You’ve probably seen multiple videos this week of a meteor exploding over Russia. And odds are, the footage you saw was captured by a dashboard-mounted car camera (aka, a dash cam). But you might not have stopped to ask yourself why, in that relatively impoverished part of the world, do so many people have car cameras?
The answer, as Wired points out, is relatively simple: Russia is a giant country with unreliable, often corrupt, law enforcement, coupled with a legal system that rarely favors first-hand accounts of traffic accidents. Lax surveillance regulations and lowered technology costs have also contributed to a rise in car cam ownership.
The increase in dash cams has given birth to an internet subculture in Russia. More and more people are posting video of things that happen on the road. Some of the footage is hilarious (a woman tears the front bumper off a car with her bare hands; a would-be insurance cheat fakes an accident in ridiculous fashion), some is hauntingly serious (road rage and even automobile-related deaths captured as they happen).
While the rise in Russian dash cams may come as a surprise, it’s worth noting that this trend is also hitting us here in the U.S., though on a smaller scale. For example, BrickHouse has seen its car camera sales nearly double every year for the past three years.
This increase can be partially attributed to lower technology costs. The price of entry for a quality car camera from BrickHouse has dropped to under $100. And for less than $200, you can outfit your ride with a dual-lens, HD dash cam with infrared night vision technology.
In addition to ever-plunging price points, we’ve been tracking an increase in parents looking to keep an eye on their teen drivers. And of course, in these tough economic times, people are extra motivated to protect their investments. Car cams provide motorists with peace of mind in the event of an accident, making it much easier to prove fault — or innocence.
The Russians may have us beat in the sheer frequency of car cameras, but if the rise of this technology over the past 10 years is any indication, we can expect to see plenty more dash cams — and the unique footage they capture — on American roads in the years to come.
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