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Why a dash cam is a good idea (and tips on how to use one)

dashboard camera

Let’s talk about dash cams again. Don’t remember? Last time we explained what a car dashboard camera is, how they work, what features they can have and, most importantly, which ones were worth buying if you were in the market for one. Those of you who are still on the fence about whether it’s worth having one just need to read on. In this article, we’re going to show you a few horror stories in Hong Kong that might help change your mind.

Warning: following some of the links in this blog post will take you to sites hosting footage of some graphic car-related incidents. Discretion is advised.

Tip 1: Avoid misplaced blame for incidents

When the unfortunate happens, the first thing both police and insurance companies want to know is who is to blame. For the police, they’re looking to see if anyone broke the law in causing whatever incident that just occurred. Insurance companies, however, are instead looking to figure out if they’re required to pay out for damages under an insurance policy. But what if you’re not even involved in the first place?

 

This poor driver was almost a victim of a misunderstanding after police pulled him over as a suspect near the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. Whilst driving into the tunnel, the driver was stopped by a blood-soaked expat who looked extremely confused and injured. The man eventually moved, allowing the driver to pass through the tunnel, where he was met by traffic management staff and police.
 
Police then told the man that he was suspected of driving dangerously and causing injury to the man he encountered earlier. What saved him? His dash cam! He was eventually let off after showing authorities the video of him stopping for the already-injured man before entering the tunnel. The expat, who was reportedly from Australia, had allegedly been attacked by assailants prior to stumbling along this busy road.

Tip 2: Avoid being the victim of a scam

In this article, the SCMP reported the story of an old man in Hong Kong who tried to pull a fast one on a driver with a dash cam.

 

The man was walking in front of the car, engaged in a conversation on his mobile phone, while the driver waited for him to pass by. The car edged closer to the man, perhaps in a bid to hurry him up, and the red-haired actor suddenly took a dive worthy of a professional football field! The footage shows the old man was not even touched by the car before he fell, and a passerby can be heard hilariously calling him out for "pretending".

Tip 3: Avoid letting a hit and run offender evade justice

Rugby players are generally pretty sturdy people, however this story certainly put one expat’s resilience to the test. The video in this story was shot by a following driver and shows a drunk driver, after narrowly avoiding a collision with a bus, pulling in front of a motorcyclist in a merging lane and smashing him off his bike. After hitting the wall, the driver then speeds off, leaving this Hong Kong rugby representative to shake it off alone.

 

We know we’ve said it before; never say "sorry" when you’re involved in a traffic incident, but not stopping for someone that’s been injured as a result of something you’re involved in is pretty bad road etiquette (as well as illegal). Luckily, the motorcyclist was eventually sent a copy of the video through his social networks and has worked on getting in touch with the owner of the footage in order to have it used as police evidence.

What you need to know about using your footage

Recording footage while driving is one thing, but knowing when and how you can use it is another. There is very little official information regarding dash cams and their footage, but the Office of the Private Commissioner for Personal Data has published this guidance note that explains where and when an individual’s personal privacy might be in breach by a dash cam footage user.

Essentially, you may use and publish online any footage you have of traffic in semi-public/public places, however publishing anything that identifies private individuals (such as footage of their face, or their car license plate) may be a breach of their privacy. As a general rule, consult the police where and when your footage involves an incident or offence that takes place on the road.

If there’s no offence but you still want to publish footage from your dash cam, then blur out any identifiable faces, license plates and other features to ensure that you’re not later found liable for privacy breaches. Again, check with police or the Commission if you have any concerns about breaching privacy. 

Using your footage as police evidence

When it comes to using dash cam footage as police evidence, you’ll have a much easier time using it if you’re the owner of the footage or have the details of the owner. There have been some instances of people being contacted by police from other members of the public handing in footage of offences, while those who have been suspected as being involved in incidents have used their own footage to clear their names.

Meanwhile, trying to use footage found using social media without the owner’s knowledge is a bit trickier.  As with the above motorcycle collision, police were unable to use the video footage taken without confirmation of the dash cam’s owner. This meant that the victim was forced to use social media again to try and track down the footage owner.

If you’re concerned about how dash cam footage might impact you and your car insurance policy, contact one of our Kwiksure advisors today. We’re pretty supportive of Hong Kong drivers having dash cams for their own safety and security, but we’d like you to be informed in what can happen to you if you do. If you’re not yet insured, call us as well! We’ll be able to find you the right coverage for your budget, and some advice on dash cams too!