The unfortunate truth is that there are people out there looking to scam you and possibly even perpetrate fraud. When someone else’s shady or reckless behavior blows back on you, and you are blamed for a car accident you didn’t cause, a dashboard camera (dash cam) can exonerate you.
Why Dash Cams are Increasingly Popular
Dashboard cameras are rising in popularity because they provide you with your own record of an event, as well as a record of your driving behaviors. For years, police officers have had them in their cars, in part to help them show that they took appropriate action in different circumstances. Truckers are increasingly installing dash cams because they are often unfairly blamed for accidents.
Read This Related Article: Scammers Showing Up At the Scene of Accidents, Stealing Identities.
Now, many “ordinary” citizens see that dash cams can be valuable tools. They can document their own driving behaviors, and show when someone else is driving recklessly and causes an accident. Russian citizens use dash cams for just this reason. When it comes to protecting themselves against fraud and corrupt officials, dash cams can come in handy.
It can work for you as well. A visual record of what’s happening as you drive your car can protect you later on, especially since many dash cams also record the sounds from inside the car. There are even very advanced dash cams that include GPS for point of reference, and that can measure G forces inside the car. All of this offers a complete record of the situation from your point of view, and having that record can protect you.
Not only can dash cams be used to help you in insurance cases (ask your personal injury attorney for information on how to use dash cam footage to your advantage), but the footage might also be admissible in court. If you find yourself looking to win a lawsuit, or if you are charged with an offense unfairly, your dash cam might be the evidence you need to avoid losing out.
Legal Issues Associated with Dash Cams
Dashboard cameras are perfectly legal. However, there are legal issues associated with their installation and use. First of all, you can only take up a five-inch square on the driver’s side of the car, and the camera can’t take up more than a seven-inch square on the passenger’s side. The idea is to provide a record of your driving — not impede your vision.
Also, be aware that some states have laws against recording others without their knowledge and consent. If your dash cam records the sounds inside your car as well as taking video, you need to make sure you understand state law. If you live in state where consent is required for recordings, you need let passengers in your car know that your dash cam is recording, and they need to be ok with that.
Should You Buy a Dash Cam?
You can buy a dash cam for right around $100, for a low-end model. There are dash cams that cost as much as $500, but they offer a more complete picture of your driving behaviors. For many drivers, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have evidence in their favor is worth the expense.
Consider your driving behaviors, and how often you drive. It also makes sense to consider who else might driving your car. Many parents of teens like the idea of dash cams because they can provide a record of what kids are doing right and wrong. Plus, most teens are likely to drive safer if they know that the dash cam is on recording.
For those who drive a lot (commuters especially), a dash cam can be a good protection measure. Talk to a knowledgeable attorney about whether a dash cam makes sense for you, and what you need to do to make sure that your installation and use of a dash cam is in line with legal requirements.