Many drivers are equipping their vehicles with dashboard cameras (dash cams) to record the events that lead up to a collision. These mini cameras are plugged into the vehicle’s electrical outlet and are attached with a window-mounted suction cup. They record on a never-ending loop once the car is started, with the idea being that no matter when an accident occurs, the dash cam will record it (if the collision happens from the front end) because the camera is always rolling.
Dash Cam Use in Russia
According to the news source Al Jazeera, one million Russians have outfitted their vehicles with dash cams to prevent police corruption. With many highly catastrophic collisions having been captured on camera to make their way online, the idea of dash cams has spread to other countries, not to decrease police corruption, but to capture evidence in case of an accident. But do they actually work as described? Is a Missouri motorist better off with a dash cam or is the hassle not worth it?
Usefulness of Dash Cams to Prove Negligence
While the idea of having a dash cam sounds excellent, they may not be as useful as some claim. While they can collect information about collisions that happen head-on and, in rare cases, can prove your innocence of running a red light or stoplight when ticketed by a police officer, they are not useful in other types of collisions, according to Auto Insurance Center. The field of view is limited to the front of the vehicle and does not offer very much useful data in collisions that occur from the side or rear end. Similarly, the low resolution of many of these cameras may not provide ample proof of what happened in a confusing, high-speed crash. One area where they may be useful is showing the severity of a head-on crash, or the severity of a collision that happens when a negligent party fails to yield to driver with the dash cam. In some of these scenarios, the damage to the vehicles may be low, while the actual injuries to the occupants filing a claim might be high. A dash cam could potentially reveal how violent a crash was if the damage to the vehicles does not.
Legality of Dash Cams
There are two issues with dash cams that may affect you legally. The first is the size of the device. Depending on the municipality in which you drive, dash cams of a certain size may not be legal. And, because the local laws change with your driving location, what may be legal in your city may not be legal in the next. The reason behind these laws is that dash cams, GPS units, and other devices can obstruct the driver’s view, as well as cause added distraction. Secondly, recording with a dash cam may fall under the category of illegal surveillance, depending on the location of where you happen to be driving. In the end, a competent car accident attorney is invaluable in any auto collision, and dash cams and other devices may offer little to legally aid your case. If you have been injured in a collision, contact an experienced Kansas City, Missouri, car accident attorney with the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.