KSL INVESTIGATES

KSL Investigates: Is it time your car had a camera?

Nov 24, 2021, 10:10 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2021, 9:19 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Getting in a crash is bad enough but getting blamed for a fender bender that wasn’t your fault makes it much worse. It could mean a ticket, a higher insurance premium, or a strong chance of both.

A small device is helping more and more drivers avoid that possibility.

Once seen only in police cruisers, dash cams for the public have surged in popularity. The mini camera records what is happening around your car – a digital witness that doesn’t lie.

Car crashes in Utah

While it is the major wrecks that make the news, the daily fender benders impact many more people and their wallets.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, 51,630 car crashes were reported in 2020. That adds up to an average of 141 crashes every day. Most of last year’s accidents, 35,475, involved property damage only – no injuries. That means insurance claims, which means your rates can go up – especially if you were at fault.

How dash cams cleared two drivers

Julie Dalley was in an accident she swears was not her fault. But you do not have to take her word for it. Her dash cam caught the moment she turned left onto a freeway onramp as another car turned into her path without yielding, and they collided.

“So, when the police officer showed up, we actually showed him the video at the scene and he determined that it was their fault,” Dalley said.
The other driver’s insurance paid to fix her car.

“We didn’t have to pay a deductible and we didn’t have to have any kind of ding on our insurance (by) just showing that we didn’t do anything wrong,” she said.

Dash cams continuously record both video and audio onto memory cards, making the footage easy to share. When the KSL investigators shopped online, we saw options selling for as little as $25 on up to $470.

Bili Romero paid $60 for his.

“The guy in front of me is stalled without no reason,” he said about his experience in a chain reaction crash in Orem.

Romero’s camera was rolling when the car in front of him suddenly stopped. He stopped in time, but the car behind him didn’t. Romero was getting the blame for the accident until his attorney, Todd Livingston, showed the insurance companies the photographic evidence. Livingston told us Romero’s case would have been very difficult to prove without the dash cam.

“You’d have to try and go and talk to the person in front of him, hopefully, get a statement where they say, ‘Yeah, I heard him get hit before he hit me.’” Livingston explained. “But those aren’t always a guarantee either.”

Livingston said he has had to turn away some clients because there just was not enough evidence to back up their story. When there is footage, it speeds up the processes of determining liability and claims significantly.

“So, the dash cam definitely helps all of us,” he said. “Helps the defense side. Helps the plaintiff side. Helps the client, the insurance company, everything.”

The pros and cons of a digital witness

Having a security camera on your home or business can mean discounts on your insurance. The same is not true for a camera in your car, according to Ashlee Tilford with Insurance.com.

“There’s no current direct relationship between having a dash cam and lowering your insurance costs,” she explained.

But there are plenty of indirect ways a dash cam can save you money, Tilford said. The evidence can spare you from rate hikes caused by an accident, and it can get insurance companies to pay up. A dash cam might also vindicate you if you get pulled over.

“And if they accuse you of running a stop sign or a red light and you know that did not happen, you can offer – nicely – to show the law enforcement officer that footage,” said Tilford.

Even if the officer refuses your offer, it is still evidence you can use to fight the ticket in court so it will not hit your record and consequently raise your premium.

Tilford said the dash cam can rescue you if you are the victim of a staged accident in a fraud scheme.

“Where somebody is purposely intentionally staging an accident in order to make an insurance claim, if your dash cam footage caught that, you can actually help to fight that fraud,” she explained.

While a dash cam can exonerate you, it can also work against you.

“If there is an accident and you are at fault, whether it’s your dash cam or someone else’s, they can prove that,” said Tilford.

And a court can compel you to hand over that evidence.

She also believes the camera can be a distraction for some drivers if they fiddle with it or even just look at it while on the road.

Still, Tilford recommends dash cams, as do Romero and Dalley who both say their investment in a camera for their car paid off by moving along justice and their insurance claims, at warp speed.

“I keep telling my friends to get them,” said Dalley. “They’re so affordable.”

Some carmakers already offer built-in dash cams, and Tilford expects more and more models will start to include them.

If you’re in the market for a dash cam, experts tell us price isn’t important as long as the camera captures a clear image.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

KSL’s Matt Gephardt fuels up his minivan to determine how much gas Google Maps’ eco-friendly ro...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Can Google’s eco-friendly routes really save you gas money?

Gas prices have edged down from their record highs, but they are still a far cry from being affordable for many Utah families. So, when Google rolled out a new feature for its Maps navigation app that says it can save you money on gas by using suggested eco-friendly routes, the KSL Investigators decided to put it to the test.
2 days ago
FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
5 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
8 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
9 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
15 days ago
FILE PHOTO...
Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigates: How is Utah’s new self-defense law impacting justice?

Is a new Utah self-defense law improving our justice system or leading to unintended consequences? The KSL Investigators analyzed a full year of cases.
16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
KSL Investigates: Is it time your car had a camera?