Drivers have been warned they could end up with a £200 fine when using their dash cams.
The little cameras can be a risk for car owners and experts are warning motorists to be aware of the rules before they take to the road.
GlasgowLive reported cameras are illegal in some countries in Europe – with drivers encouraged to check local laws before heading over with their car.
Tom Preston, Founder of Hippo Leasing says: “Having a dash cam in your vehicle is the best way to protect yourself in the event of an accident or an insurance claim.
“Not only can the footage captured be used to bring premiums down, it can also be used as vital evidence in court.
“We would recommend motorists be mindful of where they position their dash cam gadget so as not to obstruct their view of the road.
“And to put it away into the glove compartment when the vehicle is not in use in order to deter thieves.
“For those planning on driving abroad this summer, be sure to double check legislation for recording on dash cams in the country or countries you visit to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.”
Along with cautioning drivers over the dangers of dash cams, Hippo Leasing have shared seven unexpected things you may not know about dash cams.
- Driving with a dash cam can lower your insurance premium
Gavin Hill, manager at insurance provider Adrian Flux says: “With the rise in ‘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 of an accident, but it can also help to lower your annual premium too.
That video footage can not only help settle a claim quickly and avoid lots 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 per cent off the cost of your insurance because car insurance companies know how beneficial the technology is for all parties concerned.”
- Leaving your dash cam in your car could encourage theft
Mindful motorists will be wondering if leaving their dash cam on show in their vehicle will act as a theft deterrent or whether leaving this bit of tech on show will encourage thieves to break into their vehicle.
The camera may be a sign to thieves that there could be other electronic devices in the vehicle or put them off attempting a break-in if they believe they could be filmed.
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 journey.
- Avoid using your phone as a dash cam
There are several dash cam options available on the market with various memory card capabilities, but you can also look into downloading specialist dash cam apps and using your phone instead.
The length of footage captured however will be limited with apps, so it is worth considering a reliable dash cam that can start recording as soon as your vehicle starts.
Gavin Hill also says: “Any material that helps prove a driver’s innocence if there is a dispute over the cause of a crash is usually well received.
“However, we would strongly recommend that drivers continue to use conventional in-car cameras to capture their journeys while remembering to always adhere to laws about mobile phone usage while behind the wheel too.”
- 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 could face a £200 fine and six penalty points.
When positioning your dash cam, be sure to place it in a way that does not obstruct your view of the road.
Also, if the dash cam hinders your field of vision while driving, the footage recorded may be inadmissible if used in a court case in the eventuality of an incident.
So to avoid a fine, fit the dash camera in the centre at the bottom of the windshield or behind the rearview mirror to avoid obstructing your view whilst driving.
- You’re legally obliged 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 using a company vehicle, must inform passengers that a dash cam is in use.
This is because many dash cams will also record sound and the inside of the vehicle, which is a breach of privacy if passengers are unaware that they are being recorded.
If the footage is then used without their consent, you can face legal consequences.
You can purchase sticker signs to place inside the vehicle which will inform anyone entering that the vehicle is fitted with a dash cam.
- Police can request your dash cam footage to prosecute you
Be aware that the use of a dash cam is a two-way street and the police can demand your footage as evidence to prosecute you.
The memory card from the camera can be seized by authorities if they suspect that an offence has been committed, and many drivers have been caught out by their footage acting as evidence against them.
- Make sure to check dash cam legislation before driving abroad
If you’re planning on driving abroad this summer, be sure to double-check the restrictions on dash cams in the country or countries you intend to drive in.
Countries such as Austria and Portugal have a complete ban on the use of dash cams due to privacy laws, whilst in Luxembourg is it legal to own a dash cam but it is strictly prohibited to film in a public space.