A GROWING number of drivers are seeking recorded proof of incidents on the road; using dash-cams and other motoring technology to monitor other vehicles.
A ‘Connected Car’ report from Aviva insurance found that road safety fears and the ‘crash for cash’ culture has led to a shift in drivers’ attitudes towards technology and innovations in motoring – including dashboard cameras, driverless cars, telematics, in-car tech, electric vehicles and motoring apps.
The report found that three quarters of motorists use tech devices to aid their driving. According to the findings, one in five (17per cent) of UK drivers use dash-cams, while a further 30per cent plan to use one in the near future, suggesting that 19 million UK motorists – four in 10 – could be using dash-cams within the next year.
Dash-cams have played a role in a crackdown on dangerous drivers in the district. And the Telegraph & Argus Stop the Danger Driver campaign has prompted readers to send in their footage.
Earlier this summer the T&A reported that 10,000 illegal drivers were caught during Operation Steerside, the ongoing district-wide road safety crackdown by West Yorkshire Police. The crackdown, which began in February 2016, was partly launched on the back of our campaign, set up to highlight poor driving in the district and call for changes to the law.
The 10,000 figure was reached in June after Sergeant Cameron Buchan, the officer leading Operation Steerside, stopped a driver for speeding on Toller Lane. Of the 10,000 offences, most (3,634) were for speeding, with two drivers doing 115mph in a 40mph zone on Canal Road. Of the other offences, 3,557 were for drivers not wearing seatbelts, 807 for mobile phone use, and 796 for insurance breaches.
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On Friday the T&A revealed dramatic footage, captured on a dashboard camera, of the moment a helmetless motorcyclist pulled a wheelie while overtaking traffic. The trials-style bike was seen on Bradford Road at Five Lane Ends with only its rear wheel on the ground overtaking a car while a pillion passenger clings to the rider. Another bike is seen behind, also doing a wheelie.
Sgt Buchan said: “Their actions are putting random innocent motorists at risk. It could have led to an incredibly tragic situation. These people are risking their lives for a moment’s thrill without any forethought.”
The Connected Car study of 2,134 UK motorists found that, of the people planning to invest in a dash-cam, the majority (84per cent) expect to do so within the next year.
Safety is a key consideration for many people who use or plan to use dash-cams, with 42per cent saying they simply “feel safer” using one. The most common motive is a desire for proof of any incidents on the roads – a reason given by 76per cent of motorists who own or intend to own a dash-cam.
A third of motorists say they would use a dash-cam because they’re worried about fraudulent motor claims. This concern is not without foundation: Aviva is currently investigating more than 16,000 suspicious bodily injury claims and declined one in 10 whiplash claims for proven or suspected fraud in 2016.
Almost three quarters of drivers say they use some form of tech device, with the sat-nav system to most popular tool, followed by rear parking sensors, a hands-free phone kit, front parking sensors and a dash-cam.
Younger drivers are more likely to have at least one tech device for their vehicle – 80per cent of drivers aged 17-24 use car-related tech tools, compared to 67per cent of drivers aged 55 and over.
Paul Heybourne, Head of Digital Innovation Operations at Aviva, says: “Technology is helping to make journeys safer, more comfortable and enjoyable. In some cases, devices such as telematics are helping to make motoring cheaper, the prevalence of GPS and navigation in our cars and on our smartphones has made map-reading a thing of the past for many car users, and dash cams are helping drivers feel safer”.
“It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of drivers use in-car gadgets or apps as part of their driving experience and as more innovations become available, either individually or through mobile phones, we can only expect this to grow in future. However, while smartphone driving apps can support safer driving, other phone habits such as messaging and checking social media can be a dangerous distraction. We welcome innovations such as Apple’s ‘Do not disturb while driving’ feature, scheduled for this autumn. It’s vital that motorists think about when and how they use their devices and make sure they only do so when it’s safe and legal.”