The real reason why Russian drivers captured last month's meteor in perfect detail

Chris Parsons
Yahoo! News

Few people will forget the spectacular amateur footage of a meteor shooting across the Russian sky last month.

What was equally stunning was the quality of videos shot by the Russian public, who managed to capture the space rock flashing through the skies as they drove to work.

The perfectly-shot films were made possible as thousands of Russian drivers have dashboard cameras installed in their front windscreens.

In a country where calamitous driving is a daily occurrence and motorists have little faith in the integrity of the authorities, many have installed cameras in their cars to give themselves peace of mind.

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False insurance claims, along with allegedly corrupt police who take the side of the person with the biggest bribe or most political influence, leave many Russians taking matters into their own hands.

It is through these 'dashboard-cams' that dumfounded drivers filmed the meteor which injured nearly 1,500 people in Chelyabinsk city on February 15.

The meteor streaked through the sky at 30km (19 miles) per second, leaving a long white trial which was visible 200km (125 miles) away.

NASA experts later said they expected a meteor hit like that in Russia to take place 'once every 100 years'.

The dashboard cameras were introduced around three years ago in Russia.

Related: Russian meteor damage estimated at over $30m

More than 1.5m were sold in the country last year - five times more than in 2011.

Konstantin Sonin, a Russian professor at the New Economy School, told AFP: "People don't feel safe - they get the feeling that when they get into an accident, the police won't help them out, and will instead punish the person with less political weight or offering the smaller bribe."

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