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Dashcams can be a useful deterrent against theft when you’re away from your vehicle, however, they’re most valuable whilst driving as they can provide essential recordings should you be involved in any kind of incident.
Can dash cam footage be used as evidence? Yes, dash cam footage, along with all other forms of video footage from phones and cameras, can be used as evidence in the UK for accidents or driving offences. Following a loophole found by North Wales Police, dashcam footage can be treated in a similar way to speed camera footage and can be used as the sole piece of evidence where driving laws have been breached.
The head of the Metropolitan Police’s Road and Traffic Policing Unit said that dangerous driving was often pursued with the use of dashcam footage and he gave an example of a driver receiving 8 points on his licence and a £346 fine (source).
In the rest of this guide we’ll share further information about the use of dashcam footage.
National Dashcam Safety Portal
To support the increased use of dashcams, Nextbase (the biggest dashcam manufacturer in the UK) has worked with police forces across the country to set up the National Dash Cam Safety Portal (NDSP). In 2019, footage submitted through the portal helped prosecute more than 1,200 people (source).
The NDSP has been put together with the aim of making the UK’s roads safer and to help to lessen road incidents. Drivers and passengers can submit their video footage through the NDSP regardless of whether it has been filmed on a dash cam, smartphone or any other camera device. The evidence can be filmed in and out of a car, from a window of a building, as long as it shows evidence for a case, it is sufficient.
Even though dash cam footage can work in a victim’s favour, it is also important to know that if a victim posts the dash cam footage on social media it may negatively affect Crown Prosecution Services proceedings. So even though a road incident can be infuriating, in order for the video footage and incident to have a fair trial, it needs to stay off social media.
Can Your Own Dashcam Footage be Used Against You?
Your own dashcam footage can be used against you if it proves that you are in the wrong or you have caused an accident. Just because it belongs to you, that does not make it exempt.
One example of a dashcam being used to convict it’s owner was the case of a cab driver falling asleep at the wheel, the dashcam helped convict the driver of death by dangerous driving.
Can police take your dash cam? Yes, if you refuse to turn over your dashcam footage voluntarily and the Police deem it to be a key piece of evidence, under the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984, the police can seize the footage to be used as evidence or in relation to a driving offence.
What if I delete dash cam footage after being involved in an accident? If dash cam footage is deleted after being involved in an accident, it is a serious criminal offence. A driver should never delete their dash cam footage after being involved in an accident. Even if a driver is in the wrong, they still need to give dash cam footage to the police.
Can Dashcams be Used in Court?
Yes, dash cam footage is often used in court, as it proves who was at fault and you cannot argue against video footage. Dashcams footage, along with other video footage from the roads, has been used to convict motorists in court for several years now. Some examples include drivers causing accidents by tailgating and a cycle cam catching a motorist dangerously passing a cyclist at 90mph.
The use of dashcams in court was previously a cumbersome process that involved interviews and eyewitness accounts that could take a long time to process. However, a new way of working pioneered by North Wales Police (source) used a loop hole to treat dash cam footage in the same way as speed camera footage and it can now be used as the sole evidence to convict.
Can Dashcam Footage be Used for Speeding?
No, there is no evidence of dash cam footage being used to issue general speeding fines as it is difficult to detect on dash cam footage the exact speed a road user is driving at. However, if you are driving dangerously at high speeds, there is a chance that dashcam footage can be used to convict you for dangerous driving.
How to Submit Dashcam Footage to the Police
If you have witnessed an incident and captured it on a recording device such as a dashcam, you can send the footage to your local police force directly, or use the National Dash Cam Safety Portal mentioned earlier which will help direct your report to the correct place.
The NDSP is a very helpful portal for all issues regarding the use of dash cams. If you are unsure of whether you are using your dash cam for the correct purposes and how your dash cam can be used to prevent crime, there is a frequently asked question page which answers commonly asked questions by road users.
The website also has links to police forces and relevant channels, so you know exactly who to contact for further help and who to report incidents to.
In order for dash cam users to be aware of how dash cams are used within law and order, it is important to have sufficient knowledge on how dash cam footage is used within the law and your rights as a dash cam owner.
The purpose of a dash cam is to record road crime, to protect yourself and others and to help ensure that justice is served.