February 19, 2013

Dasha is the diminutive form of the popular Russian name Daria or Darya. A Dacha is sort of a cross between a shack and a holiday home often located in the hinterland of a major conurbation – also popular in Russia. More popular with Russians than either of these, however, is the subject of the story you are about to stop reading (and wonder, indeed, why you even started reading), to wit: the Dashcam.

Due, probably, to the fact all Russians learned to drive from Zambian students studying in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s, Russia’s roads are among the most terrifying and lethal in all the Northern Hemisphere. With police corruption not entirely unheard of, less pecunious Russians had grown accustomed to seeing their versions of RTA events discounted in favour of those provided by others with a few more notes to hand out or strings to pull.

Not any more! Moore’s Law and the ever plummeting price of consumer electronics have latterly returned a modicum of power to the man on the street (or more accurately in the Lada). Dashboard cameras (Cобаки ерунда or Даш Кам (i.e. dashcam) for short) are now fitted to around 50% of Russian cars. These provide an eloquent (audio) visual corroboration of wronged drivers’ stories. Unless, of course, friendly traffic policemen rip them from their moorings and grind them under their jackbooted heels.

Perhaps we should all try something similar in the UK. Bikers in particular might benefit from this kind of technology. Wouldn’t it be great if a firm like Bankstone could offer a solution custom designed for the modern biker’s RTA recording needs… etc… etc…

More importantly, however, Russia’s Даш Кам plague provides endless hours of hilarious and violent web-based footage for the gratuitous entertainment of those with urgent deadlines to meet and in desperate search of something to distract them. Tempted?

Here’s a link to a selected highlights reel on The Grauniad’s video section (which might not even be blocked by your server at work) or, if you have more time to spare and aren’t blocked from YouTube, check out this lot here.

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