Dashcam Uses Explained
Curious about where dashcam footage can be used? What does the law say? We answer these questions and more here.
While most motorists purchase a dashcam to legally protect themselves, that footage can coincidently be used against you.
For example, if you take another motorist to court over an incident, there is the possibility that the judge could use your own footage against you, should you be in contempt of a motoring violation.
Yes, the police willingly accept dashcam footage of motoring violations and dangerous or reckless driving.
To submit footage to the police, you can either send it directly, usually via a link that the local police department might have on their website or via the National Dashcam Portal. It’s important to note that each clip sent must be accompanied by a written statement.
Any footage of an alleged offence should also start one to two minutes prior to the incident itself to ensure no previous incident may have led to or caused the violation in question.
For more information on how to send any footage or even the steps required to do so, please visit the National Dashcam Portal.
It is only possible for the police to prosecute with dashcam footage if it hits the minimum criteria:
- The footage must clearly show a motoring violation or a crime
- The footage must be accompanied by a relevant statement
- There must be an identifiable feature, such as a license plate
If the footage captures the above, a police officer will review it and make a decision on how best to proceed.
If they do, a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) will be filed and sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle in question. This is effectively to inform a potential defendant that they could be prosecuted for an offence that they have committed.
Under the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984, the police are legally allowed to take your dashcam if they believe footage on it can be used as evidence of, or in relation to an offence.
The police can deem it necessary to seize your dashcam to prevent evidence from being lost, concealed, altered or destroyed.
Yes, dashcams provide valuable information for the authorities and, in the result of a court case, they can provide evidence that would otherwise have been left to conjecture and hearsay.
However, the footage given can only be used as evidence if it clearly shows important details such as a number plate.
Dashcams are excellent at capturing the situation.
However, they’re not purposefully designed to detect speeding offences. The mathematics required to work out speed (such as time, velocity, distance and camera frames per second) can be used to work out the speed of a vehicle.
For example, if you’re involved in an incident where a 2nd party was speeding, the footage can be used to apprehend the individual if your dashcam is equipped with GPS tracking to determine your own speed. The 2nd party must also be going fast enough for it to be considered dangerous driving for it to be processed further. Although possible, it is time consuming and difficult.
Alternatively, this can also be used against you if you’re caught speeding due to the GPS tracking on the dashcam.
Depending on local legislation, police in the UK tend to keep dashcam video footage between 90 days and 30 months. This timeframe, however, can be extended if a case takes longer to resolve than anticipated.
For more information regarding this issue, it is best to contact your local police station directly.
Insurance companies have been known to offer cheaper insurance rates for those that have a dashcam and provide evidence of owning one.
It is also important that if you later make a claim without having footage from a dashcam to support your claim, you may have to repay any discounts given if you informed your insurer you had one. This can also lead to your policy being invalidated.
In the UK, it is perfectly legal to use a dashcam. However, many countries have restrictions on dashcams due to privacy laws surrounding consent. Make sure to check the laws of any countries you visit if you intend to drive with a dashcam before doing so.
While you can use a dashcam in your home, there are drawbacks to doing so. Firstly, you will require a constant power source to plug the dashcam into in order for it to operate for extended periods of time.
The second problem is the lack of video storage space available on the dashcam or SD card; if it’s constantly on, it will fill up quickly.
Dashcams make excellent cameras for out on the road, with added features designed specifically for driving and your safety.
While it is possible to use a dashcam for your home security, there are various disadvantages in doing so. The best feature that is considered vital for home security is motion detection. This will lead to a recording to activate upon motion of an intruder or passer-by, something that a dashcam lacks.
As well as power supply options and memory storage issues for extended recording time, a dashcam would not be a suitable option for home security. However, a dashcam is more suitable for a car or motorbike in order to keep you safe on the road.
GoPros were mainly designed to be used while doing extreme sports, physical activities or adventures and are mainly targeted at athletes or intrepid explorers. They also possess several other design safety issues that make them unsuitable for dashcams.
- A dashcam usually has a G-Sensor that identifies when an accident occurs, as it creates a video file to secure the footage from being overwritten. A GoPro lacks this feature.
- The battery life of a GoPro tends to be short and will require dismounting the camera entirely from the care to remove it and charge the battery.
- A dashcam turns on automatically with your car engine whereas you will have to manually turn it on and press record with a GoPro.
- Dashcams are built to withstand fluctuations in the temperature whereas there have been reported issues with GoPros struggling in adverse temperatures.
- GoPros are easier to spot and are well known to be expensive, leading to the possibility of your car being broken into.