On Your Side Report: Will a civilian dash cam benefit you? - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

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On Your Side Report: Will a civilian dash cam benefit you?

Civilian Dash Cams, do they benefit you? Source: WDAM Civilian Dash Cams, do they benefit you? Source: WDAM
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

A quick YouTube search for "dash cam" reveals the good, the bad and the ugly "caught on camera."

In a car crash, blame can often come down to finger-pointing.

"It's such a simple solution, a 100 bucks and it records everything, so there's no question then," said Lee Jones, a News Operations Manager.

Video is recorded and stored on a SIM card, other cameras offer cloud storage.

The consumer dash cam craze started in Russia, where auto insurance scams were out of control and drivers wanted to prove they weren't responsible for hit and runs. As an unexpected side effect, the dash cams also started catching other crazy moments. 

A fireball in the sky was caught on dash cam footage. It turned out to be a meteorite hurtling over Russia.
 Now, Americans are catching up with the Russians as demand grows in the states. Best Buy has a number of different dash cams on store shelves.
One maker calls its camera  the "perfect eyewitness." It sells for less than an 150 bucks.

"If I were out in front of the car, the camera would pick that up," said Lt. Bruce Hoffbauer with the Cincinnati police. 

Police say the technology is about the same as what law enforcement officers have been using for years. In an accident, dash cam footage can be an investigative tool for police that could help decide who's at fault, but be cautions.

"We don't want the public to think that that's gonna be there way to enforce the law when they see a violation," said Hoffbauer.

Other drivers might also think dash cam video could be useful to dispute traffic tickets, but on the flip side, if you cause a crash, your footage could be used against you.  

"From an insurance-related standpoint, might be beneficial to have," said Mary Bonelli, and insurance expert. 

Insurance experts say right now there are no insurance companies that offer discounts to consumers with dash cameras, but that could change.

"But as the technology advances and as insurers find a connection between crashes and a reduction in claims' costs, this will be re-visited," said Bonelli.

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