June 30, By Michael Florio
Local officials want to require car insurance companies to provide a discount for New York drivers who use dashboard cameras.
State Sen. Jose Peralta, Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman and State Sen. Toby Stavisky unveiled legislation Thursday that, if enacted, would make dashboard cam insurance discounts mandatory. The legislation will call for a five percent discount, although Peralta said that number is negotiable.
Peralta asserted that the cameras would not only lead towards drivers taking added safety measures, but could potentially decrease the number of hit and runs and help combat insurance fraud. The hope is that this bill will pass when the State legislature returns to session in January.
The legislation would help capture video footage of reckless drivers, and help settle issues with insurance claims, according to Peralta.
The Senator said that the cameras could combat insurance fraud such as “crash for cash” schemes, where drivers purposefully get into collisions to collect insurance money, or stage accidents.
In 2012, car insurance fraud cost between $5.6 billion and $7.7 billion in excess auto claim payments in the U.S., a 2015 Insurance Research Council study found.
“Who pays for that?” he asked. “Everyone does with higher premiums.”
Additionally, the legislation could help capture hit and run drivers if culprits are caught on film by nearby drivers’ dashboard cams, or even lead to fewer of hit and run incidents, Peralta said.
“If [drivers] know they are on camera, well, maybe, just maybe, they will think twice before running off,” he said.
Currently, insurance companies provide discounts for drivers who take a defensive driving course, have airbags and have safety seat belts.
Dashboard cameras are becoming more popular in the United States and around the world, but would become even more popular if drivers were given an incentive, Peralta said.
In the United Kingdon, insurance companies offer a 10 percent discount, and according to Peralta camera sales increased significantly there once that rule was put in place.
“We want to ensure that the same thing happens here,” he said.
New York would be the first state to implement a mandatory discount, according to Peralta. He is hopeful that the rest of the country would follow suit.
Drivers can purchase the cameras at electronic shops, starting at $40 and ranging to a few hundred. They can be certifiably installed at auto body shops, Peralta said.
“They will more than pay for themselves,” he said.
Peralta is hopeful that car manufacturers will one day install the cameras in all vehicles.
The bill text indicates that insurance companies will be required to review available dashboard camera footage with equal weight as any other evidence relating to a claim.
However, Peralta said, drivers could choose whether or not to provide their dash cam footage to insurance companies.
“If you’re at fault, it is your option to hand over the footage,” he said.
“If they [insurance companies] want to make it mandatory, they’d have to come to us,” he added. “We would have to further discuss it then.”