A dashboard-mounted camera, or dash cam for short, is a compact recording device that sits on a cars dashboard or windshield. Depending on the direction faced, dash cams can record either the drivers perspective of the road or the actions of passengers and back seat riders. People may choose to invest in a dash cam for protection against insurance claims, lawsuits, or traffic disputes because they are an unbiased way of showing what really happened and potentially who was at fault during a car accident.
What are the Benefits of Having a Dash Cam Installed in My Vehicle?
â—Clear evidence in court. In addition to capturing video and/or audio footage of what really happened in an accident, most updated dash cam models also record logistical data such as speed and location. This makes it easier to determine the conditions of the road and other factors that may have led to the accident, which subsequently helps determine negligence and liability. If a judge agrees that the footage clearly and accurately represents what happened, it can be accepted as evidence and be viewed by a jury before deliberation.
- Determining liability in disputes with other drivers.
â— Expedited cases and settlements. It can be hard to argue with literal video evidence, so chances are the other party will admit to their negligence and settle sooner. Assuming the footage is clear and there is no sign of tampering, it can save time for everyone because there is no need to bring in witnesses for more questioning or over-analyze the photos or documents from the initial incident.
â— Preventing insurance fraud. This primarily helps with staged accidents. Dash cams will show what really happened before, during, and after the supposed accident.
â— Combating unfair traffic tickets or violations.
- Catching thieves and preventing vandals. Carjackers and robbers may be less inclined to try to break into a car if they see that there is a camera that will capture everything.
- Monitoring driver behavior. Trucking companies are able to keep eyes on their drivers to make sure they are following the specialized regulations required for driving large commercial vehicles. Some parents might also rely on dash cams to monitor their teens who are newer drivers.
- Identifying hit and run offenders. Obviously, there is no way to exchange contact information with a hit and run driver because they fled the scene right away. Drivers without dash cams would be forced to file a claim with their personal insurance, and they may have to go through a lengthy process trying to prove the incident even happened before they are entitled to any sort of compensation. However, the camera on the dashboard might capture something extremely valuable, such as the drivers face or the other vehicle and its plates. This information will make it significantly easier for police to track down the culprit, and even in cases in which they are unable to locate the driver, the footage will at least show insurance companies that an incident did in fact occur.
- Capturing instances of aggressive and reckless driving as well as road rage.
- Encouraging better driving. Knowing that the camera will capture everything that happens, drivers may try harder to pay attention to the road and follow the rules so that there is nothing to incriminate them. Better driving could mean less accidents and decreased insurance premiums down the line.
What are the Limitations and Disadvantages of a Dash Cam?
- Limited memory. Most cameras are able to hold only a certain amount of footage, generally a few hours at most. After that, the data is replaced with updated footage unless someone saves it to a cloud or other storage device.
- Quality issues. The opposing side may attempt to argue that the lack of proper lighting or clear visibility in lower quality videos do not fairly showcase what happened. With regular maintenance or an investment in a higher quality camera, this may be avoidable.
- No discounts for insurance premiums. Most insurance companies will generally offer discounts only for things they believe will decrease the number of accidents. The cameras may show what happened in an accident, but they do not stop accidents from happening.
â— Issues with insurance claims. If the video footage shows anything that could be considered negligence on the part of the driver, they may have a much more difficult time trying to receive compensation for an injury or damages.
Are There Legal Issues with Installing a Dash Cam in My Vehicle?
- Privacy laws. Some might argue that dash cams are technically surveillance devices because they record video and sometimes audio depending on the camera. Although there are no federal laws that prohibit recordings from dash cams, certain states may have their own individual laws or restrictions, so it is better to be safe and find out for sure. If a driver has a dash cam that records audio, they are legally required to inform their passengers or they run the risk of getting in trouble for wiretapping.
- All-party state laws. In all-party states, everyone in the car has to be okay with being recorded. If someone is recorded without their knowledge or consent, they have the option to file a civil suit or press criminal charges against the driver. However, this is only for audio recording; if the camera does not record audio, or the features have been turned off, the rules do not apply.
- One-party state laws. Only one person needs to consent to being recorded in one-party states, and that person can be the driver themselves.
- Laws regarding obstructed views. Depending on the state, there are certain laws and rules regarding the dimensions of the dash camera and the amount of space they are allowed to take up. The priority is to ensure the camera does not obstruct vision of the road and surroundings.
How Does a Dash Cam Affect Drivers?
- Safe drivers. Dash cams can be essential evidence used to protect drivers who are not at fault for incidents and interactions, and they can prove their innocence and get compensated.
- At-fault drivers. Without dash cam footage on either side, it would be one persons word against the others, and lawyers may have more wiggle room to try to defend their clients actions and poke holes in the opposing party’s argument. However, if there is footage, it can be used to implicate whoever is found to be at fault, even if the at-fault driver is the owner of the dash cam. Although people are not obligated to submit their dash cam footage on their own, if the other driver in the dispute gets a court order, there is a legal obligation to use it. Any tampering with the footage will most likely be considered destruction of evidence, and the guilty party can be further charged.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Fight for the Rights of Those Injured in Car Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, reach out to the Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. We have the experience to handle your claim and will fight to get you the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.