Forget a warning! How Australian drivers could face thousands of fines – just for installing a DASH CAM in their vehicle
- NSW police confiscated a motorcyclist’s helmet camera memory card
- This led to him being charged with over 40 driving violations
- 13 percent of motorists in New South Wales and the ACT have a dashcam
Drivers get dashcams to protect themselves from dangerous drivers by recording what happens in the event of an accident or violation of the law.
But the dashcam also records what the owner is doing and can end up costing them a fortune. The police can confiscate the camera’s memory card and use the images as evidence of dangerous driving.
A young Sydney motorcyclist found this out the hard way – incurred fines totaling more than $75,000 after his helmet camera was seized by police.
Drivers have been informed by police that dashcams (pictured) can be used against the owner, not just other drivers
In addition to his fine, the student driver is also faced with a long period off the road.
In September, officers from the North Sydney Highway Patrol charged the 23-year-old man with “driving at a speed dangerous to the public” and exceeding the speed limit of more than 45 km/h.
He was initially arrested after he was allegedly caught driving at 162 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.
His camera provided evidence of dozens of other cases of dangerous driving.
“At the time of the incident, police noted that the rider was wearing a video camera and was filming his ride,” said a post on the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Facebook page.
“Due to the seriousness of the crime, the police confiscated the memory card from the camera as evidence.”
Peter Khoury of the NRMA said confiscation of cameras will become more common.
“I think there is a good chance it will continue, it will be used more and more,” he told the Daily Mail Australia.
“The most important thing is that you just assume that you are being watched all the time. What we’re seeing here now is that it’s not just other people’s dashcams being used to target bad behavior, but your own as well. [camera].’
He said that what is happening is legal and that the police have every right to do it. “The message to the public should be, be careful.
A police officer (pictured) operates a speed radar in Brisbane. Getting caught speeding could result in a driver’s dashcam being seized for evidence
‘It would turn out’ [the police] use it for the most extreme forms of dangerous behavior and I don’t think the public would have a problem with that.’
A recent NRMA survey of 2,150 drivers across NSW and the ACT found that 13 percent of them have some form of dashcam technology.
“That goes to show that there are more and more pairs of eyes on people while they are driving, so it’s really important that you do the safe and right thing,” said Mr Khoury.
He added that to make full use of dash camera technology for safety, there should also be more police on the roads.
‘[That] is critical because you need the police to stop them to use the dashcam footage… aided by the use of speed cameras and red light cameras.
“You cannot underline the tremendous impact of Highway Patrol and what they are doing to protect people,” said Mr Khoury.
The NSW Highway Patrol seized a dash camera’s memory card and used the footage as evidence of dangerous driving
Analysis by NSW Police of the 23-year-old motorcyclist’s memory card revealed ‘multiple video files depicting the student rider engaging in serious traffic offenses around the Sydney metropolitan area.
“Many of the violations involve driving more than 200 km/h on public roads, including on the wrong side of the road, on hard shoulder and on cycle paths, often in heavy traffic,” the NSW Police Department said.
“As a result of further investigation, the student driver has now been charged with a further 41 (alleged offences) including:
- 14 x Drive at a speed/in a manner that is dangerous to the public
- 15 x Exceeding speed limit above 45 km/h
- 3 x Exceeding speed limit above 30km/h
- 6 x Other traffic violations
- 2 x Offensive Behavior
- 1 x Violation of the Public Health Order
Combined, the fines are over $75,000, but the court will likely give him a bundled fine for a much smaller amount and a driving ban.
The motorcyclist told police he was “on his way to a nearby driving school where he would participate in a program to help him become a safer rider.”