dash cams can also benefit from car insurance discounts of up to 20 per cent.
Now there are calls to make them a legal fixture. New research from GoCompare Car Insurance found that 25 per cent of drivers would like to see dash cams become compulsory in all cars.
And nearly a third – or 32 per cent – of motorists think the cameras should be fitted as standard in every new vehicle.
At the same time, almost half of the drivers surveyed would be happy to have a dash cam installed in their own car.
But a small minority said they wouldn’t have one amid fears they would be ‘watched’ by insurers and that it would be an invasion of privacy.
Other concerns include the potential distraction of a video camera while they are driving and that using a dash cam would be too much hassle.
Some worried road users also fear the camera would provide evidence of their bad driving.
Matt Oliver, spokesman for GoCompare Car Insurance, said: “Dashboard cameras give a driver’s eye view of the road ahead. The footage they record can be valuable to insurers, police and the courts as evidence following an accident.
“In addition to capturing images, many cameras use GPS to record speed and location.”
He added: “Insurers are increasingly aware of the benefits of dash cams, with several offering a discount to drivers who use them.
“Unlike telematics policies, insurers don’t use dash cams to monitor overall driving performance. But footage captured, showing how a crash occurred, could be useful evidence following an accident.
“Clear evidence from a dash cam can benefit both the insurer and the policyholder by helping to speed up claims and deliver a fair outcome. For example, by making it possible to determine the ‘at fault’ driver in an accident. Camera footage may help to reduce the number of knock-for-knock settlements, whereby each insurer pays its own policyholders regardless of liability, which could help drivers protect their no-claims bonus.”
At the moment, only a small number of mainstream insurers offer discounts – of between 10 and 20 per cent – for dash cam users, including Swiftcover, RAC and Axa.
But experts believe that as the cameras become more mainstream, then more insurers would offer the savings.
Mark Moston, owner of Wheel Wizard Stoke, has welcomed the plans to make dash cams compulsory.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Newcastle, said: “I would totally agree with making them compulsory.
“Van drivers in general spend more time on the roads than car drivers do and the amount of stupidity we see on the roads on a daily basis is ridiculous.
“I pay a higher insurance premium simply because I drive a van.
“If something so simple as a dash cam could bring my payments down, I would do it in a heart beat.”