Drivers risk a fine and points if they have a dashcam fitted to their car
Drivers could be hit with a fine and six penalty points on their license for using a dash cam incorrectly.
Many motorists are unaware of the rules in force in this country and even stricter laws abroad. Experts have put together seven facts about dash cams that many people don’t know.
Millions of people across the UK have fitted dash cams in their vehicles to help keep them safe on the road and provide a range of additional protections. Video recording devices often help resolve disputes on the road, including who is responsible for an accident, help police appeals, and make owners feel safer as they are seen as a means of deterrent for thieves.
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However, if you use a dash cam incorrectly, you could be hit with a £200 financial penalty. Using one can also affect the amount of insurance you pay.
1. Driving with a dash cam can lower your insurance premium
Gavin Hill, director of an insurer Adrian Flux said: “With the rise of ‘crash for cash’ criminals, there’s never been a better time to install a dash cam in your vehicle. Not only can it provide crucial evidence in the event accident, but it can also help reduce your annual premium.
“Not only can this video footage help settle a claim quickly and avoid a lot of added stress at an already upsetting time. But having a dash cam in the first place can lead to discounts of up to 15% on the cost of your insurance because car insurance companies know how beneficial technology is for all parties involved.”
2. Leaving your dash cam in your car could encourage theft
Conscious motorists will wonder if leaving their dash cam exposed in their vehicle will act as a deterrent to theft or if leaving this technology exposed will encourage thieves to enter the vehicle. The camera can be a sign to thieves that there might be other electronics in the vehicle or deter them from attempting a break-in if they think they might be caught on camera.
You can simply disconnect the camera and place it in the glove compartment when the vehicle is not in use, but remember to reconnect it before any trip.
3. Avoid using your phone as a dash cam
There are several dash cam options available in the market with various memory card capacities, but you can also consider downloading specialized dash cam apps and using your phone instead. The length of captured footage will be limited with apps though, so it’s worth considering a reliable dash cam that can start recording as soon as your vehicle starts.
Gavin Hill also says: “Any document that helps prove a driver’s innocence in the event of a dispute over the cause of an accident is generally well received. However, we strongly recommend that drivers continue to use conventional dash cams to capture their journeys while remembering to always obey the laws on mobile phone use while driving as well.
4. You can face a £200 fine if the dash cam blocks your view of the road
According to the Highway Code, windscreens and windows “must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision” – or you risk a £200 fine and six penalty points. So when positioning your dash cam, make sure you place it so it doesn’t obstruct your view of the road.
Additionally, if the dash cam interferes with your field of vision while driving, recorded footage may be inadmissible if used in a legal case in the event of an incident. So to avoid a fine, place the dash cam in the center at the bottom of the windshield or behind the rearview mirror so it doesn’t obstruct your view while driving.
5. You are legally obligated to inform others if the vehicle is not for personal use
Those who use a vehicle for the sole purpose of their job, such as taxi drivers, coach drivers, and even those who use a company vehicle, should inform passengers that a dash cam is being used. This is because many dash cams also record sound and the interior of the vehicle, which is a violation of privacy if passengers are unaware they are being recorded.
If the images are then used without their consent, you may face legal consequences. You can purchase stickers to place inside the vehicle that will let anyone entering that the vehicle has a dash cam.
6. The police may ask for your dash cam footage to prosecute you
Be aware that using a dash cam is a two-way street and the police may require your footage as evidence to prosecute you. The camera’s memory card can be seized by authorities if they suspect a crime has been committed, and many drivers have been surprised by their images serving as evidence against them.
7. Be sure to check dash cam laws before driving abroad
If you plan to drive abroad this summer, be sure to double-check the restrictions on dash cams in the country or countries you plan to drive in. Countries like Austria and Portugal completely ban the use of dash cams due to privacy laws, while in Luxembourg it is legal to own a dash cam, but it is strictly forbidden to film in a public space.
Tom Preston, founder of Hippo rental says, “Having a dash cam in your vehicle is the best way to protect yourself in the event of an accident or insurance claim. Not only can captured footage be used to reduce bounties, but it can also be used as vital evidence in court. We recommend that motorists take care where they place their dash cam gadget so it does not obstruct their view of the road and store it in the glove box when the vehicle is not in use to to deter thieves.
“For those planning to drive abroad this summer, be sure to check the laws around recording dash cams in the country(ies) you are visiting to avoid inadvertently breaking the law. .”