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Should everybody have car, personal recorders?

A picture and now a movie is worth a thousand words. That's why you should have a recording device on your dash.

  • Dash Cam

YEARS ago — maybe 15 — a colleague showed me a picture. “What do you see?” he asked.

The photo showed two cars crunched together. One had been pushed up against a curb by the other.

“It’s a good thing I took that picture,” my friend said. “The guy told me that it was his fault, but then he went to a collision reporting centre and told them that I hit him. It would have been my word against his, but I had proof.”

This was before everybody had smartphones. As a result of what happened to my friend, I bought one of those Kodak cameras that you used once and then threw away and put it in my glove compartment — just in case. I never had to use it, but it was there.

Now I’m thinking I’d better get some sort of video-recording device for my truck. And I got wondering: how long before they’re standard equipment on all new vehicles? And maybe we should all start thinking about having one attached to our belts or our purses? The focus at present seems to be on whether police officers should wear them. Perhaps everybody should have one.

There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without some sort of crash or confrontation “going viral” on the Internet. Remember two or three years ago, when a guy on the 401 reported to police that a motorist had rear-ended him in a traffic jam, only to be charged with mischief after the motorist’s recording device showed that the “victim” had, in fact, backed into him?

RELATED: Police record traffic stops for evidence and protection

Just this week, a cab driver and a bike rider got into it in downtown Toronto and the recording shows the rider slapping the windshield of the taxi and the taxi then running into the biker, who wasn’t hurt but was very angry. The jury’s out (or was) on who’s at fault on that one.

Here’s where a personal recording device might have come in handy.

In midmonth, a Toronto Sun reporter was stopped in traffic when she felt a thump. A cyclist rode up to her passenger-side window and said she’d hit her car and made a scratch. The cyclist said she was sorry. They exchanged information.

The reporter got a quote for a repair but the cyclist was now starting to change her tune. From being co-operative and “sorry,” she’d since talked to her lawyer who said she wasn’t responsible for the damages and that the driver should make an insurance claim. When contacted by the insurance company, the cyclist then said the reporter’s car had hit her.


A couple of weeks ago, a fellow in Mississauga was driving through an intersection with the light green. A car going in the other direction suddenly turned left in front of him and there was a big crash. Police arrived and, after talking to a witness who said the light was red, charged him.

He told the officer that his recording device showed the light to be green. The cop, in so many words, told him to tell it to the judge. So he posted the video on YouTube and it made the CFTO news.

Now, I know that videos can be edited. But isn’t it better to have something than having to depend on the honesty of the other person, which — as some of the examples above show — can often be suspect?

Of course, like many things in life, it can also go two ways. Such as this example of something that happened on Tuesday afternoon around 3:30.

A guy on a bike, with a small dog in a basket on the front, was waiting to cross Lake Shore Blvd. at Yonge St. He was standing, with others, on the northwest corner.

There are two southbound lanes at this intersection: the right lane has arrows on the road indicating it can be used as a turn lane; the left lane is a through lane and has arrows pointing straight ahead. Except that during the afternoon rush, more and more motorists are also turning right from that lane.

A large vehicle was in the right (turn) lane when the “walk” signal came on. It pulled ahead slightly but then had to wait for the pedestrians as well as for the guy on his bike. Suddenly, a bus started to turn right from the left lane but had to stop to avoid hitting the fellow and his dog. Whereupon, the fellow went ballistic and reached up and grabbed one of the windshield wipers on the front of the bus and twisted it down, yelling profanities at the driver.

The guy shouldn’t have attacked the bus, but the bus shouldn’t have been turning from that lane. A recording would benefit both. Or maybe not.

Should everybody have car, personal recorders?

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