Motoring groups call for legislation on dashcam video sharing

Published 02 June 2017

The AA and the RAC Foundation are calling for a crackdown on dashcam video sharing online. They are warning that new rules may need to be introduced to stop such footage being used for entertainment purposes.

The AA has suggested that motorists who frequently share dash camera videos online could be accused of voyeurism.

Edmund King, the AA president, said, "While most drivers with dashcams fit them to protect themselves from 'crash for cash' fraudsters or dangerous drivers, there is an element of vehicular voyeurism from some individuals."

Why are dashcams needed?

The number of drivers who now use dashcams in their vehicles has risen significantly over the last few years, partially down to some insurers now offering discounts to motorists who use a dash camera. Whether it's an incident involving cars, bicycles, motorbikes, pedestrians or lorries - all drivers at some point or another will likely be involved in, or see, an accident.

Dashcams can be used as evidence for police and insurance companies in situations ranging from theft to collisions and damage to vehicles or property.

What's the problem?

Put simply, dashcams record everything. Which is exactly what they're supposed to do, but it also means that anything you catch on camera can be uploaded online with the touch of a button.

And therein lies the problem according to some motoring groups. Incidents of road rage and severe accidents make up a large proportion of the most popular dashcam videos available on social media and sharing sites, like Youtube and Facebook.

Isn't it just a harmless video?

Unsurprisingly, the uploading of dashcam footage online, especially clips involving dangerous driving and collisions, has skyrocketed. Social media sites have become flooded with dashcam videos, making them much more accessible to share.

Viral videos of unsuspecting motorists are often spread all over social media platforms, with commentors making snap judgements about who's in the right or wrong, and details like licence plates and driver's faces are often not hidden.

Clips like this often go 'viral' online

Incidents like these are frequent and often the footage is shared as reminder to all road users to be careful. However, the cyclist in the video clip above was likely shaken by the incident and consent isn't needed by either party to share it online.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "We back the use of dashcams to help end the hundreds of daily he-said, she-said insurance disputes. However there is a fine line between being a concerned citizen and a voyeuristic busy-body more interested in getting social media hits than making our roads safer."


shauncwalsh    on 2 June 2017

Under UK law, if you are in a public place then there is no expectation of privacy. Anyone can photograph or video you and do with it whatever they wish.

anogginthenog    on 2 June 2017

Well said, shauncwalsh. So many people don't know this, including all those who think that a photographer needs permission to take their picture or to photograph a building or other public place. (There are a few exceptions relating to security-sensitive installations). Even many a police officer is not aware of this law. The RAC ought to know better.

Richard Tanner    on 5 June 2017

Quite right too. It is an appalling situation that allows anyone to put online videos of utter fools doing what they do best, behaving stupidly.

I would suggest that the AA and the RAC would be better employed in concentrating on matters directly affecting motorists, pot holes and speed restrictions set to trap motorists come to mind.

uptodat    on 5 June 2017

There could be a road safety benefit if Chief Police Officers and Insurance Industry cooperated to create a platform for uploads with a form indicating willingness to give evidence, inclusion of registration marks, to be submitted within a short time frame of an incident. This shouldn't be a video entertainment channel but could offer a means of police pursuing particularly bad cases, and giving insurers evidence to better assess risk factors of those they cover. In the absence of actual police traffic law enforcement, a warning letter from insurers to drivers noting x sightings of eg mobile phone use, red light jumping, unreported vehicle mods etc etc followed by increased premiums or refused cover, mind concentrate minds of the dangerous and anti-social road users instead of clobbering all with hikes in premiums. It would probably offer crime intelligence opportunities and anti terrorist possibilities too. As it is, offering dashcam footage of serious offending to police is often met by ignorance or indifference and is likely to be a waste of time. Appeals for dashcam footage following major incidents are becoming the norm so police must have developed ways of processing digital uploads for evidence. If they could be bothered or had the resources to use it for road safety law enforcement it would offer an outlet for drivers who frequently witness outrageously bad driving and have the time and inclination to do something about it.

rickenbacker_al    on 5 June 2017

Never read anything so stupid as this item. If social media hits are the price we have to pay for the highlighting of idiot road users (whether cyclists or drivers) then as far as I'm concerned that's worthwhile.

Dave Sheffield    on 5 June 2017

If you can shame or pinpoint a dangerous or inconsiderate driver that's all to the good as far as I'm concerned. Three I've witnessed within a mile of my address this weekend all alone. One involved me as I started to reverse into a parking slot outside my home, the usual idiots car a VW Golf with blacked out windows front and rear, (Illegal for a start), drove onto the opposite pavement to get round me. If he had caused a accident I had it p camera, but could I have took it to my local Nick and ask them to investigate, I doubt it very much

Tony Mahon    on 5 June 2017

North Wales Police are appealing for dashcam footage to support road policing. I am sure that I have read that Dashcam manufactures
" Nextbase " are creating a site that will allow footage to be sent to them for forwarding to the appropriate police.

You will see that ,in the NW videos , somebody has obscured the car registrations.

Link Below

JWuh    on 5 June 2017

What makes 'the roads safer' is the fear of being an aggressive driver caught being a numpty on a dashcam and having it shared!! The same reason most people don't want to get involved in a fight... Or drunken criminal activity... Or robbing a bank...

It's surveillance...

Max105    on 5 June 2017

Yes, there are plenty of 'numptys', including the cyclist in the 'badwolf1973' video. Anybody could see a mile ahead that this elderley woman was at least highly likely to pull out into the cycle lane, and yet he continued to ride on at full tilt just to prove a pathetic point. Yes, she was in the wrong and made a mistake. There is no such thing as a driver or cyclist who does not make a mistake, only those that are convinced they never do, and posting a video like this is pure bullish 'I was in the right' mentality. Good for you mate. Makes you look like a really big man... NOT. For God's sake be the bigger man and show some tolerance. There is little enough out there, especially on the road. No need to make it worse than it already is.

JJFranco    on 6 June 2017

Under UK law, if you are in a public place then there is no expectation of privacy. Anyone can photograph or video you and do with it whatever they wish.

Absolutely right! That's exactly the reply that I was going to leave after reading the 'could be this...... could be that......' nonsense above.
Maybe new legislation is required, but that is the law at present.

Colin Paterson    on 8 June 2017

Video footage (wherever filmed) is increasingly commonplace and part of modern life. The authorities use video prolifically (police, local authorities, road transport agencies etc - much of the content of this is used often to "entertain us" in broadcast TV programmes) and publically filmed footage from a phone or other digital recording device is now the most immediate way that news stories (sadly normally terrorist or sensationalist) events get to the mainstream media and is shared with others.

Dashcams are just another specific application/extension of the video society - and whilst everything typically has pros and cons, the ability to provide evidence is powerful - there are some pretty awful/thoughtless/selfish/ignorant road users out there and this can help to moderate unreasonable, dangerous or illegal behaviour. Posting online for social media "gratification" can be a bit daft, and best to make people anonymous ideally, but the "naming and shaming" ethos can really embarrass people into thinking about their behaviour and actions, and help to improve respect for other road users and general adherence to sensible traffic and road-use laws.

It's modern life! Accept it and try to behave sensibly!

conman    on 10 June 2017

What annoys me about the police is, if I have a recording of a dangerous driver, ie going through the lights on red narrowly missing wiping out a car with a mother and baby in it there is no way to report the footage. But if there had been an accident the Police then put up signs asking for witnesses to come forward. Why wait for an accident get these dangerous drivers off the road before they have one.

Come on AA and RAC, with the government trying to reduce the speed limit to 60 mph on motorways, reducing normal road speed limits to ridiculous levels all in the name of safety, it seems funny that at the same time they have bumped up the fines for speeding. with traffic chaos reaching epidemic proportions. pollution reaching epidemic proportions and you talk about dashcams.

As people are now changing more to petrol has anybody considered as diesels are more economical than petrol (20%) in my case, we will have to import 20% more oil and what brings oil massive diesel powered oil tankers.

Electric cars are the future, NOT they may not use fossil fuel on the road (electricity generated by power stations). but congestion will greatly increase, you will have the choice of using you virtually free car or expensive public transport.

Chris James    on 10 June 2017

Electric cars are the future, NOT they may not use fossil fuel on the road (electricity generated by power stations). but congestion will greatly increase, you will have the choice of using you virtually free car or expensive public transport.

Demand for Electric cars will soon dwindle out when multicar households find out how much it will cost to upgrade their Electrical service head next to the meter. An Electrician friend of mine has just had a quote of £3500 from the regional DNO for them to come out and upgrade a customers' Electrical service head in a Multi Electric Car household because the existing incoming 60 Amp service fuse can't cope with 2 - 3 cars on charge, plus the normal household load, and that is before considering the £1300 cost of installing the outdoor connection points. They have also been told that the DNO have to check that there is the local substation capacity to upgrade their head before work can commence, so there is a small chance that if the upgrade is refused, this family may have bought 3 electric cars, and may end up only having the capability of charging one at a time.

Edited by Chris James on 10/06/2017 at 15:30

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