Dash cams to become mandatory?

Dash cameras are changing the way we think about driving, with the rise of these popular devices not just offering entertaining viewing, but also changing car insurance rates and crash records, too.

So, could it soon be compulsory to have a dash cam fitted in your car? Unsurprisingly, dash cam manufacturer Navman is keen for that to happen – and the company’s local chief, Wendy Hammond, says there are high-ranking police who think it should be law, too.

“As a dash cam manufacturer, of course we’d love to see our products mandated in Australian cars or at least become mainstream, and things are heading that way,” said Ms Hammond.

“Unless it’s a serious accident, police will not get involved to find cause, so it’s often a case of one driver’s word against another, unless there is evidence,” she said.

Navman says it has been working with car insurance companies to crunch the data on crash cameras, and according to Budget Direct there have been about 40 per cent of claims submitted with dash cam footage, said Ms Hammond.

In some countries – such as Japan – there are mandates for in-car cameras to be fitted in order for your car to be eligible for insurance cover.

“One of the questions you get asked when applying for insurance is if you have a cam and that will affect your premium,” said Ms Hammond.

“I’m not aware of any [Australian] insurance companies trying to make this a law, but it would be great to see them offer discounts on car insurance policies especially for people who have a SmartBox-enabled parking mode. That way if another driver crashes into them and leaves the scene, the footage will be recorded and available for insurers to pursue to recover costs.”

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) spokesperson Lenore Fletcher told CarsGuide there is no push to legally mandate the fitment of dash cams in cars in Australia. Further, Ms Fletcher said the industry would have some concerns over incorrectly fitted cameras potentially becoming projectiles in the event of an accident. 

Some car manufacturers have taken to offering their own factory-fit dash camera solutions. BMW has a downloadable dash cam system for a number of its models, while you can use the Sentry Mode on Teslas to record moments, too. Citroen also had an optional dash cam for the C3 when it launched, but that option was axed due to low demand.