Is Axa’s dashcam discount plan a good one?

Cantillon: Dashboard cameras could expose legal issues and data infringements

Dashcam: There are potential legal issues around the use of technology capable of capturing people and vehicles in public spaces.

Dashcam: There are potential legal issues around the use of technology capable of capturing people and vehicles in public spaces.

 

Insurance company Axa’s plan to offer a 10 per cent discount to motoring customers who install a dashboard camera, with a view to using the footage to establish liability in the event of a crash, is such a simple idea, on the face of it.

Why don’t all insurers follow suit and wouldn’t we all feel so much safer with a camera to protect us if someone lodges a claim against our policy, knowing the camera will “prove” who is at fault?

But is it really such a good idea for motorists to rush into spending €70-€300 on such a device for a relatively small discount on policies? There seems to be such a lack of transparency in any case about how individual premiums are calculated by all the insurers. Some might question if there’s any real benefit and, if so, who is getting it.

“Dashcams offer a great way for drivers to get extra peace of mind when they are on the road and can be helpful resolve issues when liability is disputed,” said Antoinette McDonald, customer experience director at AXA ‘Dashcams offer a great way for drivers to get extra peace of mind when they are on the road and can be helpful resolving issues when liability is disputed,’ said Antoinette McDonald, customer experience director at Axa
“Dashcams offer a great way for drivers to get extra peace of mind when they are on the road and can be helpful resolve issues when liability is disputed,” said Antoinette McDonald, customer experience director at AXA

Public spaces

But there are other issues that should give drivers pause for thought before they embrace cameras in their cars. There are potential legal issues around the use of technology capable of capturing people and vehicles in public spaces, as cases before the European Court of Justice have previously found.

In a case from the Czech Republic, the court found that the operation of a camera installed by a man on his family home for the purposes of protecting his property, but which also monitored a public space, did not amount to processing personal data in the course of a “purely personal or household activity”.

Might this ruling also apply to cameras installed in people’s cars, making the owners “data controllers” with all the responsibility that goes with that? Could a motorist be exposed to potential compensation claims from individuals if their personal data from a dash camera was posted online or accessed by third parties, for example?

Handing over footage to the insurer, it appears at present, will be only on a voluntary basis in the event of a crash. But it might not be far down the line before insurers begin to demand disclosure of dashcam footage where it exists.