JEDDAH: With Saudi Arabia’s high rate of road fatalities and the alarming rise in road rage incidents, motorists in the Kingdom are joining the dashcam revolution, installing them in their vehicles to gather evidence in case of traffic accidents, road violations, theft and fraud.
According to statistics issued by the Ministry of Health for the number of injuries and deaths caused by traffic accidents for 2019 and 2020, 5,754 deaths were recorded in 2019, and 4,618 deaths in 2020 – with almost 90 percent of them men.
Ahmed Eid Al-Attawi, the owner of the Jeddah-based Dashcams store, told Arab News he has sold dashboard cameras for a long time to motorists concerned about vandalism, and now about accidents.
“Now dash cams are becoming more popular because motorists want to film where they’re driving, to prove they weren’t speeding, or if there’s an accident,” he said.
“Dashboard cameras, or dashcams, are beginning to be seen on the road in increasing numbers. In the public sector, they are known (for their use) in police vehicles and ambulances. Nowadays, these dashcams have been installed by regular drivers for some very practical and useful reasons. ”
Al-Attawi believes that almost one in five drivers currently uses a dashcam.
“Over the years, dashcam usage has been adopted in many countries. In Saudi Arabia, dashcam usage is still less and the market is at a somewhat early stage, however, as more drivers and / or car owners are educated about the significance of dash cams and their unparalleled safety features, the demand and use of these safety devices are likely to grow in the years to come. ”
Al-Attawi also revealed that women want to be more proactive than men in reporting reckless driving on Saudi roads, saying: “We are witnessing more women coming forward to install these tech devices to protect their rights.”
He explained that the small camera, which can be mounted on the windshield, can be positioned to record the interior of the vehicle or pointed forward to capture whatever is going on in front of the car.
“The number of hours it records depends on the size of the SD card, and the car does not need to be running for the unit to work. Prices of the camera can range from SR700 ($ 186) to SR2600, with the more expensive cameras including a GPS feature that can also record the speed of the vehicle. ”
Sales of dashcams are booming, increasingly recognized as a vital tool in insurance claims and as evidenced by the traffic authorities.
According to lawyer Khalid Al-Mhmadai, dashcams are just as good as any other approved footage.
“Yes, dashcams are allowed in Saudi Arabia,” he told Arab News. “That is a sort of evidence nowadays, Najm for insurance services requires in case of road accidents – it’s the right thing to do.”
He added that as long as the vision is clear and the footage was taken in a public place, then it can be used in legal proceedings.
Auto expert and car reviewer, Majed Al-Shikhi, believes dashcams will one day be in every car.
“Innovation is having a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, and driving is no exception,” he said. “Vehicle owners can now be assured of their safety while on the road. Indeed, a dashcam is a great investment in your family’s and vehicle’s safety that can not only save you time and money but also offers you peace of mind, if any accident / mishap occurs.
“With more and more dashcams now on the road, if you’re doing something silly or illegal, chances are you’re going to be caught,” Al-Shikhi added, pointing out that demand for dashcams increased in Saudi Arabia after women were allowed to drive.
“I believe placing a dashboard camera helps motorists and traffic police, as long as it is used to film the road ahead and to help keep drivers out of trouble, and to determine fault and liability for motor vehicle accidents,” he said.
“It also enables motorists to capture footage of drivers whose reckless actions can put citizens and residents in danger.”