Police to analyse dashcam footage in road rage crackdown
A new police unit is to be set up to analyse driver dashcam footage as part of government plans to combat road rage and improve road safety.
The Department for Transport has proposed a total of 50 new initiatives as part of the two-year plan, which will particularly focus on the safety of vulnerable road users.
The new back-office police unit would build on the success of the Operation Snap programme first piloted by North Wales Police in 2016 and would allow police to handle video and photographic evidence submitted via dashcams.
Other planned measures, which build on feedback received from the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review call for evidence, include:
- Providing councils with powers to tackle dangerous parking in mandatory cycle lanes;
- A review of guidance in the Highway Code to improve safety for vulnerable road users;
- Exploring whether insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers and motorcyclists who have passed Bikeability training,
- Looking into incentives for courier drivers who undergo training to learn how to drive safely alongside cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders;
- The appointment of a new Cycling and Walking Champion to raise the profile of Active Travel;
- Encouragement for local authorities to increase investment in cycling and walking infrastructure to 15% of total transport infrastructure spending; and
- Work with key cycling and walking organisations to develop a behaviour change campaign alongside the action plan.
Cycling and Walking Minister Jesse Norman said: “Greater road safety— and especially the protection of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – is essential.
“We want to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost our high streets and economic productivity.
“That means more support for cycling and walking, and that’s why these new measures are designed to deliver.”
The dashcam and cycling-related initiatives have been welcomed by the AA.
Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance, said: “Data is king in the event of a collision and dashcam footage provides proper, reliable evidence that can establish fault. What’s more, it can and, based on the Operation Snap evidence does, lead to prosecution of dangerous drivers.
“So government funding to enable police to analyse dashcam evidence submitted by the public, whether from dash-cams, cyclists’ helmet-cams or smartphone footage, is to be welcomed as it helps to improve road safety and the North Wales police initiative suggests that it does.
“Similarly, dash-cam evidence submitted to insurance companies can be decisive in ensuring that fault can be properly attributed where otherwise, circumstantial evidence and witness statements may suggest a different outcome.
On the Bikeability training suggestion, Conner added: “Clearly any initiatives that improve road safety are welcome. The suggestion that cycle Bikeability training of drivers could offer an opportunity to discount car insurance is interesting and we need to study the detail to see whether it would have any meaningful impact on premiums. According to ABI figures, fewer than 0.1 motor claims involved cyclists last year. Car insurance is based the evidence of claims risk based on driving behaviours.”
She added: “If as a result of increased dashcam use and better cycle awareness fewer claims are made, then premiums for everyone will come down.”