Dash cams – How can they help in an accident and should you get one?
5 Min Read
Over recent years, dash cams have become very popular with motorists, cyclists and horse riders alike. The footage they record has proven to be very helpful to determine who is at fault when accidents take place and can save Involved parties from long, drawn-out arguments when making a claim. cyclists.
Even though fitting a dash cam and filming public roads and other traffic is not illegal, you must take care when fitting it to ensure it is done in line with the Highway Code. For cars, the best place to fit one is at the top of the windscreen but you must ensure the dash cam is not restricting your view and there are no wires hanging down. It should also not provide an obstruction more than 40mm into the area swept by the windscreen wiper blades.
When it comes to cyclists and horse riders, the dash cam can be fitted to the rider’s helmet.
Dash cams also help protect you from insurance fraud claims as their footage is admissible as evidence and can be presented to insurers as well as the Police. Dash cams are widely used by taxi firms, taxi drivers have to inform passengers of the presence of a dash cam and mute the sound as recording voices is a breach of privacy.
If the police suspect that you have broken the law while in your car, they have the right to seize footage from your dash cam and use it as evidence in a case against you. You need to be aware that if you try and delete footage, this will be considered as tampering with evidence.
When it comes to professional vehicles being fitted with dash cams, employers need to be careful not to violate their employees’ privacy through dash cam usage. The GDPR laws which came into force in 2018 are there to protect the personal information of individuals and to stop companies from storing or using personal data in an illegal manner. It is important to understand the rights of employees and employers. Companies are encouraged to write a dash cam policy setting out the purpose of collecting imagery, stating what it will be used for and how long it will be stored. Any recording should be stored securely and only accessed by someone who has been trained in data protection laws.
International dash cam usage
Usage of dash cams is not legal in some parts of the world and even where it is the rules around their usage and sharing of footage can vary widely. In France and Belgium, you can only use dash cams for private use but in Spain the usage of dash cams is unrestricted for recording and sharing. The use of dash cams in Portugal and Austria is illegal.
In all U.S. states, dashboard cameras are legal but the majority of states do not allow a driver to mount a dashcam on the windscreen, but all of them allow a driver to mount one on the dashboard.
When driving outside of the UK you must ensure you are aware of the laws of the Country, or if in America the laws of the particular State, you are in, if you intend using a dash cam. The misuse of dash cams abroad can lead to prosecution.
What is a black box and what is the difference?
A black box records and holds data that shows your driving style but does not provide a visual record. Insurance companies will reduce the insurance premium if the owner’s car is fitted with a black box. This can be very cost effective for newly qualified or young drivers who have not built up their “no claims bonus” in reducing the insurance premium.
In some cases employers will fit company vehicles with black boxes to encourage responsible driving behaviours and hold employees accountable when they drive dangerously.
Why install a dash cam?
You can install a dash cam in the front or rear of your vehicle which will record the traffic around you whilst you are driving. Some dash cams can also help with parking. As discussed above, this is a vital tool if involved in an accident or dispute as the dash cam records what happened.
There is a very good article by the AA which provides all the information you need to know and can be found by following this AA link.
How much does a dash cam cost?
The cost varies from £40 to £299 and there are a number of sites where you can research the best dash cam to suit your requirements and budget.
Are there any problems that can arise from having a dash cam?
The danger with a dash cam is that you may accidentally invade other road users’ privacy, and this is particularly a risk with devices which have Wi-Fi, because the ability to upload footage to social media is at your fingertips.
Dash cams can also cause a distraction while you are driving and because of where they are mounted on the windscreen or dashboard can create a blind spot.
The position of the dash cam in your car can also encourage car theft.
There are more advantages than disadvantages to having a dash cam fitted and more and more drivers are installing them.
If you have been involved in an accident you can ask witnesses with dash cam footage to provide you with this footage. This is something a personal injury expert should be able to help you access to support your claim.