From his small headquarters in Richmond, Alex Jang ships thousands of state of the art dashboard cameras across North America each year.
The founder of BlackboxMyCar.com started selling dash cams in 2012, after his family was involved in a crash where there were no witnesses.
Since then, demand hasn’t stopped. In four years, Jang has seen his business grow from two to 14 employees as more and more drivers choose to arm their vehicles with the ‘silent witness.’
Jang’s own dash cams and those he has sold have captured everything from hit and runs to vandalism, including an unlikely suspect in a car keying mystery in a client’s condo parkade.
“It was actually a strata manager that was getting quite agitated at the fact that he had many vehicles and he was parking it in the visitor parking spot and in that video three cars get keyed all at once,” said Jang.
“I think that’s one of craziest events that I have caught so far.”
The growing popularity of dash cams and the ever improving quality of the footage they produce are changing the way police and ICBC approach crash investigations.
“As technology progresses, we’re seeing more types of all digital evidence becoming part of customers’ claims,” ICBC senior communications specialist, Lindsay Olsen said
She said many costumers use smartphones now so they see more photographic and video evidence than they used to.
Vancouver Police also use dash cam video regularly to confirm events leading up to a crash, but urge drivers to use it safely as any video proof of distracted driving could backfire.
Sgt. Randy Fincham with Vancouver Police said video can help clear up misinterpretation of events, but it should be gathered safely and turned over on its entirety.
“Video is the best type of evidence you can have in a trial because it’s an objective record of what happened,” said criminal lawyer Kyla Lee of Acumen Law.
While ICBC claims are decreasing, payouts may be increasing and Lee believes dash cam evidence is to blame.
“ICBC’s typical strategy is to try to apportion fault to both drivers if they can or to one driver to avoid paying somebody for their claim and with dashcam video that makes it more difficult for ICBC to do that and more claims are going to have to be paid out that ICBC maybe otherwise wouldn’t,” said Lee.
But Olsen said ICBC can’t say if there is any indication that dashcam videos are leading to the payout of more claims.