Dash Cams: Worth the Expense for Private Hire Drivers?

Many great drivers who cover tens of thousands of miles every year will be abiding by the highway code. By doing so, they do not expect to be involved in an accident as they are following all the rules set out. However, if you are a private hire driver, you may still be involved in a collision. Each year thousands of motorists are involved in these incidents across the UK.

Did you know that the number of people being injured or killed has risen by 6% in the last year alone? This is a startling increase when taking all the various factors into account. For this exact reason, it’s even more important that these scenarios are documented in the correct way. This isn’t the only benefit dash cams provide private hire drivers, there are many others. We will cover whether dash cams are worth the expense for private hire drivers below as well as the current law around these devices.

Reduce the cost of your private hire insurance

Although it is not guaranteed, having a dash cam could in fact cut your annual private hire insurance cost by a fair amount. This is because these cameras are able to protect you in the event a third party pursues a false claim against you.

In addition to this, you will be able to provide clear evidence that an accident was not your fault, enabling the insurer to cover any damages that occurred due to the incident taking place. Many insurance companies will be hesitant to pay out for a claim if there isn’t sufficient evidence of who was actually at fault.

This is why you should make sure your PCO insurance policy or private hire insurance provider is aware that you have a dash cam installed within your vehicle. This could also help you get a better deal.

Evidence of the accident/incident

In the event that an accident/incident takes place, it isn’t uncommon to find that each party will see a different side to the story. This is because it is human nature to avoid being in the wrong, even if some drivers falsify the events of the story to clear their name when making a statement to the authorities.

This makes it imperative that all private hire drivers, or any motorist for that matter, always remain honest. If the above does happen, an installed dash cam can prove to the authorities and the insurance firm who was in the right and who was in the wrong with video footage.

Surveillance

Some dash cams have extra capabilities whereby they are able to keep recording video even whilst the car is parked. This feature is often referred to as ‘parking mode’. This is especially handy in the event that a criminal attempts to break into your vehicle, or another car causes accidental damage to your private hire taxi. You will have the necessary video evidence to hand over to the police and the insurance company.

On top of this, you will also be able to capture video footage of distracted or inexperienced drivers that you see roaming the streets and causing problems. This footage can then be handed over to the local authorities for them to deal with this irresponsible behaviour, keeping the roads safer for you, your passengers and any other road users. This should result in fewer accidents taking place and bad drivers being apprehended.

Audio recording

When you’re looking for a new dash cam, you will find that some models even have microphones that can record audio. Private hire drivers may find this particularly useful as they can record any verbal abuse received from customers, this is in addition to video footage. This also works in the opposite way as well, as you will be able to protect yourself against any false claims made against you. Afterall, why would you want to risk your personal or business’ reputation.

What does the law say about dash cams?

In the UK, businesses are legally allowed to use dash cams. However, they must follow strict privacy rules. Dash cams, CCTV or any other surveillance system for that matter will record personal data. Did you know that number plates of privately-owned vehicles are also considered to be personal data? This is because these can be used to identify an individual.

How can taxi drivers using dash cams comply with the law?

To start with, individuals and businesses must familiarise themselves with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) along with the ICO CCTV code of practice. Drivers must be notified that a camera has been installed inside their vehicle. Taxi drivers also have a legal right to privacy just like any other individual.

Alongside this, passengers also have a right to privacy, and they must be informed that a dash cam is being used within the taxi. Signage including the name and contact details of the data controller should be fitted near all vehicle access points.

Where possible, it is better to notify customers that a dash cam is being used during the booking process. Video footage must not be kept for any longer than is deemed necessary, usually a maximum of 28 days, excluding exceptional circumstances such as a criminal investigation or for an insurance claim. Both drivers and passengers have the right to make a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) of their personal data.

Some local authorities will even publish a list of approved dash cam models that can be used inside a private hire vehicle.

It is definitely a worthwhile investment purchasing a dash cam and many private hire drivers may find that this is one of the smartest decisions they have made. Dash cams are relatively inexpensive, they can be installed easily, do not get in the way of your work and provide a great amount of useful functionality.

Audio recording and video surveillance are definitely valuable when dealing with insurance companies and local authorities in the event of an incident or accident taking place. After all, you never know when you will need a dashcam most. However, you must make sure you are following the rules and regulations required of you if you are to make use of this technology.