Survey Finds 72% of Aussie Drivers Want Dash Cams to Be Mandatory

April 4, 2019

in

Road Safety

by

Clare Christensen

Almost three quarters of Australian drivers believe dash cams should be mandatory, according to a new survey.

The Smith’s Lawyers survey of 2,000 drivers found 38 per cent (%) believe dash cams should be fitted on all vehicles, while a further 34% think they should be a compulsory feature on all new vehicles.  

Females were slightly more supportive of mandatory dash cams (38% believe all vehicles should have one compared with 34% of males) but men were more inclined to believe they should be installed in new vehicles (37% compared with 34% of female drivers).

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Evidence of Liability

Smith’s Lawyers Principal Greg Smith said the support for mandatory dash cams comes from the belief that the footage captured can protect drivers.

“Dash cams can help when it comes to providing evidence to insurers as to who may be at fault in a crash, but perhaps more importantly, the footage can help in police and legal matters,” Mr Smith said.

“At Smith’s Lawyers, we have used dash cam evidence to help prove liability but this is not always the case. It depends how much of the scene is captured and also if the footage contains any evidence of the lead up to the crash. It’s very much a case by case basis.”

Almost half (45%) of drivers aged 18 to 24 were in favour of mandatory dash cams making them the most supportive age group – but those immediately above (aged 25 to 34) were the most against, with 38% saying no. Older drivers aged 65 and above were the strongest supporters of dash cams being mandatory on all new vehicles (40%).

New South Wales drivers were the biggest supporters, with 39% of respondents saying dash cams should be mandatory on all vehicles. While Queenslanders were the most in favour of new vehicles being fitted out with dash cams (38%), they were also the least inclined to support mandatory dash cams at all, with 31% answering no, compared with Victoria’s 29% and New South Wales’ 28%.

Mr Smith said it would take a legislative change to see more dash cams in market.

“Some new vehicles are being released with a feature that allows side mirrors to record footage, but unless there is a change in law, it is unlikely all manufacturers will begin including dash cams as a regular feature.”

Most Drivers Without a Dash Cam Would Like One

While only 26% of Australian drivers currently own or use a dash cam, another 45% said they would like to, showing overwhelming support for the technology.

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Men were more likely to have a dash cam – three-quarters (75%) of male drivers across Australia said they owned or wanted one, compared with 67% of female drivers. A fifth (20%) of female drivers had no interest in having a dash cam while 16% of males felt the same way.

Almost a third of Queensland drivers own a dash cam (31%), making them the State with the highest dash cam usage. More than a quarter (26%) of New South Wales drivers own one and 22% of Victorian drivers have a dash cam fitted to their vehicle. Of these drivers, it is the older age group which are the most likely to use a dash cam with 31% of drivers aged 65 and above owning one. Those aged 35 to 44 were the least interested with a third (33%) of respondents saying they did not want one.

New South Wales drivers were the most keen to get their hands on a dash cam with nearly half (48%) admitting they would like one. Victorians, meanwhile, were the least interested with 19% of respondents saying they did not want a dash cam.

Need for the Right Motivations

 
Mr Smith said while the demand for dash cams was evident, it was important drivers did not use them for the wrong reasons.

“The concept of using dash cams as a form of vigilante justice where videos are posted online to name and shame people does not help crack down on drivers doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“If, however, the idea of more dash cams leads to safer driving from people who fear they will be caught, then that is a positive thing.”

Mr Smith also warned drivers not to become distracted if they do own one.

“If you’re adjusting the settings and aren’t focused on the road, this could have dire consequences,” he said.

“You could also be charged with driving without due care or driving while not having proper control of the vehicle.

“Those who are planning on using dash cam footage as part of a claim need to ensure it is saved. Dash cams record on a loop so old vision is recorded over with new and cannot be retrieved once this occurs.”

Clare Christensen
Rebecca Earl

Media professional living in Brisbane who has experience as both a journalist and media advisor. Former Media Advisor for RACQ with extensive experience in Queensland road safety matters.

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