A dashboard camera, or dash cam, can be a helpful instrument to mount onto your car, and more and more drivers are choosing to use them. A dash cam is not the same as the video screen that may monitor what is behind your car when you are driving in reverse. It records what is going on in traffic in front of you and behind you. In case you get into an accident, a dash cam will have recorded what happened so that police and insurance companies will not have to rely on the testimony of witnesses or the pattern of damage to the vehicle. Dash cams have also recorded episodes of police violence in which the person being assaulted by the police was inside the car.
Different states have different laws concerning the use of dash cams. Some of those laws involve privacy, while others include obstructions on the windshield.
Safe driving requires a clear view out the windshield, and a dash came is usually mounted onto the windshield with suction cups. Generally speaking, if the dash cam takes up more than five inches on the driver’s side or seven inches on the passenger’s side, it is considered an obstruction. That could lead to you getting a ticket (or worse, getting into an accident). Check with your state’s specific laws regarding the dimensions of a dash cam if it is positioned on the windshield, or better yet, look for a dash cam that can be mounted onto the dashboard.
Privacy is a big issue, and dash cams record people without their permission. A license plate that comes up on a dash cam is recorded so that the person driving that car can be traced to a particular location, without his or her permission. Dash cams also record conversations that happen inside the vehicle, something that is illegal unless all of the people in the car are aware that they are being recorded. Due to privacy concerns, dash cams are unlawful in some countries. Many states have laws regulating the privacy issue concerning dash cams, so make sure that before getting one (or if you already have a dash cam), you know what your state’s laws are.
Dash cams can be handy, but not if using one lands you in legal trouble. Know what your state’s laws are so that you can save yourself much trouble later.