Dash cams, those always-on cameras that sit on your car's dashboard and record the world ahead of you, were introduced to police cars in Texas in the late 1980's. Those were some of the earliest dash cams. They used VHS cassettes and were mounted on tripods. Initially, they were purchased to help keep officers in remote rural areas safe. I'm pretty sure, though, they were really purchased to record idiots and provide off-hours entertainment for bored cops. These were the first viral dash cam videos.
Those early dash cameras were bulky and expensive so it's understandable that most police departments would just yawn and say "Pass!" when ambitious dashcam salesmen tried to sign them up. In the early 90's, though, dash cams would begin to be adopted by more and more police departments. One reason was the number of incidents in which police engaged in questionable behavior were recorded by citizens with camcorders. If you have your own record of an incident, it's easier to know exactly what happened. Even with that record, though, it could still be difficult to tell whether a policeman's actions were necessary.
As the technology became cheaper and better, the dashcam gained widespread adoption, and soon police departments across the country began using them. The main benefit of all of this was that we got to see even more of the miraculous and stupefying things our nation's police were confronted with, and Fox was able to produce shows like World's Wildest Police videos. Here's a little of the crazy world of the police we got to look into.
With dropping prices and sizes for dashcams, laypeople were able to afford to add the technology to their cars. That means you and I were able to record the ridiculous shennanigans we got into.
We could play around with a dashcams just because we were bored.
Even with cheap prices, Americans never really gravitated toward the dashcam. Not like Russians. In Russia, in the late 2000's. insurance scams where people would throw themselves on your car and claim to be injured became so prevalent that everyone in Russia began installing dashcams to protect themselves.
As with police dash cams in America, having so many of them running all the time meant that Russians soon began recording all kinds of crazy stuff. You've got to understand, Russia is a weird place where the rules of law, nature, and physics all have been suspended in favor of martial weirdness.
That brings us up to the present! As you can see, the Russians are far ahead of us in in-car dash cam adoption. As a website that specializes in craziness caught on camera, we can only beg you, America, to follow the lead of the Russians. Start putting dashcams in your more of your cars. Do you need Rob, Mark, and I to go out and start throwing ourselves at cars to make it happen? You'd like that wouldn't you. Well, if that's what it takes, that's what we'll do.
Follow me on Twitter to see what insurance scams I get into. @earnestp