Drivers should always drive as if they are being watched by the police – this is the latest suggestion from the RAC as reportedly scores of dashcam recordings are submitted to police forces on a daily basis.
According to RAC data, as many as 89 dashcam video recordings of alleged motoring offences were submitted to police forces every day in 2019.
A total of 32,370 pieces of footage were received by 24 police forces that accept video evidence of driving offences from members of the public, double the number recorded in the previous year (15,159).
Data from the RAC’s A freedom of information request revealed that a quarter of these (8,148) went on to result in prosecutions.
Police are making it increasingly easy for drivers and other road users to submit camera footage of unsuspecting alleged rule-breakers. Every one of Britain’s 44 forces now accepting dashcam video, a vast majority do this online via their websites.
In 2018, The National Dash Cam Safety Portal, which allows motorists to quickly and securely upload footage of dangerous driving to the relevant police authority, was launched. It is now being used by 33 forces, which have collectively received 21,324 uploads in total since it started.
The greatest number of potentially prosecutable offences in 2019 were submitted to the Met Police, a total of 8,082.
RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams commented: “The advent of dashcams, phones with cameras and helmet cameras have been a game changer as drivers can now easily submit footage to almost every police force.
“As so many drivers and cyclists are now using dashcams and helmet cameras every road user needs to be very conscious that any of their actions that aren’t in accordance with the law could end up with the police.
“Some will inevitably find this out the hard way while others will hopefully become increasingly mindful of it”.
The RAC found that footage submitted to police related to the following offences:
• dangerous driving
• careless driving/driving without due care and attention
• driving too close to cyclists
• contravening red traffic lights
• contravening double white lines
• contravening ‘no entry’ signs
• illegal use of a handheld mobile phone
• evidence of vehicles apparently without MOTs
The Freedom of Information request, submitted by the RAC, shows that one-in-four footage submissions led to a successful prosecution.
“There are no doubt numerous reasons why this figure isn’t higher,” said Williams, “but we suspect it has to do with the recorded evidence not being as conclusive as it needs to be.
“This may be due to the nature of the offence, with certain offences such as double white line, red traffic light and ‘no entry’ contraventions being easier to determine than illegal handheld mobile phone use and careless driving”.
Williams believes it might also be the case that footage filmed on mobile phones is not as comprehensive for officers to work with as video evidence from dashcams and helmet cams, which film live footage continuously when the vehicle is in motion.
Williams continued: “Those choosing to submit mobile phone video, whether as passengers or pedestrians, may well have missed the worst of the alleged offence as they reached to capture it,
“With more and more people getting dashcams the message for 2021 has to be: always drive as if you’re being watched by the police.
“If more drivers who are inclined to break the laws of the road were to think this way, the safer the roads would be for all of us”.