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Column: Dash cams should be mandatory

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A couple weeks ago, I left St. Anthony to head home to Carbonear for a week-long vacation of rest and relaxation.

But it was hardly restful, and I definitely didn't relax.

During my brief vacation, I was involved in a motor-vehicle collision on the Outer Ring Road in St. John's - which, I'm confident, is the road with the most daily accidents in the province.

After going through the motions of contacting the RNC, my insurance company and many others, as well as dozens of phone calls made and emails sent, I have learned a few things.

The first, my insurance company strongly agrees that Newfoundland and Labrador has a high number of MVA claims. I believe it's because even with most tiny fender benders, people see dollar signs.

Secondly, people seemed to be afraid to come forward to give a statement regarding what they have seen. Without independent witnesses, how does someone confirm who is at fault in an accident, especially when the stories are contradictory?

So I got to thinking: why aren't dash cams provided in every new vehicle on the road?

It would definitely help with insurance premiums, because someone would witness at least part of an accident.

In fact, let's take it a step further. Why doesn't the law require dash cams? Imagine how many false reports, inaccurate accounts and lawsuits could be avoided.

Obviously, there are always genuine people trying to do what's right. But for those instances where someone is just trying to get a payday, these dash cams could provide the evidence required to prevent a wrongful blame being placed on a driver.

How many dash cam videos have been posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and all the other social media sites? How many people could have been almost killed because of someone else's mistake, and no one would be the wiser without some of these recordings?

After 14 years of driving, this was the first accident I've been involved in where I was behind the wheel. This is what made me think how important it would be for the law to require these cameras.

I have a friend who sets up a Go-Pro in the front and back of her vehicle. She's caught someone vandalising her vehicle on the recordings.

That is my next step. I will be getting a Go-Pro or something similar for whenever I am driving, especially on the highway in the province with the heaviest traffic on a regular basis.

And not just for any accident I may be involved in, but in case someone else is involved and needs a reliable witness.

Even if I don't see what happens, unlike people, video footage doesn't lie.

Melissa Jenkins is the editor of the Northern Pen newspaper in St. Anthony. She can be reached at Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

But it was hardly restful, and I definitely didn't relax.

During my brief vacation, I was involved in a motor-vehicle collision on the Outer Ring Road in St. John's - which, I'm confident, is the road with the most daily accidents in the province.

After going through the motions of contacting the RNC, my insurance company and many others, as well as dozens of phone calls made and emails sent, I have learned a few things.

The first, my insurance company strongly agrees that Newfoundland and Labrador has a high number of MVA claims. I believe it's because even with most tiny fender benders, people see dollar signs.

Secondly, people seemed to be afraid to come forward to give a statement regarding what they have seen. Without independent witnesses, how does someone confirm who is at fault in an accident, especially when the stories are contradictory?

So I got to thinking: why aren't dash cams provided in every new vehicle on the road?

It would definitely help with insurance premiums, because someone would witness at least part of an accident.

In fact, let's take it a step further. Why doesn't the law require dash cams? Imagine how many false reports, inaccurate accounts and lawsuits could be avoided.

Obviously, there are always genuine people trying to do what's right. But for those instances where someone is just trying to get a payday, these dash cams could provide the evidence required to prevent a wrongful blame being placed on a driver.

How many dash cam videos have been posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and all the other social media sites? How many people could have been almost killed because of someone else's mistake, and no one would be the wiser without some of these recordings?

After 14 years of driving, this was the first accident I've been involved in where I was behind the wheel. This is what made me think how important it would be for the law to require these cameras.

I have a friend who sets up a Go-Pro in the front and back of her vehicle. She's caught someone vandalising her vehicle on the recordings.

That is my next step. I will be getting a Go-Pro or something similar for whenever I am driving, especially on the highway in the province with the heaviest traffic on a regular basis.

And not just for any accident I may be involved in, but in case someone else is involved and needs a reliable witness.

Even if I don't see what happens, unlike people, video footage doesn't lie.

Melissa Jenkins is the editor of the Northern Pen newspaper in St. Anthony. She can be reached at Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

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