Fifth of drivers use a dashcam; half planning to do so AA research shows

Fifth of drivers use a dashcam; half planning to do so AA research shows

Posted 18 July, 2018 at 05:52

Author Mark Bradshaw on behalf of Pronounce Concierge Service

  • Dashcams use risen from 1% to 20% in five years
  • Quarter of users fear ‘cash for crash’ fraudsters
  • North Wales Police ‘Operation Snap’ – over 200 dashcam cases
  • Dashcam provides ‘proper and reliable’ evidence for police and insurers
  • New national dashcam safety portal launched

More than two thirds of cars in the UK are likely to be equipped with dashcams over coming months with a fifth (20%) of drivers already owning one while another half (51%) thinking about doing so, 16% seriously, according to an AA-Populus study.*

This comes at a time when North Wales Police, the first UK force to provide an online means for drivers to submit dashcam evidence of driving offences, has revealed that since launch of its ‘Operation Snap’ initiative in 2016, 205 offences recorded by dashcam have been processed.**

Of those, 28 resulted in a fixed penalty; 86 drivers have attended a driver retraining course and 38 have been prosecuted.

In addition, the UK’s leading manufacturer of dashcams, Nextbase, this month launched the National Dashcam Safety Portal to allow drivers in England and Wales to directly share footage with relevant police forces.

However, only 2% of drivers say their prime reason for installing a dashcam is to record evidence of bad driving. Nevertheless, the success of the North Wales Police initiative suggests that if drivers happen to record a motoring offence, they are prepared to submit that evidence.

The chief reason for dashcam ownership is concern about establishing liability in the event of a crash, with 60% of dash-cam users seeing them as an insurance shield.

Another quarter (25%) say their greatest concern is to protect themselves against cash-for-crash fraudsters.

AA research into dashcams and the reasons why drivers are fitting them shows that the number of AA Members using them has risen from just 1% five years ago to 20% in 2018. And, with half (51%) of 21,341 drivers* overall saying they are interested in buying one, their use continues to grow quickly.

Evidence recorded on dash-cams is used not just by insurers but by police as well.

The success of ‘Operation SNAP’ has seen the initiative extended to the whole of Wales, while the Nextbase portal has extended the principle nationally. Forces across the country are adopting the Portal which streamlines the provision of this content to the relevant police force through a secure online platform. All UK police forces will use available dashcam evidence to establish events leading to road traffic collisions, but until now there has been no central means of uploading dashcam footage for evidential reasons.

Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance says: “Data is king in the event of a collision and dashcam footage provides proper, reliable evidence that can establish fault. What’s more, it can and, based on the Operation Snap evidence does, lead to prosecution of dangerous drivers.

“While we are all familiar with dashcam footage loaded on to social media, only 2% of AA members said that this was their motivation. Overwhelmingly, drivers say their key reason for using one is to provide evidence in the event of a collision (60% overall), thus protecting their insurance.

“Another quarter (25%) said that their dashcam was to protect themselves in the event of a ‘cash for crash’ scam attempt, rising to 29% in the West Midlands. Indeed, several insurance fraudsters have been brought to book thanks to camera evidence.”

While only 5% of drivers said their prime reason for fitting a dashcam was to reduce their car insurance premium, they overwhelmingly see dashcams as a way to reduce insurance costs in the event of a no-fault collision.

Key findings

Who uses or is thinking about using a dashcam?

Have one:

  • 20% overall (24% men; 10% women)

Thinking of one (net)

  • 51% overall (51% men; 48% women)

Of which, those seriously thinking of one

  • 16% (17% men; 13% women)


The lowest use of dashcams is in London; the greatest in North East England. Of those who have one:

  • 14% London
  • 18% South East
  • 18%South West
  • 19% Northern Ireland
  • 19% Scotland
  • 20% East Midlands
  • 20% East Anglia
  • 21% Wales
  • 21% North West England
  • 22% Yorks and Humberside
  • 23% West Midlands
  • 24% North East England

By age

The youngest drivers (aged 17-24) are most likely to have one (23%) followed by those at the opposite end of the age scale, age 65 and over (21%). The pattern of those looking to fit one reduces steadily by age from 58% (17-24) to 49% (65-plus).

Reasons for buying a dashcam

‘To use as evidence to prove fault in a possible collision’ is the overwhelming reason why people have bought one:

  • 60% overall (60% men; 68% women); with similar results across all age groups and regions
  • West Midlands drivers are most likely to be concerned about possible ‘cash for crash’ fraud attempts (29%) compared with 25% overall.
  • Women are also slightly more concerned about potential ‘cash for crash’ attempts (26% saying this compared with 25% of men).

Other reasons for buying a dashcam include:

  • Reduce my insurance premiums (5%);
  • ‘because I like gadgets’ (1%);
  • to record possible thieves or collisions while parked (3%)
  • to record bad behaviour of other drivers and publish online (2%)

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