Do you plan on installing a dash cam for your car but are still unsure about it? 🤔 Many car owners choose to have dash cams for a number of different reasons. For some, dash cams have become a necessity while others only see them as an optional car accessory. It all depends on your personal reasons for wanting to have one installed on your car. To help you decide, here’s everything you need to know about dash cams.
Is It Legal to Install a Dash Cam?
Yes, it’s legal in the UK to install a dash cam in your car. There’s no need to get a permit to use one. All you have to do is plug in the device and start using it. However, if you incorrectly install the dash cam, it’s possible that you could be breaking the law. Here’s what you should remember:
- The dash cam should not be obstructing your vision while you’re driving.
- You might be fined if the police assessed and decided that the device was positioned unsafely.
- Incorrect installation can also make any recorded footage inadmissible in court, in case you were a witness to a road accident, for example.
According to the Department of Transport, drivers need to make sure that they can see the road and traffic clearly at all times. Also, it’s not only dash cams that drivers need to install correctly. This also applies to smartphones and other items that may restrict their vision while they’re driving.
To check if your vision is being obstructed by any device or object, turn on your windscreen wiper and observe the area it covers. That’s the area where there shouldn’t be anything to distract you or obstruct your view of the road and the traffic ahead.
When is a Dash Cam Footage Used in Court?
Dash cams that have recorded a road accident or someone driving recklessly can be admitted as evidence in court. Without video footage, there are only the testimonies of witnesses and speculation. Recorded videos can help in determining who is at fault and whether a driver is indeed being irresponsible on the road.
Some of the cases where dash cam videos helped a great deal in catching the culprits include hit-and-run incidents, road rage attacks, roadside scams, carjacking and other related crimes. Today, dash cam videos are regularly seen on the local news because communities and authorities make use of them when it comes to tracking down lawbreakers.
When Should I Inform Others About My Dash Cam?
If your vehicle is not for personal use, it’s important that you inform your passengers that you have a dash cam installed in your car. Most dash cams actually record sound and also video record what’s happening inside the vehicle.
In case you’re sharing the car with others, such as co-workers in the company you work for, then they ought to know that you installed a dash cam in the company vehicle. If they are unaware that a device is recording them while using the vehicle, then it’s a serious breach of their privacy. In installing a dash cam in a shared vehicle, you have the responsibility of letting other users know about the device.
This also applies to cabbies, coach drivers, and minicab drivers. It’s a must to inform every passenger entering their vehicle that there is a dash cam installed and recording what’s happening inside and outside of the vehicle. Failing to do this could lead to serious legal consequences, especially in the event that the footage is used without the consent of the passengers involved.
Why Do Drivers Use Dash Cams?
Many UK drivers choose to install dash cams in their vehicles so that they could protect themselves in case of any untoward incidents like road accidents. If you share the same reason for wanting to use a dash cam, then keep in mind that while you may use footage from the device against another, the same could be used against you.
Here’s a scenario: the police pull you over for a speeding violation and ask you to present your device footage so they can review it. The authorities can easily determine if you were guilty of speeding by checking the dash cam with GPS tracking. In case you were indeed going beyond the speed limit, keep in mind not to delete any footage because you’d be tampering with evidence.
What’s the National Dash Cam Safety Portal?
This platform allows dash cam users to submit video footage of a road incident to the authorities. The National Dash Cam Safety Portal was launched by Nextbase, a dash cam manufacturer. Here’s how you can use the portal:
- On the website, you will see a map of the counties of England and Wales, select the county where the incident happened.
- You will then be redirected to a report page for that county where you can submit the video footage from your dash cam.
- If you were able to capture footage of a hit-and-run, dangerous driving, speeding, and other road-related incidents, you may submit the video footage.
Do keep in mind that since you’re using the platform, you will be helping the authorities, and therefore you’ll be asked to fill out an official police report. Do not worry about appearing or attending a court hearing because it is very unlikely that it would be necessary for you to do that.
However, if the case is a serious one that needs your testimonial as a witness, then that might be an exemption. Another thing to remember is that you don’t need to surrender the device or hard drive to the authorities. All they need is an untampered, unedited copy of the footage.