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Dashboard surveillance - could it stop insurance fraud?

Published by Jennifer on April 16, 2007 7:34 AM

You've seen the commercials - the insurance spokesman describes a staged accident, where a car abruptly pulls in front of another car and immediately brakes - often resulting in a rear-end accident which is almost always the fault of the innocent driver.

These accidents often have high-cost claims (often with faked injuries and extended vehicle damage) and bring increased premiums, which presents problems for both the insurance companies and the insured. It's a crime that's difficult to prove,and one that costs the industry billions of dollars a year in losses, not to mention the increased premiums and hassles for the innocent drivers it affects.
One alternative that could help solve this ever-growing problem is dashboard surveillance cameras. We've seen them on the dashboards of police cruisers for years - they've been too expensive for regular use by the common consumer. Now, as cameras have grown smaller, more efficient and less expensive, dashboard surveillance could become a reality for many concerned drivers. Many new IP cameras, like the Cisco IP Video Camera, make auto surveillance easy by having power sources which cooperate with DC outlets like those in most cars.
So how would it work? Say a driver installs a small IP video camera on their dashboard. While driving on the freeway, another car cuts them off and slams on their brakes. The driver doesn't have time to react and a crash ensues. Normally, the other driver would most likely be the victor in the case, receiving money and free repairs in a settlement. However, in this case, the driver could provide the surveillance footage from their dash-mounted security camera to the insurance company to help establish that the accident was not their fault.
At the moment, dashboard surveillance is still a uncommon feature for the everyday driver. But who knows what surveillance cameras will be like in ten years? Insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers who install the dashboard security cameras. Maybe a landmark case will make them mandatory, or at least an optional feature on many cars straight from the manufacturer. This type of feature is a powerful option for those who want to reduce the occurrence of fraud, and maybe with the help of surveillance, fraud could disappear.