Damned by the dashcam: A horror video around every bend

26 June 2016 - 02:00 By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER

Road hogs are being named and shamed as more people use dashboard cameras and social media to expose reckless drivers.As the popularity of dashcams grows, road safety campaign Arrive Alive is being inundated with evidence of dangerous driving behaviour, mainly by truckers and bus drivers.Arrive Alive lawyer Johan Jonck said footage that went viral was being used by some road freight and bus companies to discipline drivers who endangered other travellers."It is fast increasing in popularity - the feedback that we receive from providers and importers of these devices is that there has been significant increase in demand.story_article_left1"Social media has definitely contributed to the increase in demand," said Jonck.TV and radio personality Mark Pilgrim regularly posts screen shots of footage from his dashcam to Twitter.Pilgrim recently posted between 10 and 12 incidents of road transgressions - mainly by corporate-branded vehicles."I tend to post still images from the video footage onto Twitter."As the cliché goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Photo sharing is the communication method of the 21st century," he said."Creating an awareness of someone transgressing the road rules not only highlights to others what to be mindful of, but also sometimes results in the company involved taking action against their driver," said Pilgrim.Dashcam footage of a horrific accident in Pinetown, Durban, three years ago sparked a huge interest in the technology.Swaziland truck driver Sanele May was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to 24 counts of culpable homicide.A dashcam captured May driving his truck at high speed through a red traffic light and ploughing into four minibus taxis and a car near Fields Hill, killing 24 people.A legal expert said dashcam footage was admissible in court provided that it had been authenticated and came from the person who owned the dashcam.One Twitter user posted a picture from his dashcam to Twitter which showed a delivery biker for a national pharmacy chain driving through a red light in Pretoria.The pharmacy chain, in a reply to the tweet, said it was aware of the transgression and would deal with it internally.Importers of the dashcam technology, which costs between R2,000 and R7,000, refused to provide statistics but said sales had increased in the past two years.Garmin Southern Africa's Jenna Chisnall said: "We are not able to share our unit sales, but we have seen a significant interest from customers in this category. Sales keep increasing with the need to record, monitor, capture and share footage."The dashcams are used mainly in city hubs and game parks to capture road rage, illegal driving and wildlife," said Chisnall.DashcamSA said in a statement that 2016 had been its best year yet in terms of sales."We found in the past that only individuals with expensive cars wanted to have extra insurance when purchasing a dashcam. Now everyone who owns a vehicle is purchasing from us."Apart from capturing traffic violations and high-speed police chases, dashcams are also recording close encounters with wildlife.In a recent incident, which got about 400,000 views on YouTube, a herd of buffalo chased by lions are seen colliding with a car in Kruger National Park.

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