Why Do Russians Record Their Drives?

David Banks and Nathan Jurgenson analyze the rise of “dashcams” in Russia, the source of yesterday’s wild footage of a meteor:

Their numbers have swelled over the past year or so due to the rampant corruption of traffic police and insurance company officials. The videos provide evidence for traffic disputes both common and not-so-common, from everyday fender-bender quarrels to pedestrians throwing themselves in front of cars for settlement money. After one particularly horrendous accident that killed twenty people, President Dmitry Medvedev made a statement calling on the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate to “take all the necessary measures to impose order on the roads.” That was in 2009 and little seems to have changed.

Last summer, Marina Galperina speculated that censorship makes dashcams so popular in Russia:

Russian websites go for the uncut, the horrible accidents–trucks flipping over, people being smashed into pieces and sedans flying up in the air and exploding. Given that television programing is mostly vacuous and heavily censored, dash-cam videos are very popular in Russia. It’s uncensored–drama, comedy, tragedy, horror, thriller and educational genres fused into one super-genre of “dash-cam.”

Kottke’s jaw recently dropped after watching a 13 minute compilation video of Russian traffic accident dashcam videos. An incredible example of such a video is seen above.