Dashboard cameras also known as dash cams are becoming more and more common in the United States, especially recently due to the controversial stories about police brutality and inquiries into police conduct. The footage that is captured can sway the verdict by providing a clearer account of the series of events that occur. Dash cam footage can also be invaluable when determining fault in accidents or traffic violations. Unfortunately, this same evidence may not be admissible in court due to some loopholes in vehicular related incidents or misdemeanors.
In South Carolina, DUI arrests are to be captured on dash cams, but too often due to some technicalities, the footage is not deemed eligible as evidence. When it’s thrown out, unfortunately the remaining evidence, possibly police testimony, may not be enough to get a drunk driver convicted. It can devolve into a “your word against mine” type of argument, even with some documentation from the police officer.
What makes this footage un-usable?
It could be something as small as if the suspect steps off camera or if part of their body is cut-off. Though there are sound reasons for requiring full video footage, to require “perfect” footage is to throw the baby out with the bath water in many cases. In Russia or South Korea, dash cams are standard in most cars simply because of the sheer volume of people trying to claim they were hit by a car and committing insurance fraud. They are being installed as a protective measure against wrongful accusations, and to prevent losing time and money in false lawsuits.
There are no legal restrictions in the US on using dash cams, however, there are some related issues that you should be aware of. Normally, you are required to let people know that you’re recording them, so privacy laws may be used to accuse you of wire tapping if you record without prior consent. However, in most US states, in public places, such as roads, you have the right to record because invasion of privacy is not really a concern.
Dash cams can act as an insurance policy since it help absolve you of a wrongful charge, and though it doesn’t currently count as an official discount which will help lower your car insurance policy, it can still provide savings by:
Providing documentation in car accidents, especially in situations where there isn’t clear liability, it may help you to completely avoid charges or reduce them
- Record details that could help provide the full circumstances
- Evidence in hit-and-run accidents
- Record in-car Driver behavior and activity, especially helpful with new or risky drivers because it monitors them and can prevent them from being reckless
- Help protect you against car insurance fraud
There are benefits to having a dash cam record an incident. The footage can bring justice to those who abuse their driving rights and operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and endanger others, or to also help you clear your name and keep your record clean when you’re being wrongfully accused. Consider it an unofficial type of insurance policy that can not only save you money, but also a huge headache if you find yourself in a sticky situation.