In many ancient cultures, comets were viewed has harbingers of change – sometimes doom, death and destruction. The year 2013 is being heralded as the year of the comet. Apropos of that, last week a chunk of space debris became one of the largest meteorites to hit the earth in a century. The Internet went viral with scads of amazing video footage from Russia showing the astronomical event. And then someone asked the question: How did Russians have their camcorders readied for an event the came, literally, out of the blue? Well, they didn’t have to. The camcorders are actually dash-cams and they are always on.
Yes, millions of Russian cars have dash-cams. According to the BBC, the cameras are there because of “insurance purposes.” Another website claims their purpose is to stamp out police corruption, while one Russian blogger, who provides some shocking video, calls the cams “Russia’ last hope for civility and survival on the road.”
There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the tripartite rationale of insurance company demands, monitoring police abuse, and increasing highway civility wouldn’t hold in the Untied States. Only the second reason seemingly faces any opposition here as U.S. cops generally don’t like getting filmed (for whatever reason) though the Supreme Court has upheld a citizen’s right to do so. But if the presence of the cams makes drivers more civil, how could the same not be argued for the cops?
Dash-cams in American cars seem to be a matter of not "if" but "when" but the advent of dash-cams would certainly create a number of issues in car wreck litigation. If the video was insurance company mandated, it seems the insurer would contractually demand a right to the video but what other conditions might they try to include concerning the video? Issues of evidentiary admissibility would also have to be handled. However, it would appear that many he said/she said arguments in litigation would give way to the tale the video tells.
Perhaps the ancients were right about comets being the harbingers of the death, doom, and destruction, as dash-cams would spell, to a certain degree, the end of the car wreck case as we now know it.