RCMP have a better than usual witness for their investigation into a serious driving incident on Hwy 2 near Red Deer.
Their special witness is a dashboard camera, a device that may be gaining in popularity with drivers who want a visual record of incidents, such as a collision or parking infraction.
Last Sunday a driver with one of the small digital devices mounted on his dashboard recorded a speeding driver passing between two other vehicles that were beside each other as they headed north on the highway.
An investigation was started by Sylvan Lake RCMP after the owner of the video turned it over to them.
The video was also posted online and as a result, has garnered a lot of attention.
Sylvan RCMP Cpl. Kevin Halwa said Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing and charges are expected to be laid.
They have identified the driver, who is also from Calgary. All the parties involved ended up in Sylvan on the day of the incident.
The driver could be facing the Criminal Code offence of dangerous driving, Halwa said.
Such video does make it easier for police in their investigations, although Halwa said he’s not recommending at all that people go out and buy them.
They have, however, assisted police on other investigations, specifically collisions. “We’re able to determine exactly what happened.
“You can put things on paper all you want but a picture does always tell a thousand words,” Halwa said.
He has been involved in three or four investigations in the last eight months where there happened to be a dashboard camera involved.
Scott Wilson, senior policy analyst with the Alberta Motor Association said the organization doesn’t take any position on the use of dashboard cameras.
“I don’t know if they are a cure-all. … They can probably be useful in providing evidence in a given incident.”
Wilson said he was disheartened when he saw the Hwy 2 video.
“Unfortunately to see that kind of driving behaviour is really disappointing, especially that it occurred on such a high-speed corridor where your margin for error is razor-thin as it is.”
Wilson said dash cams are a personal decision and what’s really important is people need to understand the risk they place themselves and others when driving.
“We really don’t invest the time and effort necessary to do driving well all the time. Some of us will engage in other behaviours while behind the wheel, whether it’s thinking about things, or writing things or reading things, or using a phone or whatever it may be, and that’s because we under-estimate the level of risk that we’re at and we over-estimate our confidence.”
He said at 110 km/h, a driver is moving at 28 metres per second. Combined with the average person’s reaction time of about 0.5 seconds, a vehicle has travelled 12 to 13 metres even before the driver recognizes a hazard.
He noted that increased speeds can increase the likelihood of having a crash, and when it happens on a highway as opposed to an urban area, emergency services is farther away.