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TheStreet Open House

Do You Need A Dash Cam?





Dash cams installed by Russian drivers caught the recent meteor strike in brilliant detail. But why do all those Russians have a dash cam in the first place?

If you've been unfairly accused of causing a wreck, then you can probably understand why. In Russia, the accusation isn't the beginning of a months-long battle with insurance companies. Instead, as Slate explains, it's usually accompanied by a demand for immediate payment and a threat to call police.

In the United States, police have been using dash cams for decades to record evidence at traffic stops. Now the technology has begun to catch on among civilians.

The dashboard-mounted cameras record the sights and sounds while the car is driven, providing footage to document what happens on the road or in the car. While no company yet offers an insurance discount for adults who have installed a camera, at least one sees the value in monitoring new drivers.

The dash cams join a widening array of technology -- such as the onboard data recorders installed in all new cars and the pay-as-you-drive devices that bring discounts to cautious drivers -- that can document your behind-the-wheel behavior.

The biggest reason for sales growth: plummeting prices.

Catch it on video for $100

Marc Horowitz, spokesperson for BrickHouse Security in New York, which sells security and surveillance products, says online search traffic for dash cams as well as sales of the company's products has doubled so far this year over the same period of 2011.

The technology became available on the consumer market about 10 years ago, Horowitz says, but at that time a decent dash cam retailed for thousands of dollars. Now you can get a basic model for under $100.

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