Drivers could be in trouble over dashcam placement
THE use of dashboard-mounted video cameras has been growing rapidly across Australia, especially within the Cairns region.
A search on YouTube for "Cairns dashcam" has yielded several videos from all across the region - most commonly from the CBD.
In addition, footage from the Far North that was submitted to popular website dashcam Owners Australia has garnered thousands of views online.
Air Sound and Vision manager Errol O'Rourke said there have been an increase of the number of customers inquiring about dashcams.
"We get 2-3 inquiries a day (about dashcams), compared to one or two a week," Mr O'Rourke said.
Mr O'Rourke noted the majority of customers purchase the devices to capture people not obeying road rules.
RACQ's head of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said drivers have been flocking to purchasing dashcams for "peace of mind".
"If the camera has the right level of features, it can also provide that watchful eye (when the car's unattended)," Mr Spalding said.
However, he warns people to shop around for a decent dashcam, because you "get what you pay for."
"You can get low cost devices for around $50 but you just need to be mindful that you're buying a very basic technology and the vision may not be that valuable."
He recommended people to purchase a dash camera that is "decent, will do its job, reliable and simple to use".
Mr O'Rourke said dashcam prices go from $300 to over a thousand dollars at his store.
Cairns Uber driver Nee Lor is one of many people who have chosen to equip their car with a dashcam.
Instead of buying a discrete camera, Mr Lor uses his mobile phone for the same purpose.
He said it's for his personal protection and safety.
"Sometimes police ask the public for dashcam footage," he said.
"I use my dashcam for public safety."
His camera captured spectacular footage of a crash that happened on Sheridan St and Upward St in 2016.
The video itself has already 48,000 views on YouTube.
While police forces across Australia have praised the technology, there has been cautions issued to drivers over the distractability of such devices.
According to a Department of Transport guideline released in 2011, visual display units cannot be positioned in a way "which adversely affects the driver's field of view."
The guideline also recommend that drivers maintain a field of view of 11 metres and does not state a recommended location for such devices.
A driver found to have a distracting visual display unit can be charged with driving without due care and attention and can be fined up to 20 penalty units, or $2669.
Mr Spalding urged drivers to think about where they place their dashcams.
"It cannot obscure vision," he said.
"The general advice is to fit it up near the mirror so the (camera) has a wide central view of the road ahead and it's not getting in the way of the driver."
The camera's power cable will also need to be placed in a way that won't distract the driver as well.
For more information on the Department of Transport's guideline for VDUs in cars, visit tmr.qld.gov.au.