Do You Welcome Or Worry About The Rise In Citizen Video Surveillance On Drivers?


Picture the scene: it’s 5am, you’re on your way to work for an early shift. The visibility is good, the weather fine, and there’s almost no traffic on the roads. Oh, and here comes your favorite roundabout.

You do a quick cop-check – nothing around – then turn off the ESP and flick the car into a cheeky slide. Not a gratuitous smokey lap of the traffic circle, just a little flourish on the exit that didn’t need more than a quarter of a turn of steering to sort out, then carry on up the road at a totally normal speed.

If a cop had seen you he’d almost certainly claim you’d broken some law but there were no police cars around and you’d done your due diligence. You’d made sure there was no one else near other that one car coming from the opposite direction, and it was too far away to be in any danger. But not too far away to record the action on a little gadget on its windshield.

I’ve probably enjoyed hundreds of moments like that in the years since I passed my driving test, but now I think twice. Everywhere I look I see cars fitted with dashcams and I know that the police – at least here in the UK, where I am – are getting bombarded with dashcam submissions from angry drivers, and some of those submissions are leading to prosecutions. It’s not only dashcams we have to worry about either, but smartphones, too.

Related: UK Driver Gets 15 Month Driving Ban After Caught On Video Drifting Around Roundabout

Let’s be clear, some people drive like complete asshats, pulling stupid stunts and driving at crazy speeds that genuinely put other, innocent road users and pedestrians in danger. And we should all be thankful that technology can help remove those idiots from the roads. Idiots like the guy in the UK banned from driving last week for doing endless donuts the wrong way around a roundabout in a residential area in an old Lexus IS. Having video evidence of an accident also makes it easier to prove an insurance case when you’re the innocent party.

But is it a double standard to applaud the use of digital tech in those cases, yet also complain about the threat of having my own driving privileges curtailed for doing something that’s unarguably far less dangerous than lapping a roundabout the wrong way, but still considered by some drivers and the law as undesirable and illegal?

How do you feel about this rise in citizen video surveillance? Do you find it reassuring or do you consider it a threat to your driving liberty? Leave a comment and let us know.


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