You’ve seen the videos of the crazy and scary car accidents captured on dashboard cameras, also known as “dash cams.”
The technology is getting cheaper all the time. So should you get one to protect yourself in case of a crash?
As prices of the cameras fall, companies are beginning to market them as a must for your protection.
We asked a lawyer if it’s a good idea. “This isn't something I would tell people to run out and you absolutely need something like this,” says attorney Russ Richelsoph.
Lawyers say if you do get in a wreck and it's the other guy's fault, a dash cam can prove that. But if you break the rules and cause the crash, your dash cam can also be used against you.
“You can't just selectively delete the video because it's not in your favor. Once there's a recording and you destroy it, you're destroying evidence in a case.”
But, he points out, dash cams can really help Uber and Lyft drivers.
“You want to have a camera that not only faces out, but also faces inside the vehicle so you can capture if something happens,” he says.
It was an Uber driver who captured the video that showed a Valley driver getting confused and winding up on the light rail tracks. But even that was mostly just good YouTube fodder.
AAA Insurance says there's no dash-cam cost savings.
Insurance fraud scams, while common in places like Russia, are unusual here.
“Cameras in personal cars? It’s a nice thing to have, a lot of fun, but we really see more advantage in a commercial vehicle,” says Bradley Oltmans of AAA. “There are a lot of people who will run into a commercial vehicle with a big brand on the side.”
So the experts say, keep having fun. But don’t expect your dash cam to save the day.
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