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2014-03-07 at NOON

Strong evidence?

This screen capture of a dashboard camera video that showed two trucks nearly involved in a head-on crash on Highway 11 in January. The driver posted the video on YouTube, where it went viral.
Youtube.com
This screen capture of a dashboard camera video that showed two trucks nearly involved in a head-on crash on Highway 11 in January. The driver posted the video on YouTube, where it went viral.
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By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

Despite the popularity of recent dashboard camera videos on social media sites, city police are wary of the usefulness of the devices in personal vehicles.

Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter says the dash cams are useful in police cruisers, but in people's personal vehicles, they're can be just another gadget to distract drivers.

"There are laws that prohibit a screen from being visible to the driver," said Porter.

However, there are camera models that don't have a screen to distract drivers and those are legal.

When it comes to the footage being used to determine who is at fault in a collision, that's a question for the courts, said Porter.

"Evidence is only evidence if a judge says it's evidence," he said.

"We, as police, know that. It's basic police work ... A lot of people I'm sure are going to be coming up with these videos saying 'here you go, this is bulletproof and ironclad and you should be able to get a conviction with it,' but there are a lot of steps that have to be taken before that can be done."

Porter said he expects there will be constitutional questions about proper search and seizure that comes out of the rise in popularity of the cameras.

Dashboard cameras have been popular in Russia and other parts of Europe and Asia for a few years now; the demand in Ontario is still new.

Bruce Stone and his wife each have a dash cam in their vehicles. The Arthur Street Canadian Tire dealer said they decided to get the cameras installed after a few close calls.

They're a new item for the store and Stone said they've sold three or four so far.

"They're just starting to take off and I expect we will sell even more of them," he said, noting the recent media attention on viral videos of collisions and near-collisions on northern highways is likely to increase interest in the product.

Insurance Brokers Association of Northwestern Ontario's past president Jeff Jones said the cameras are helpful in eliminating the guesswork around the circumstances of a collision.

They are especially helpful in insurance fraud investigations, particularly in highly populated areas for incidents when people throw themselves in front of a moving vehicle.

"When involved in an accident, they can clear the air of what really happened," said Jones.

And while he doesn't know of any providers that offer incentives for having a dash cam, Jones said they can save Ontario drivers in the long-term on premiums.

"This can help with price reduction because it eliminates the fraud portion," he said.

In 2010, the Ontario insurance industry spent $1.6 billion on fraud costs, added Jones.

 


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Comments

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rootbear says:
"There are laws that prohibit a screen from being visible to the driver," said Porter. Does this mean my GPS and sattelite radio is a distraction? My main distraction right now are the potholes that are going to get worse over the next few days. I think some people might also get a bad rap for distractions we've had for decades before smart phones...at a very high cost.
3/7/2014 12:51:51 PM
Shane Caker says:
Don't be driving into Minnesota with anything suction cupped to your windshield. State law.
3/7/2014 10:56:30 PM
humnchuck says:
Not sure if they enforce it however. I've had my Sirius radio suction cupped to the windshield for years and they don't seem to care much. Maybe I've just been lucky.
3/8/2014 10:19:05 AM
Enquirer says:
In the interest of public knowledge, I'd like to post and let everyone know that the state of Minnesota has repealed the law for suction cup mounted GPS devices since August 1, 2009 under law HF85/SF323:

"GPS systems can be mounted or located near the bottommost portion of a vehicle's windshield. The only devices currently allowed on the windshield are sun visors, rearview mirrors and electronic toll devices. (Art. 5, Sec. 5)"

Source: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/newlawsart2009-0.asp?yearid=2009&storyid=922
3/8/2014 10:46:11 AM
Shane Caker says:
Thanks for the update.
3/8/2014 5:13:07 PM
spooner19 says:
I think they are a great idea and within a few years most cars will probably come with one.
3/7/2014 2:33:29 PM
NowayJose says:
If it is done properly, cameras installed in vehicles are plug in and play. When the vehicle is started, the unit is powered up, no other actions are required, on behalf of the driver – it records just like the PVR you may have at home. In my case, the units are so small that I forget that they are even there. I have the ability to record anything happening within 360 degrees of my vehicle. I am thankful, so far, that it has never recorded any accidents. This does concern me though - if I “lend” my memory card to the police, will it hamper their ability to charge someone for being distracted? (The Crown may be dismissive). Any ideas?
3/7/2014 3:31:02 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Distracted drivers are a menace. Last week I was following someone who was all over the road... I almost dropped my shaver into my cornflakes(!)
3/7/2014 3:55:22 PM
Eastender says:
Good one, my laugh for the day. (Hope you weren't serious)?
3/7/2014 5:29:46 PM
mystified says:
"Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter says the dash cams are useful in police cruisers, but in people's personal vehicles, they're can be just another gadget to distract drivers."
I call BS on that statement. If the police video can be used as evidence there is absolutely no reason a personal dash cam video wouldn't. I'm by no means a cop hater but the only reason I could see the police not liking the idea of personal dash cams is because it would level the playing field and the police couldn't make up fictitious charges. I will not be putting my GPS away when in a place I'm unfamiliar with and I'm not turning off my radio.
3/7/2014 5:07:27 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Dont road business signs, flashing and rolling banners, emergency lights and sirens, etc. They distracr motorist, too dont hey...and why do people who take pain pills...why do they even have permits to drive...and why do police think drivers are such distractable dummies?
3/7/2014 5:52:56 PM
eddylives says:
If a picture is worth a thousand words.......
A video should be priceless lol.

A video leaves little argue about in most cases.
That may be of concern to anyone trying to hide something and that is the issue for some I guess
3/7/2014 6:02:58 PM
blah blah says:
If cameras were in more cars than not the police would be spending more time in court because of border line tickets. Without a camera, if they say you did it, then you did it. but with cameras...see you in court. Soon we will be getting businesses to take down there signs that are designed to get your attention while you are driving..time to bubble wrap the world.
3/7/2014 11:14:54 PM
gerster says:
We use them in our driver training vehicles. They are dual lens cameras, the memory card goes in at the start of a lesson and the student gets to take them home so they can review the lesson. It's a great teaching tool but also, I run my camera while I am driving and it does not take long to find some driving situations that I can use in the class or if there is an event, I can use the camera for evidence. We love them, parents love them and we will keep using them.
TheDrivingSchool.ca
3/8/2014 12:15:23 AM
dynamiter says:
4FS Mr Porter. We are talking about as you said, about units that are in police cars and have even TV reality shows following/based upon incidents. There is a push even by the president of CPR to have them in the cabs of train engines but are getting grief from the unions and individual liberties spokespeople. I dont look at the lens of my camera when I am recording a video, so what is the problem? Come on Mr Porter, think before you comment - you want access to any cameras that are around when a crime has taken place - why not if somebody has one in their vehicle? It is just another way of determining exactly what has happened. Dont twist it into the police's interpretation of the actions on the video of the Rodney King or the Dziekanski Vancouver airport cases.
3/8/2014 12:48:48 AM
oscarmyerweiner says:
I'd love to see a judge say this video is inadmissible. I don't think he'll have a job for long. In a case of a video how can you argue any case. Your story, his story and the ACTUAL story. Open and shut.
3/8/2014 9:11:58 AM
moi says:
LOL...and I see the comment made by "Duncan S" (S Duncan/ his twin brother or perhaps S Duncan's alter ego?) was removed.
Maybe there's hope for this website after all...
3/8/2014 9:36:29 AM
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