Have the world’s smallest witness with you in the car
As we become an an increasingly litigious society, devices such as the SmartWitness will appeal to the motorist who daily commutes through heavy traffic. Although, as someone who drives some 30 000 miles a year, to and fro from work, this device does not have that much appeal at a price in excess of £200.
It is a combination of video recorder and GPS unit, allowing you to have a video record of your journey, with GPS data superimposed over the image. It is described as a ‘black box’ for the car. Incidentally, the term black box recorder is a misnomer for the devices found in aircraft, as they are bright orange – to enable accident investigators to more easily find them in the wreckage. However, this little device, as you can see, is most definitely black.
The manufacturers say that it “can provide vital evidence of what really happened in an accident, improves driver behaviour resulting in fewer accidents and convictions, provide proof against incorrect driving convictions and for the commercial sector it allows Fleet Managers & Companies to monitor employee journeys and excessive speeding, acceleration and breaking”. It can also be used as evidence for your defence in the case of a speeding prosecution. However, it is unclear whether this evidence would be admissible in court.
Technically, it records video at 640×480, 25fps and the manufacturers state it will record images in light as low as 1 lux. The lens has a viewing angle of 170°, and the camera automatically adjusts for white balance . It can be set to record a loop of video showing 15sec of video prior to an impact and 5sec after, or with the use of a 32GB SD card, allowing a continuous recording time of around 40 hours. The vodpod link, bottom right, shows the camera in action – one can’t but think if the motorist had used their windscreen wipers the accident might not have happened.