More drivers use dash cams for protection on roads

Police, insurance companies can use footage in investigations

ORLANDO, Fla. – Whenever Anthony Chan hops in his car for a drive, he makes sure to mount his dash camera and record video of everything he encounters on the road.

"The reason why I did it," Chan said, "is Florida drivers -- they're crazy!"

The UCF student is just one of a growing number of Central Florida drivers arming themselves with dash cams. Chan captures plenty of dangerous driving, including someone who ran a red light at University Boulevard and 417.

"The light turns yellow very quickly and I had barely stopped," Chan said, while showing Local 6 the video of an SUV driving across the intersection well after the light turned red.

Sgt. Kim Montes with the Florida Highway Patrol said she's seeing citizens' video used in crash investigations more and more, especially with mobile cameras like the GoPro.

Web Extra: Videos from driver dash camera

"With the price of them not being out of reach for a lot people financially, we expect to see more of those being utilized, and therefore we do expect this technology to be in more places," Montes said. "And for law enforcement to be able to use this in their investigations, it's just a benefit, it's an added benefit for the investigations."

FHP also sees video from drivers who may be forced to install dash cash cams in their car by their employers, ranging from private companies to city governments.

Recently, FHP used dash cam video installed in a semi truck to investigate the semi crash. The driver lost control on Interstate 95 in Volusia County and the video showed him run off the road and even bounce as he crashed.

The footage can not only be used by cops conducting investigations, but by insurance agents determining fault, or in civil court to help prove who's to blame for a crash.

And for Chan, he says the expense of installing the dash camera is worth it to have piece of mind.

"You can get started doing this for $100," Chan said, downplaying concerns people might have about spending $100 to set up a dash cam in the bad economy. "What I say is, do you value $100 over having vital evidence to prove inside civil court or insurance claim?"

Chan suggests searching Amazon.com for dash cameras and mounts, and recommends this setup for beginners:

Buy a used Sony Cybershot DSCW50, averaging about $30, along with a Ram Mount, going for about $33.

Click here for links to videos Chan captured on Central Florida roads.