Are Dash Cams Legal? (Explained)

Are Dash Cams Legal? (Explained)

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New technologies are present everywhere in our daily life. However, some are not without their problems, in particular, because they can infringe on privacy. Laws protecting privacy can sometimes be out of date. The case of laws with dash cameras is not an exemption.  

Dash Cams are legal in your vehicle, however, from state to state is varies with all the restrictions using the Dash Camera itself. Dash cameras are cameras usually found inside a vehicle. It is better known under the name of ‘dashboard cams.’ The dashboard camera became popular in different nations after the dissemination of videos showing shock images taken from the passenger compartment of vehicles. Since then, their sale has multiplied in recent years.

What is a Dash Cam?

A dashcam is a camera installed in a vehicle to record what the driver sees. It is presented as a small box placed on the windshield or the car’s dashboard.

Dash cameras record what is happening on the road, but sometimes also in the passenger compartment. Some onboard cameras also come with a “parking” security mode. What they offer is their capacity to be used not only as cameras but also as real as surveillance systems by motion or shock detector, useful throughout the entire period of your parking. 

Are Dash Cameras Legal?

Having looked at the various functions of a dashcam, we will now focus attention on the legitimacy or otherwise of using a dashcam. Whether dash cameras are legal or illegal depends on a number of factors, including the state of residence, local laws, type of car, driver’s eligibility, and so on. 

The Case Across Europe 

In places like the United Kingdom, you are permitted to have a dashcam installed in your cars. Other European countries, including Spain, Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands permit the use of dashcams without restrictions. However, the rule does not apply in some other countries. For instance, places like France and Belgium have restriction rules on the use of dashcams. Here, dash cameras are constrained to only private use. If you have a dashcam installed in your car while riding in any part of France, it is expected that you send the evidence from the dash camera instantly to the police in case of an emergency. 

In countries like Germany, it is permitted to use dash cameras but completely illegal to send recorded videos from dashcam footage to any social media handle. However, the use of a dashcam to send a video of blurred faces and vehicle number plates is allowed. Other advanced nations like Austria and Portugal ban the use of dashcams completely. Therefore, the question of using a dash camera hinges on the country’s existing laws and other road regulations. 

Using Dash Cam in the US: Legal or Illegal?

The case of the use of dashcams in the US comes in a complete way relative to other countries. Some states in the US allow the use of dashcams while some others don’t. There are different states in the US operating their own local policies and laws about dash cameras. For instance, while some states allow the use of dashcams installed on vehicles, others prohibit it.  

Using Dash Cam for Surveillance: Case in the US 

So, make sure you check the local laws and regulations in your area and state of residence to know whether it is legal or illegal to install a dashboard camera in your car. In areas where they are legal and permitted, the police and insurance companies appreciate it because it helps to curtail unnecessary loss and expose dangerous activities of criminal-minded individuals and corporates.

However, the questions that people generally raise about the use of dashcams are concerned with obstruction of driver’s view and breach of privacy protection rules. Apart from getting familiar with local laws, make sure you also don’t run afoul of the surveillance and vision obstruction issues. 

Law on View Obstructions

Before you install a dashcam, find out what the legal specifications are in your location. This is a central issue when it comes to the use of dash cameras. Dash cameras are relatively prohibited in some states because they are considered as view obstructions. The positioning of the dashcam is very important to avoid becoming a victim of view obstruction rule. By law, dash cams should not obstruct your windshield by more than 5sq-in from where you are sitting as a driver. The position of the dashcam must be 7 sq-in from the passenger’s seat. 

These are general rules of thumb. By implication, the windshield should as much as possible be free from any kind of obstruction to prevent hitting a pedestrian, colliding with an oncoming vehicle, or involving an accident.

Bear in mind that some states in the US give restrictions on the installation of the dash cam on your vehicle’s windshield. If you live in states like Florida, New York, Colorado, Mississippi, Ohio, and more, you have the freedom to mount the dash cam on your car’s windshield. With restrictions, Utah, Arizona, Maryland, Hawaii, and others allow you to use the dash cam on your windshield.

Law on Privacy & Surveillance

There is also a privacy issue with the use of dashcams and each state’s laws taking care of this. The laws look at the legality or otherwise of the use and sharing of video and audio content captured by dashcams by private users. Dashcam comes with features that allow it to capture the aural sounds of passengers inside the car. For drivers alone in the car, they have no issue mounting the dashcam; but if you have passengers with you in the cabin, the law requires that you pre-inform the passengers of the electronic surveillance and privacy cam in the car. They must know that the dashcam can record all conversations that go on in the car.

The law in about 12 states in the US is that both the driver and the passenger must consent as to whether the dashcam should be used to record acoustic signals. If you live in Maryland, New Hampshire, Illinois, California, Nevada, and seven other states, you’re bound by the need to agree with your passenger before using a dash cam to take recordings of conversations. However, the law in 38 other states requires that only passengers consent to using dashcams to record audio sounds.

What Are The Functions of a Dash Camera?

The dashcam has many uses. It can first be used for its primary purpose like any conventional camera, namely for recreational or educational purposes. This is why it is called a multipurpose gadget. However, its main attraction lies in the possibilities it offers in the field of prevention or as a means of proof.

Use for Private Purposes

One of the primary purposes of a dashcam is that it helps to keep a memory of the landscapes crossed during car rides. This device allows car drivers to capture excellent quality videos and GPS At any point in the video, one can know where the images were recorded. Besides, you can also track behind-the-scenes events as they happened behind you while riding/driving.   

Educational Purposes

Apart from deploying the dashcam for private use, it can also serve educational purposes. Dashcam encourages safer driving. On the one hand, the recorded images, sometimes shocking, can be used to encourage other motorists to think about their driving style, moderate their speed, take the pre-selected lanes in time, and ensure that they can always brake for an obstacle. 

But it can also be used as coaching in the context of learning to drive based on the recorded images. Professionals could also use images and videos taken with dashcams to teach and instruct newbies and average drivers/riders in many areas. 

They can follow the way the professional driver controls, maneuvers, and drives with this vehicle. From there on, the professional driver will show them the points they are not getting things on the road. This way they can allay anxiety and apprehension while building driving skills and deep emotional intelligence while on the steering steel.

Police Use

Dashcams can also serve as a gadget of action to prevent, ascertain, or detect crimes against persons or property. Dashcams are also used by police cars to film infringements committed by drivers, or those installed in the cars of a security company on patrol to film attempted intrusions into monitored areas.

Provide proof in the event of an accident and understand its progress. Accidents happen in seconds and the human brain is not always able to recall memories precisely. Sometimes it is just impossible to know what really happened because the trauma is so deep. 

Videos from das cams then become the only way to understand the course of an accident. Dashcams are also used to determine liability in the event of a material or bodily injury, and they are therefore starting to play an increasingly important role in insurance company files. 

Secure Parking

The camera can shoot continuously even when you are parked. In the parking lot of a supermarket, mall, gas station, many motorists have discovered their damaged car when returning from their shopping. 

Thanks to Dashcam, you can record all the events that have occurred during your absence. The trickster who scratched your car won’t be able to get away with it. Your dashcam can perfectly film the license plate or any distinctive sign of the offending car.

Proof Against Insurance Scam  

Proving an insurance scam is not easy. Indeed, without formal proof of your involvement in an accident, it is very difficult for you to defend yourself. A dashcam is an ideal tool to convince a fraudster who has implicated you in a false declaration. It can also serve a great deal as evidence to your car insurance company in the event of doubt.  

Monitor Workers

You have a large office that employs more than 500 drivers who drive your trucks around. It may be unwise economic-wise to attach a personal assistant over each one. To save yourself some money, all you have to do is to install a dash camera on the dashboard of each of the trucks. From the corner of your room, you can monitor the speed of the drivers and also follow up on whether they comply with driving instructions. With a central dashcam installed in the office, you can monitor wayward and lazy drivers.

We are also thinking here of the cameras installed in the passenger compartment or on the windshield of taxis, delivery vehicles, and other heavy goods vehicles to check whether or not the driver drives according to instructions.

For Professional Purposes

Investigative journalism is one of the trickiest and most complicated activities today. Getting to the scene of an event might be both dangerous and life-threatening. Journalists will need a dashcam to report and monitor the event as it unfolds. Especially worth using are dashcams to track terrorist activities, monitor gas vandalization, security breaches, and threats, and so on. To make their reports, journalists need to install a dashcam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it called a dash cam?

The device, popularly known as dashcam or dashboard video camera, was named due to its ability to be mounted on your car’s dashboard.

Q: Are there different types of dash cams?

The answer is an outright yes. There are numerous kinds of dash cameras. Some of these dashboard camera has various sizes and shapes.   

Final Thoughts 

The legality of installing a dash camera in your vehicle depends on the nation’s existing law. Because the distribution of images can pose a problem, especially in terms of respect for the law on private life, you should consider having a clear understanding of the local law’s specifications on mounting dashcams in your state. It is, therefore, important to respect the legal condition of the use of a dashcam.

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