The Legality Of Dash Cams In California
Though just about everyone has watched a news report featuring a video taken from a police cruiser’s dash cam, it is quite rare to see similar footage taken from the inside of a civilian vehicle. Many people may, in fact, wonder whether installation of a dash cam in a conventional passenger car or truck is legal.
The answer to the question is yes. A dash cam is essentially a recording device designed to capture events that occur outside the car, whether visual or audible and do so in a constant loop. A dash cam may also have the ability to capture a driver’s speed, seat belt usage, braking and steering patterns and more. Legislators in California have determined that permitting installation of dash cams in private cars may incentivize safe driving and thereby lower the accident rate.
The Law In California
Though California permits dash cam installation as a general proposition, that is not to say that no limitations exist regarding its manner of usage and where they can be mounted. A private car’s dash cam needs to be away from the deployment zone of airbags, it must not exceed 7 square inches in size if placed in the lower right-hand corner, or it must be no bigger than 5 square inches if placed in the upper center of the windshield.
Motorists must make no mistake. Considering the dash cam’s ability to record video and sound, those who install these devices in their vehicles must always inform passengers that everything they say will be picked up and recorded. Dash cams in California must also have the ability to store data, and that data is deemed to be the property of the driver.
Key Reasons For Dash Cam Installation
Drivers may have some justification for wanting a dash cam installed in their private vehicle. A parent may have a desired to keep tabs on how a young teenage driver is performing while behind the wheel. A motorist may wish to create a record of what happens during a police stop if one should occur. A vehicle owner may want to preserve evidence in the event of a collision with another driver to make insurance claims easier to process.
Private use of dash cams was illegal in California before substantial regulations were put into place back in 2011. Now that detailed rules regarding matters of camera placement as well as passenger notification have been clarified, state authorities feel far more comfortable that dash cam use in civilian vehicles is acceptable, and perhaps even helpful.
Dash cam installation may be especially appealing to drivers who have had bad experiences in the past in which they were involved in auto accidents and subsequently faced difficulties in establishing another party’s fault to an insurance carrier’s satisfaction. Provided that vehicle owners follow the laws regarding their use and placement, cameras of this sort can be invaluable when it comes time to file and prove an insurance claim.
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