Car dash cams have been increasing in popularity over the past few years. The cameras are mounted on the dashboard of your car, and designed to record the environment around you when you are driving.
Consumer Reports refers to dash cams as silent witnesses during accidents or traffic stops. The technology is fairly new however, and there are still concerns about whether dash cams truly provide a safer environment for the driver. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of dash cams.
Dash Cam Pros
The main reason millions of drivers have invested in dash cams is because the camera starts recording as soon as you start your engine, and provides real-time surveillance.
This video footage is very valuable when used as evidence in, for example, a hit-and-run accident.
Parents love dash cams for providing a recording every time a teenager takes the car out. The same holds true for taxi cab companies or rideshare services that can monitor employee behavior.
Insurance fraud has become common, and it affects both insurance companies and drivers. The problem is it affects honest drivers the most. That’s because criminals can cause car accidents on purpose, the blame on the other party, then try to extort money from the driver. This type of fraud is more common than you may think and happens most often with expensive vehicles.
Road Rage and Undisciplined Drivers
Anger levels are known to rise when traffic is bad and people are in a hurry. Most drivers have had at least one road rage encounter, but dash cams are a way to keep reckless motorist behavior in check. You never know if the person you are harassing has a dash cam, and could be recording your every move.
Dash Cam Cons
Generally, dash cams are considered safe. But they have certain features that make some drivers hesitant to install one.
This makes most people bristle, sit up, and take notice. Modern dash cams use wireless networking. Dash cams with Wi-Fi capability are therefore susceptible to hackers. Any device connected to the Internet can be hacked, which is to say that anyone with a BlackVue and password cracker could drive around getting into other people’s dash cams. Of course, that is pretty far-fetched, but technically, it could happen.
Dash cams could be considered just another gadget that distracts us from the sole purpose of driving safely. Usually the cameras are just plug-and-play, but if you’re trying to adjust the camera, it actually becomes a distraction and could cause an accident instead of preventing one.
Dash cams are valuable and sit prominently on your dashboard. That may tempt thieves to break into your car.
Depending on the laws regarding audio recording where you are, you may need to get permission from every passenger before you turn on the dash cam. Even in a serious accident, if you don’t have the required permissions, sometimes the evidence cannot be submitted in court. Also if you fail to tell your passengers that you are using a dash cam to record them, you could be put in murky legal situations.
Dash Cam or No Dash Cam?
Installing a dash cam is an individual decision, and there’s no overwhelming evidence either way to support having one. Insurance companies do not offer discounts for using them, but they are a sort of insurance policy in and of themselves.
Once you consider the cost of the device, and how interested you are in its protective features weighed against the risks, you can use your own circumstances to decide if a dash cam is indeed worth it for you.