Most of us are familiar with use of dashboard cameras by police officers to provide a clear record of their activities. These devices have gained mainstream acceptance in Asian cities, where traffic is notoriously chaotic, and a record of a car accident is helpful.
The cameras can provide impartial evidence of traffic as seen through the windshield. Use of dashboard cameras is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
Technology of Dashboard Cameras
Standard “dash cams” have a certain amount of digital storage. They hold several hours of footage. Once the memory is full, the oldest files are overwritten. These units cost around $50 to $150, with additional costs for installation.
Advanced dashboard cameras include additional features, such as GPS tagging to show the exact location, date, and time of each recording, as well as the vehicle’s speed. Some of these devices include Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity options that allow video uploads.
Some cars are now sold with built-in cameras. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Camaro performance packages include their Performance Data Recorder (PDR) system, including telemetry that records GPS data, engine speed, throttle position, brake force, and steering wheel angle. Cadillac offers a system with forward and rearward-looking cameras, storing data to an SD card.
Some advanced systems are even equipped with a motion sensor that can upload video to your computer or mobile device. It is possible to use these systems to thwart vandalism or catch an offender.
Advantages of Using a Dashboard Camera
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that $34 billion is lost each year to fraudulent claims for property and casualty coverage. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, auto insurance fraud accounts for most of the fraudulent claims. Insurance companies pass the losses on to consumers, in what is sometimes called the fraud tax. This can increase the average driver’s insurance costs by anywhere from 10 to 25 percent.
Disadvantages of Using a Dashboard Camera
The only real concern about using these cameras is steering clear of potential violations of laws protecting privacy. For example, in some states, it is illegal to make an audio recording of someone without their permission. However, this can be easily addressed by switching off in-car audio, if that is a function of the device.
In addition, sometimes recording a police interrogation is not permitted. However, this area of law is changing rapidly. Generally, there are no legal bars to recording public activity.
If you happen to be at fault in an accident, then the recording can serve to work against you. The two most common instances of this include rear-ending a car, or cutting someone off when making a turn or changing lanes. These are considered as proving fault, regardless of whether or not a recording of the accident exists.
If you are in this situation, do not delete the footage. This is considered evidence and may be subpoenaed by a court. Destruction of evidence in a civil case can lead to the jury inferring there was something on the footage that was unfavorable. Tampering with evidence in a criminal case is illegal.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Injured in Car Accidents
If you have been involved in a car accident and have questions about use of a dash cam in recording it, contact the experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC for assistance. Call us at 302-888-1221 or complete an online form to arrange for a free initial consultation.
We serve clients throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Chester County and Delaware County.