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Looking at the pros & cons of a dash camera in your car

Posted at 5:22 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 07:06:22-04

DETROIT  — Getting around metro Detroit has become a dangerous and sometimes scary commute for some with the amount of road rage on the rise.

So far this year, Michigan State Police say there have been at least 29 shootings on our freeways. At least 16 of those shootings have been linked to road rage.

With so much aggression on the roads, 7 Action News wanted to know if it is worth investing in a dash cam for your car.

"My fear is something happening, and I can’t prove my innocence,” said DeAndra Donaldson of Pontiac.

Donaldson invested in his first dashcam back in 2010 after encountering a few incidents of road rage firsthand.

“I’m at the light, I’m going through my radio looking for a certain station and I looked up to see if the light turned green and when I looked up I noticed that the guy's door was open and when I looked to the side he was at my driver's side door. After that incident when I got home I told my wife, I think I need a dashcam,” said Donaldson.

Since then, he has had some close calls, including a driver who almost merged into his lane without looking on I-75, and a driver going the wrong way on a one-way street.

Donaldson says he got his dash camera, a Rove 2K, on Amazon $100 and it does more than just record.

“It has GPS so where it’s recording, when I go back and look at it from the app it gives me a map of exactly where I’m at, it records my speed, I can put my license plate number in it, it has audio, I love it because it gives me a lot of tools in the event something happens,” said Donaldson.

When shopping on Google, these cameras range anywhere between $50 to $500. While these cameras could help prove your innocence, depending on how you drive, they could hurt you.

“If you are at fault, you know it is going to be a very difficult time, especially now with auto reform, liability exposures increased,” said insurance agent Bryan Ede.

Ede is a Utica-based insurance agent for Michigan Insurance and Financial Services. He is also a former Detroit police officer, specializing in accident reconstruction.

“Real thorough accident reconstruction takes weeks to calculate out, I was trained to try and figure out who ran the stop sign, it takes days of mathematical calculations where this really, you know it is open and shut, who ran the stop sign,” said Ede.

He says the cameras could help vindicate drivers of any wrongdoing, and prove it was another driver and not you who is responsible for a crash. This holds true for getting insurance companies to pay up and any criminal charges you might face after a crash.

If you are at fault, it could cut down on insurance fraud from damages another driver might claim you caused.

The downside, having a camera in your car could prove you were responsible for an accident.

“If you were at fault, that is really going to be detrimental to you, it really makes it an open shut investigation,” said Ede.

Ede says so far he has not seen any claims using dashcam video, but that’s not to say it can’t be used. He also does not see insurance companies lowering premiums, since drivers will likely get used to having the cameras in their cars and go back to bad habits.

Even though dash cameras might not be widely used just yet, that could change in the future.

“I suspect because these cameras are so inexpensive they are just going to become standard equipment at some point,” said John McElroy.

McElroy is an auto industry expert with Autoline.tv.

Tesla and BMW are already building cameras into their cars. McElroy says he sees other car companies following suit.

“I think we are going to see other luxury automakers do it, give it another ten years it will probably be on everything,” said McElroy.

7 Action News did reach out to MSP to see how they feel about the cameras. A spokesperson said they are not for or against them, stating they can be used as a tool in their investigation, but that a full investigation would still be done, saying sometimes even video doesn’t tell the full story.