When you take your car into a garage to be fixed, the last thing you think will happen is that you will end up with points on your license, a fine, or even a driving ban. But this is very nearly what happened to a chauffeur after a mechanic took his car for a joyride.
Proving an accident was not your fault has historically been very difficult. But the thriving popularity of in car cameras has made a huge difference in this regards. Never has this been more apparent than the recent story of a mechanic who was caught joy riding a customer’s car, and breaking the speed limit at the same time.
When chauffeur David Argust took his Mercedes-Benz into a Bristol garage for repairs, the last thing he expected was to run the risk of losing his job. But this is exactly what happened after an employee of the garage, Mercedes-Benz of Bristol, took the vehicle for a joyride and broke the speed limit nine times in less than 10 minutes as he drove around Cribbs Causeway.
If police had mistakenly believed that it was Mr Argust at the wheel, the ramification could have been terrible to say the least. Aside from the financial cost in the short term, Mr Argust is also likely to have lost his license and therefore his job as a chauffeur.
Luckily this did not happen, as the perpetrator was caught red-handed and the garage in question said in a statement that he has since been let go.
How was he caught?
Luckily, Mr Argust had a dashboard camera fitted to his car, which is a sensible addition to a vehicle for all drivers, especially those with a driving based job, like a chauffeur.
As many dashboard cameras operate by turning on when the engine turns on, it is probably that the mechanic in question did not realise a dashboard camera was even fitted to the car, but had it not been, Mr Argust would have had a much harder time proving his innocence.
The footage shows Mr Argust’s Mercedes-Benz E300 AMG being driven at 58mph in a 40mph zone at one point. Later, there is footage of the vehicle travelling at 35mph in a car park, with a limit of 5mph.
The dashboard camera footage can be used to prove the guilt of the mechanic who illegally drove the car, and to prove that Mr Argust was not at the wheel of the vehicle at the time in question, which helps him avoid a hefty fine, and avoids the risk of him losing his livelihood.
The possibility of a fine or even a ban for dangerous driving could have been terrible for David Argust, but without the dashboard camera evidence, it would have simply been a case of one word against another, and there is no guarantee that his innocence could have been proven.
This was a lucky escape for Mr Argust, who claims that he has since been informed that he is no longer welcome at any of the company’s garages.
There is increasing evidence to support the fact that having an in-car camera can be a huge assistance when it comes to proving guilt after a car accident, or in this case, a car having been joyridden by another driver, and Mr Argust is not the first, and will not be the last to be aided by the addition of this vital piece of equipment.
Simon Faulkner is the director of Eyewitness Cameras, who provide car, bike and helmet cameras that can be used to help resolve road accident disputes.