There are hundreds of YouTube videos in cyber space showing the incredibly stupid things people do on the roads. Some are quite funny and others deadly serious – the common denominator is the dash cam and its growing popularity.
This is growing around the world with many motorists using them as necessary technology for on-road safety. Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is responding to this trend with the introduction of an unobtrusive USB charging port located in the rear-view mirror.
The benefits of a dash cam were first realised by law enforcement officers, particularly in the United States, during the 1980s. However, compared to modern dash cams they were mounted on tripods on the vehicle’s dashboard rather than the windscreen. With the evolution of digital technology, these once-bulky video recording devices have become smaller, cheaper and offer clearer recording quality. Dash cams are now widely available and can be quickly fitted – and removed – in any vehicle and require no permanent attachments.
One of the biggest motivations for owning a dash cam is for the credible supporting evidence they can provide to any motorist involved in a road incident. Dash cams enhance one’s memory of events and provide irrefutable evidence when needed. Although useful in any unforeseen emergency, drivers who frequently travel alone, and are therefore at a higher risk of forgetting crucial pieces of information, will get more value from owning a dash cam.
They are also a ‘must-have’ tool for fleet managers for the same reasons as well as for monitoring vehicle abuse.
This subtle addition of a USB power outlet in the rearview mirror of Ford’s latest Ranger Raptor, Thunder and Wildtrak derivatives adds a level of convenience and neatness to the fitment of any windscreen mounted dash cam and eliminates unsightly cords that would traditionally run across the windscreen or the dashboard from the camera to the power source, usually located in the dashboard.
This can be done without negatively affecting the functionality of the rear-view mirror. The USB power outlet is additional to the existing number of power outlets found in the vehicle so that the use of other devices such as smart phones is not impacted.
The new USB power outlet is universally compatible with most mainstream dash cams on sale However, those who prefer to buy new accessories from Ford-Approved dealers will be able to choose from the latest Mio range of dash cameras, fitted with advanced features such as GPS tracking, vibration detection and real-time smartphone backup.
“With the increasing number of offences committed every day on South Africa’s road network, a dash cam has become an essential recording tool in any car. In many instances the footage from a dash cam can be put forward as evidence, whether to substantiate insurance claims, prevail in the fight against corruption or to detain criminals,” says Yusuf Abramjee, an anti-crime activist.
“Dash cams provide an accurate timeline of events, and ensure that vital information such as vehicle registration, individual character descriptions or aggressive behaviour are recorded. Should you be involved in an incident, or be a witness to one, always be aware of where the dash cam is pointing – move the car, or people into frame while completing the incident report,” Abramjee adds.
Driving Skills For Life, which uses Ford’s vehicles to raise the standard of young drivers in South Africa, also supports the use of dash cams.
“It’s safe to say that if you haven’t already gone out and purchased a dash cam for your car, now would be an excellent time to do so. The peace of mind they generate alone is, for most people, more than worth it,” says Derek Kirkby training director at DSFL.
“Often it’s the small things that make the biggest difference and the USB power outlet in the rearview mirror is another example of how Ford is able to offer additional value to its customers.” says Dale Reid, product marketing manager at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “This standard feature on some of our new Ranger models proves that Ford is constantly responding to emerging trends, particularly when these trends have the potential to improve the safety of our drivers.”
As South African traffic volume steadily returns to pre-COVID-19 levels, the number of traffic violations and accidents is expected to increase. In these situations a dash cam can make a big difference to any journey. The more dash cam users there are, the better our collective defense against the unlawful actions that are happening daily on our roads.