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Japan's major insurance firms step up dashcam functionality to combat road rage

A dashcam is seen mounted above a car's dashboard in this file photo taken in December 2017. (Mainichi/Norio Sato)

TOKYO -- From October a major insurance company will add functionality to its dashcams enabling customers to quickly connect with an operator when they face road rage from other drivers.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.'s customers will be able to push a button on the recorders, which are lent as a special stipulation in insurance contracts, to connect with an operator at a security company. Among the services provided, drivers can receive advice on how to respond to road rage, and ask for the police to be contacted.

As repeated cases of dangerous road rage incidents have become more prominent in Japan, Tokio Marine hopes the measure will increase its customers' sense of safety.

The company's dashcams are already equipped to automatically connect with an operator in the event that a vehicle sustains a strong impact in an accident. But with the new measure, clients will be able to push a button to connect with an operator regardless of whether an impact has been recorded. Using GPS, the operator can pinpoint the customer's location, and quickly notify police with jurisdiction over that area.

Because the new functionality is being introduced through an automatic update to the recorder's software, clients who already have the devices installed can also use the new service.

In response to concerns about road rage, many of the country's major insurance companies have started introducing new services.

With Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.'s new service, clients can now send video and location details of road rage from dashcams to an address of their choosing at the touch of a button. Family members or others who receive the information can then quickly alert police.

In May, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. started a service enabling users to record the area around the back of their cars, to capture footage of tailgating drivers.

(Japanese original by Shiho Fujibuchi, Business News Department)

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