Almost everyone has seen a story on the news that includes footage from the dashboard of a police cruiser. However, it’s much less common to see a video taken from the inside of a personal civilian vehicle, making many people wonder, is it even legal to install a dash cam in a conventional passenger vehicle?
You may be surprised to find out from our Los Angeles car accident attorney that the answer to that question is a resounding yes! Civilians are absolutely allowed to use a dashboard camera to capture visual and audible events that happen outside the car.
Most dash cams will record in a constant loop and have the ability to capture evidence of steering and braking patterns, seat belt usage, and driving speed. California legislators agree that allowing the installation of dash came in private vehicles may encourage safe driving and lead to a lower accident rate.
Law Limitations in California
Just because dash cams are permitted in California, doesn’t mean that there are no limitations pertaining to where they can be mounted and their manner of usage. All dash cams must be placed away from the areas where airbags may deploy. They also must be less than 5 square inches in size if attached to the upper center of the windshield, or less than 7 square inches in size when placed in the lower right-hand corner.
Also, you must inform passengers that their conversations in your vehicle will be automatically recorded due to the dash cam’s ability to record sound and video. Any data the cams store is considered to be the property of the driver.
Why Drivers Install Dash Cams
There can be many reasons why a car owner may want a dash cam installed in their vehicle. For example, a parent can keep tabs on how their teenage driver performs on the road. Or you may want a visual and audible record of any police stops if they should occur. Dash cams are also great for collecting evidence in the event of a car accident with another vehicle and will help your Los Angeles car accident lawyer prove your case to the insurance company.
Dash cams were illegal in private vehicles in California until 2011. That year, more detailed rules were established regarding passenger notification and camera placement, leaving state authorities more comfortable with dash cam use. They now feel that dash cams in civilian vehicles are justified and often helpful.
If you’ve previously been in an accident where you had difficulty proving to the insurance carrier that the other party was at fault, you might benefit from a dash cam for any future collisions. As long as you follow the laws in place for placement and use, cameras can pay for themselves in the event of an accident.
As the victim of a serious car accident, you need money to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.