According to one recent study, distracted and otherwise dangerous driving leads to about 1.6 million car crashes every year in the United States alone. During the same period of time, an average of about 390,000 injuries occurs that are specifically attributed to texting while driving. To put that into perspective, texting while driving is literally six times more likely to cause an accident than drinking and driving will, as of 2017.Dash Camera

But if you think that dangerous driving is a problem exclusive to America — you’re definitely going to want to think again. New Zealand has been dealing with a particularly pressing issue over the last few years as 380 people were killed on roads across that country in 2018. That is the highest number of road deaths during any year since 2009 — not exactly a record that anyone was particularly happy to see beaten.

Thankfully, the citizens of New Zealand have never been ones to take important issues lying down — and dangerous driving is no exception. Not only have a group of concerned drivers taken things into their own hands in an attempt to curb dangerous driving once and for all, but they’re also turning to the wonders of modern technology in order to do it.

New Zealand Drivers and Dash Cams: The Situation So Far

Earlier this year, New Zealand resident Matt Lees started the Facebook group Dash Cam Owners NZ in an attempt to raise awareness of exactly what is going on with dangerous drivers across the nation. It’s one thing to SAY that you understand what a serious problem this is. But when you actually SEE these types of terrifying events in action by way of a full HD video stream, suddenly things begin to crystallize and you can’t help but want to take action.

The Facebook group is already filled with a wide range of different videos, each one more incredible than the last. Some show drivers who aren’t paying attention trying to overtake drivers on narrow roadways. Others show near misses in which a distracted driver comes into close contact with another car — or worse, with a pedestrian.

Group founder Matt Lees says that he hopes his Facebook group acts as a deterrent for these types of dangerous practices. “I think if you know or there’s the possibility that someone behind you has a camera and can take it to police or shame you on social media then sure it probably makes people think twice,” he said in a statement to the local media.

For the most part, local New Zealand police departments are on the group’s side — but there ARE a few important caveats that need to be considered. For starters, they say that people need to prioritize safety above all else when using a dash cam or any other type of recording device on the road. It’s far too easy to try to use a dash cam to capture footage of a distracted driver, only to quickly become yet another distracted driver yourself. Only use the types of dash cams that are recording at all times — the ones that you can “set up and forget about,” so to speak.

Likewise, understand that while police can and often will investigate these types of offenses captured on video, you should still be very careful when posting those videos on social media. If the video contains any identifying pieces of information, like someone’s name, their face or even their license plate numbers, it could expose you to a large number of different liabilities that you’ll definitely want to avoid if you can.

All told, it’s too soon to say whether or not this particular Facebook group or this dash cam-powered approach is working on roads across New Zealand. But if it does, it’s the type of community-driven action that other areas around the world are definitely going to want to pay attention to over the next few years.