Everyone has watched at least one news report where they showed a video captured by the dash cam of a police cruiser. Police cars are not the only ones to use such cameras though; even the rare civilian vehicle is fitted with equipment of this kind, and that includes trucks. The most relevant matter in such cases is the legality of such an installation.
The short and definitive answer is that dash cams are, in fact, legal to install in civilian vehicles. These are in place to visually and audibly record events happening outside the car or truck, and to do that in a non-stop loop. Some dash cams can also record seat belt usage, speed, steering and braking patterns, etc. Lawmakers in the state of California have found that legalizing dash cam installation in private cars can effectively urge a majority of people towards safe driving practices, consequently lowering crash rates.
The Requirements under California Law
Dash cams cannot be installed just anyhow in the state of California; the law mandates certain limitations with regard to the manner of usage and placement. The dash cam must be kept away from the airbag deployment zone, and should be no larger than 7 square inches if it is placed in the vehicle’s lower-right corner. If placed in the windshield’s upper center, it should not exceed 5 square inches in size.
Motorists would also find it smart to drive without making mistakes, and are required to inform every passenger that their verbal statements are being recorded. California law deems the data picked up and stored this way to be the driver’s legal property.
Reasons to Install a Dash Cam
Various factors justify installing a dash cam in your car or truck, such as when you wish to keep tabs on your teenaged kid in terms of how they conduct themselves behind the wheel. A motorist may also wish to record events after they are pulled over by police, or make sure they have evidence in the event of a car or truck accident, so that they can claim insurance or present the footage in court.
As any vehicle accident lawyer can tell you, vehicle owners with dash cams installed in their rides should make sure to follow their regional road laws to the letter, because everything they do would be recorded by the camera.