CAMERAS mounted inside cars are providing vital evidence of collisions and other incidents on the road.
Two Bournemouth entrepreneurs have set up a business to sell the cameras – sometimes called ‘dashcams’ – and say the market is growing.
Andy Crathorne and Ian Bellamy have set up the Car Camera Shop as an online business while keeping their day jobs.
“The benefits are huge for the cost of them,” said Andy.
“It’s something we looked at and it seems it’s a growing market.”
Such cameras are commonplace in countries such as South Africa and Russia – where several of them captured spectacular images of a meteorite last year.
Andy had cause to use one for evidence last year, when he was driving behind a council van and a car that were involved in a collision on the Wessex Way. He was able to pull over and offer his footage.
“If people have an accident or someone crashes into them, they want the piece of mind of knowing whose fault it was,” said Andy.
“A lot of insurance claims are put down as 50-50.
“Everyone loses their no claims bonus then.”
Despite the ‘dashcam’ name, the cameras more often sit behind the rear view mirror and are attached via suction pads like a satnav or mobile phone cradle.
They can switch on automatically when the car gets going and have a “leap record” system so that when the memory is full, the camera starts recording over the oldest footage.
Many of the cameras include ‘G-shock’ technology which detects sudden movement. This means the camera comes to life if something happens to the car when it is unattended.
“Ian was parked in a car park when someone drove into his car and drove off.
“That’s all on camera,” said Andy.
He said people are impressed when they see the camera for the first time.
“People don’t know they even exist.
“When they find out about them, they think it’s fantastic,” he said.
The cameras can also help combat insurance fraud, such as the scams which involve deliberately causing an accident.
“Two out of seven insurance claims are fraudulent,” said Andy.
Camera systems start at £75 and go up to around £370. The price varies according to the quality and whether the system includes one or two cameras.
Andy and Ian sell the cameras via their website – carcamerashop.co.uk – a site which they believe is already ahead of the competition. Rather than invest a lot of money in stock, they get items quickly from supplier to customer.
“They are an excellent product,” said Andy.
“We’re growing naturally as the market grows.”