Scots drivers back dashboard cameras for new cars

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A MAJORITY of Scottish drivers back dashboard cameras being fitted to new cars as standard, ­according to one of the first polls into the devices.

A SLIM majority of Scottish drivers back dashboard cameras being fitted to all new cars, according a poll for new ITV series Car Crash Britain: Caught on Camera tonight.

A dash-cam image showing a crash in Aberdeenshire

A dash-cam image showing a crash in Aberdeenshire

A total of 44 per cent of those asked supported their installation, while 41 per cent opposed it.

Forward-facing cameras are becoming increasingly popular with motorists to provide evidence for insurance claims.

Last year, taxi drivers were permitted by Edinburgh City Council in install cameras.

However, motoring and safety groups said the benefits had still to be proved - and the cameras could make things worse.

The poll showed stronger support for “dash cams” in the rest of Britain, with 47 per cent backing and 37 per cent opposition overall.

Their popularity was highest among older drivers, with 51 per cent of those 60 and over in favour compared to only 35 per cent of young drivers - 18 to 24-year-olds.

Dash cams also found favour with 49 per cent of men but only 41 per cent of women.

The two-part series, which is also on STV, includes dash cam footage from a lorry which overturned after it collided with a car driven the wrong way down a slip road onto the A90 in Aberdeen.

The 21-year-old car driver was banned from driving for two years and fined £700 in 2011.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “We remain to be convinced that having a dash cam is actually adding to road safety and not encouraging drivers and riders to be more aggressive or over confident.

“Successive surveys show drivers think behaviour on the roads is getting worse despite the ongoing falls in death and injuries, and it is always the fault of ‘other drivers’.

“There is no clear evidence that Scots feel more or less stressed on the road, or why they might be more in favour of dash cams.

“They don’t like to be blamed for things they didn’t do, so many perhaps see it as an easy way to back up a claim if an accident does occur.

“This is the first research of its type I have seen, so its findings are useful.”

Sandy Allan, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Whilst we appreciate technology does improve driver behaviour, it is hard to find evidence to confirm this is the case for dash-mounted cameras.

“There is clear evidence to confirm driver behaviour is improved when an individual is aware they are being monitored.

“This may have a dual effect with on board cameras, both for the user and others who may think they are being monitored.

“Early research, though, into telematic (black box) devices in vehicles, has to date not fully substantiated this with regard to longer-term usage by drivers.”

The poll, among nearly 1,600 people last week, also showed a higher acceptance of speed cameras in Scotland than in the south, which is in line with previous research.

A total of 61 per cent of Scottish drivers thought speed and CCTV cameras made roads safer compared to 48 per cent across Britain.

Support was highest across Britain among 18 to 24-year-olds, at 53 per cent, with cameras backed by 52 per cent of women but only 44 per cent of men.

A total of 40 per cent of men thought there should be fewer cameras compared to 25 per cent of women.