Big Brother comes to cars
FRENCH car maker Citroen will today introduce the first car to be sold in Australia with a factory-fitted 'dash cam'.
The first accessory of its type comes as dash cam use has tripled over the past three years.
The built-in camera is a $600 option on the new $26,990 Citroen C3 hatchback.
It is integrated into the rear view mirror and records footage constantly, unless the driver switches it off.
It is also activated by a crash, or owners can capture the last 30 seconds of footage by pressing a button on the mirror.
The footage can also be uploaded to social media via a Citroen smartphone app, once you've stopped driving.
Unfortunately, however, Australia's largest car insurance companies are yet to offer discounts on cars equipped with dash cams.
A statement from Suncorp's group of insurance companies such as AAMI said it has been using dash cam footage for several years to "help determine the person at fault in an accident, and to help track down and recover damages from an at-fault party who drives off".
"In some cases, dash cam footage is more valuable than witness statements, especially if it is clear and captures the direct cause of an accident," said a Suncorp spokesperson.
However there is no insurance premium discount because: "while dash cams assist in identifying the cause of an accident, they don't lessen the risk of accidents occurring, and therefore don't directly impact the insurance premium".
A statement from Insurance Australia Group, which represents NRMA Insurance, SGIO and other insurers said: "We find the most common claim disputes arise in relation to collisions that have occurred at intersections, while changing lanes, colour of lights changing, reversing or when a parked car was hit by an unknown third party".
IAG added: "We do not offer insurance premium discounts to customers who have dashboard cameras installed in their car, however we encourage customers to submit relevant footage of an incident so it can be considered as part of a claim".
The insurer said dash cam footage "can assist us in the claims process by helping to determine liability, however other information such as police reports, witness statements, driver statements and adherence to road rules will also be taken into account when investigating a claim".
Citroen expects about 20 per cent of C3 buyers will opt for the built-in dash cam, however it must be factory fitted and cannot be added later at a dealer because it is integrated into the car's audio system.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling