Pictured here is the windshield cam of Southern Oregon resident Mark Bezley, a currently off-the-road trucker who bought the unit “about 6 years ago,” he says, from an online retailer. He was a leased owner-operator at the time, working mostly locally in Oregon and surrounding states.
A simple model that records on a constantly saving loop according to a few different time settings — its memory card has 16 megabytes of memory, Bezley says — the camera subsequently served him well. “I looked at it as cheap ‘insurance’ for liability and safety,” he says of his thinking when he got it, paying about $130. Today, he adds, “you can get [similar models] for 100 or so. Prices have come down quite a bit.”
Surveying the years after he bought it, “all I can say is wow!” Bezley says. “I’ve only had a couple of complaints called in on me for the usual — running someone off the road, hitting a parked car or structure, and livestock. When my office called me about the complaints all I asked them was if they wanted to see my video of the ‘incident.’ It didn’t take long for them to realize that these complaints were erroneous requests for ‘free money.’ Because of my forward thinking, not only did I save my own ass, but the company’s also. But that is not the best one.”
Bezley, who wrote in after reading my “How’s my driving?” blog post from this Tuesday about the topic of call-in complaints and scams from folks on the road, went on with this telling anecdote about how the camera even saved him from a small Washington town’s crosswalk-violation ticket, delivered to him when he happened to be passing through during a “sting” for such infractions.
I never thought I would have to use it against law enforcement, but one trip into a small Washington mill town, it saved my bacon. I was accused of violating “Crosswalk Law” during a Crosswalk sting operation. After being stopped by the police, I was told that someone was in the crosswalk and I almost hit that person. I assured the officer that no one was in the crosswalk when I went through the intersection. I offered to let him see the video from my camera. He said that he didn’t want to see it and wrote me my citation then sent me on my way. So when it was time, I sent in my request for a trial to plead my case. Took the day off from work, drove the 200 miles to the town for court, and lost about $350 for the day (gas, food and lost wages). After the judge saw my video in the courtroom, he was not happy and had to throw out the case because his small town police officers just got caught lying and falsifying a police report.
I am a firm believer in the use of cameras if for nothing else, to prevent others from filing these erroneous claims…whether from the driving public or from law enforcement. I will forever be grateful for having my windshield camera with me at all times.
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