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Dashcams can help prevent accidents, UAE experts say

DUBAI // Car dashboard cameras can play a key role in gathering evidence after an accident and help to prevent crashes, experts say.

Open-Eye Security Systems and Installation has joined forces with Dubai Police to launch the region’s first registry of car owners with such cameras. That will allow them to show video footage to the authorities should accidents occur.

Thomas Edelmann, Road Safety UAE’s founder, said the regulated use of dashboard cameras to document accidents and disputes had proved very efficient abroad. That helped to reduce the number of court cases and saved time and money, he said.

“In some cases, even reduced insurance premiums are offered to motorists using dashboard cameras due to the more efficient handling of accident cases and claims,” he said.

Mr Edelmann also pointed out that having a police registry of dashboard camera users would increase the authorities’ reach and improve the police’s reporting system, which uses mobile phones.

Jeremy Pinnington, Open-Eye’s co-founder, said the main concern of most customers was whether the dashboard cameras were legal.

“The simple answer is that they have never not been legal. It’s a camera, same as your phone or what you buy from stores,” he said. “What you do with the footage is where the legality comes into it. You cannot put any of that footage online or social media because it is then a privacy issue.”

Lawyer Yousef Al Bahar agreed that it was not illegal to own dashboard cameras, adding that it would breach the law if the footage was published or used for slander.

“The law states that if anyone infringes someone’s privacy by publishing news, photos, footage, comments or other data about them online, they can face a punishment of imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine ranging between Dh150,000 and Dh500,000,” he said. “And the punishments are more severe if anyone maliciously alters an image or footage of someone already published online.”

Dubai Police said it encouraged residents to submit images of criminal behaviour and traffic infractions using its We Are All Police service.

Residents can sign up to MyID (myid.dubai.gov.ae) and use their personal profile to report traffic offences, which will alert the authorities, along with the location where a complaint was made.

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(via The National)