The obvious answer is that in liability disputes dash cams will provide very strong evidence towards who is at fault for a motor vehicle accident. This can be extremely valuable to a plaintiff who is injured by a defendant that is not telling the truth. It can also be valuable to a defendant who is the victim of a fraudulent lawsuit. Dash cams not only provide evidence towards which vehicle hit which, but they can also provide evidence towards driving conditions and the size of an impact.
That being said, dash cameras have serious limitations. Firstly they generally point in one direction. They also suffer from issues related to quality of picture. In a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case a nearby car was recording. The evidence was used to establish road conditions. However, the video was ruled to have been filmed too far away to be of any use in establishing who was actually at fault for the accident:
A fourth individual, following the defendant’s car at some distance, was taking a video that captured the collision. This video confirms that the driving conditions were quite acceptable. The road was dry, there was little traffic, and the visibility was good. The video also confirmed that the headlights of the plaintiff’s car were on. Unfortunately, the video was taken at such a distance that it cannot be seen where each car was in the seconds immediately before the collision.
What are the downsides of using a dash cam? Well if you are at fault for a car accident, you have a duty to produce the video as evidence. It does not matter that your evidence hurts your case, you have a duty to produce it and deliver it to the other side. Another disadvantage…if you live in Vancouver you are baiting someone to break into your vehicle. Anyone who;s lived in Vancouver long enough unfortunately knows all about this.