PHOTO: The proposed legislation would provide an auto insurance premium discount for non-commercial vehicles that have an operating dashboard camera installed. Courtesy of Leopard Store
By Forum Staff
Two members of the State Legislature have developed a bill that will provide an automobile insurance premium discount for non-commercial vehicles that have an operating dashboard camera installed.
State Sen. JosePeralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) said last week that under the bill, mandatory discounts on car insurance would become law. If enacted, Peralta noted, New York would become the first state to require car insurance premium reduction for non-commercial vehicles that have an operating dashcam.
The legislators said that the proposed law was crafted to further promote traffic safety. Peralta said that the devices capture relative footage of the road, and the visual evidence recorded can provide protection for drivers in case of accidents.
“With a dashboard camera installed in your car, you can provide footage in case of hit-and-runs and accidents. You can also fight a ticket, and you can even capture footage of unrelated events as you drive,” he noted.
Additionally, hit-and-run accidents may be caught on tape by other vehicles near the scene of the crime. And dashboard-mounted cameras can also record video involving reckless driving.
“If motorists know fellow drivers have dashcams in their vehicles, they will think about it twice before leaving the scene of an accident or driving recklessly,” Peralta added. “This Independence Day weekend, the American Automobile Association estimates that 43 million Americans will travel. A lot of them will travel by plane and train, but most of them will be on the road traveling by car. It is important we use all the tools available to improve our safety, and road safety in general.”
According to the lawmakers, dashboard cameras can also be used as a tool to combat auto insurance fraud. Reports indicate that insurance premiums are increasing because of fraud schemes that are becoming very common nationwide. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, auto insurance fraud rose approximately 13 percent in 2013 over the prior year.
“The dashboard camera legislation would reduce the auto insurance rates of New Yorkers, which is typically higher than the national average, by 5 percent,” Hyndman said. “Any savings makes a difference for working families paying for car insurance.”
The elected officials’ proposal includes these provisions:
- Requires an insurer to review dashboard camera footage following the submission of a claim, but images are not to be deemed solely dispositive of a claim.
- Insurer may request records relating to the installation of dashboard cameras in a vehicle from the State Department of Motor Vehicles.
- During a safety inspection, a certified inspector shall determine whether a dashboard camera is installed in an automobile.
- Allows the State DMV to promulgate rules and regulations as it relates to the safe use dashboards cameras, including size and location of the devices within vehicles.
In civil and criminal legal proceedings, properly authenticated dashboard footage can be used as evidence.
“We applaud Senator Peralta for continuing to push for ways to deter dangerous driving and hold reckless drivers accountable,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “There’s evidence that motorists drive more safely when their cars have dashboard cameras. If there is collision, a dashboard camera can provide crucial information in the investigation, as was the case after the death of Allison Liao. Dashcam video corrected erroneous reports that the 3-year-old ‘broke away from her grandmother’ in a Queens crosswalk, and helped authorities conclude that the driver was at fault, giving the family some measure of justice.”
The legislators also pointed out that car insurance reductions already apply for motorists who take a defensive driving course, and for drivers who have automatic safety belts and airbags installed in their cars.