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Australia urged to go dash-cam mad

Seeing is believing: vehicle safety expert Shane Richardson wants Australian drivers to head down Russia’s road and install dash-cams in vehicles.

Safety expert urges Aussie drivers to keep a camera pointed at the road.

General News logo12 Aug 2013

EACH week brings the world a fresh batch of grainy Russian dash-cam videos showing drivers breaking the law – or their cars – in painful detail.

Now an Australian safety expert is encouraging Australian drivers to do the same.

Shane Richardson, the forensic engineering-based managing director of road safety consultancy Delta-V Experts, wants Australian drivers to think about adding dash-cams to their cars to help insurance companies and police correctly point the finger of blame.

He said this would help supplement information automatically gathered by a car in a crash.

“Foremost to every vehicle at the moment, if you’ve got an airbag in the vehicle, there’s a control module,” Dr Richardson told a Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia road safety conference in Melbourne last week .

“Now that control module, because of some legislation in the US, is now able to be interrogated in some cars. So you can now look at the last five seconds of what was happening before that airbag has deployed,” he said.

Dr Richardson said all insurance companies had to do to extract information from the car was to buy a translator box that plugged into the car’s onboard diagnostics port – or cut into the car and extract the module.

“You can extract some really good information about what the vehicle was doing,” Dr Richardson said.

This included longitudinal acceleration, and longitudinal and lateral speeds.

“You can tell a lot of information about how a vehicle has crashed,” he said.

“What could you personally do? You may have seen lots of Russian video recorders in cars – there are lots of them out there, and there are lots of people who have access to them and could fit them.” He showed an example of video of an incident caught on another vehicle’s dash-cam in which the driver who crashed claimed he was travelling at a much lower speed than the video showed – 90km/h versus an indicated 118km/h in a 100km/h zone shortly before the crash occurred.

“For your own peace of mind, please consider getting, or at least fitting, something to your vehicle (that records video).

“For nothing else it is worthwhile in terms of reconstructing and analysing (a collision) from the additional information (from the video) that’s kept there.

“Police and other people that work in this area are using sources from CCT (closed-circuit television) cameras.

“I would encourage you to consider one, that in your vehicle if you have a good airbag control module, it is likely that someone can extract that information and work out what caused that airbag’s deployment – so big brother can monitor you for that.

“But I don’t think we should shy away from that ... but be aware that you can be interrogated for what speed you were doing – and I would encourage you to put an event-recording camera in your vehicle,” Dr Richardson said.

“They are really useful in saying here’s what happened in the crash – don’t write the story, have a look, here’s the video of the crash that occurred.”

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