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A pair of black devices with small monitors stuck with suckers to the inside of a car windshield with blue tint at the top, seen from inside the vehicle
Two dashcams on a windshield

A dash cam, dashboard camera, car DVR, or car black box is an onboard camera that continuously records the view through a vehicle's windscreen. It may be attached to the interior windscreen or to the top of the dashboard, by suction cup or adhesive-tape mount. Dashcams may provide video evidence in the event of a road accident. During parking, some dashcams still can capture video evidence if vandalism act is detected.


By targeted field of view:

  • exterior view (such as for recording the front view only, the back view, etc.)
  • cabin view (sometimes also called a "taxicam").


To ensure that recorded video files are not tampered with once they have been recorded, videos can be timestamped in a tamper-proof manner, a procedure termed trusted timestamping. One method for trusted timestamping video files involves immediately storing the unique hash of the file on the decentralized Blockchain of a cryptocurrency to securely prove its time of existence.[1]

To ensure a reliable 24/7 parking surveillance when capacity is an issue, a motion detector may be used to record only when an approaching human/vehicle is detected, in order to save power and storage media.[2]


Dashcam recording of the Chelyabinsk meteor

Dashcams are widespread in Russia[3] as a guard against police corruption and insurance fraud, where they provide additional evidence.[4] They have been called "ubiquitous" and "an on-line obsession", and are so prevalent that dashcam footage was the most common footage of the February 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor,[5] which was documented from at least a dozen angles. Thousands of videos showing automobile and aircraft crashes, close calls, and attempts at insurance fraud have been uploaded to social sharing websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Yandex, and other websites.

In the UK, sales of dash cams rocketed in 2015, which was the fastest growing consumer electronic, with sales increasing by 395%.[6]

In China, dash cams were well known by a dramatic event of a road rage. [7]

Dash cams have also captured numerous aviation accidents, such as National Airlines Flight 102[8] in 2013 and the Shoreham Airshow crash[9] in 2015.


While dashcams are gaining in popularity as a way of protection against distortion of facts, they also attract negative attitudes for privacy concerns. This is also reflected in the laws of different countries in different and conflicting ways:

  • Popular in many parts of Asia, Europe (particularly the U.K., France, and Russia, where they are explicitly allowed by regulations issued in 2009 by the Ministry of the Interior[10]), Australia, and the U.S.,
  • they are forbidden by law in Austria,[11] where they carry heavy fines.
  • In Switzerland, their use is strongly discouraged in public space as they may contravene data protection principles.[12]
  • In Germany,[13] while small cameras for personal use in vehicles are allowed, posting footage from them on social-media sites is considered a violation of privacy and thus forbidden. Dashcam footage may only be used in exceptional cases as evidence in a German court.
  • In Luxembourg, it is not illegal to possess a dashcam but it is illegal to use one to capture videos or still images in a public place (which includes in a vehicle on a public road). Recording using a dashcam may result in a fine or imprisonment.[14]
  • In Australia recording on public roadways is allowed as long as the recording does not infringe upon one's personal privacy in a way that may be deemed inappropriate in a court of law.[15]
  • In the United States, at the federal level, "the video taping of public events is protected under the First Amendment" right.[16] Videotaping of non-public events and videotaping-related issues, including sound recording and matters related to time of the day, venue, manner of recording, privacy concerns, implications on motor vehicle moving violation issues (such as whether the windshield view is being blocked), etc., are dealt with at the state level.
    • In the state of Maryland, for example, it is illegal to record anybody's voice without their consent, but it is legal to record without the other party's consent if the non-consenting party does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the conversation that is being recorded.
    • In other states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, it is always illegal regardless of whether or not there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, and in such states the person doing the recording would always be in violation of the law.
    • In Illinois, a law was passed that makes it illegal to record law enforcement officers even while in the performance of their public official duties.[17]

Police use[edit]

Police departments use dashcams in police vehicles to gather evidence during traffic stops and car chases.[18] Some dash cam systems can be automatically activated when a police car's emergency lights or siren are turned on.[19][20][21] Freedom of information laws mean that the footage can be released under some circumstances,[22] and this can be an important tool in reporting on police actions.[23] TV shows like World's Wildest Police Videos have frequently featured car chase videos shot from dashcams.

Some police officers accused of police brutality tamper with their cameras to disable audio or video recording.[24] In Chicago, 80% of the police dashcams did not work properly. Among the causes were that officers destroyed antennas, hid microphones, and removed batteries.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ B. Gipp, J. Kosti, and C. Breitinger. 2016. "Securing Video Integrity Using Decentralized Trusted Timestamping on the Blockchain" in Proceedings of the 10th Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Paphos, Cyprus.
  2. ^ "What is the best dash cam that can record while at parking mode for few days without draining car battery?". Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  3. ^ Lavrinc, Damon (2013-02-15). "Why Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam". Wired. 
  4. ^ Galperina, Marina (2012-06-13). "Why Russians Are Obsessed With Dash-Cams". Jalopnik.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  5. ^ "Russian dash cam video: From stunning to bizarre". CBS News. 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Dash cam sales grow faster than tablets and digital cameras in 2015". Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  7. ^ "Most Chinese internet users think female driver who was brutally assaulted in road rage attack DESERVED to be beaten after video shows her aggressive lane changing". Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sUWC2jfjqI
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4elbDgf2kro
  10. ^ http://www.stopca.ru/zakony/prikaz_mvd__185_ob_utverzhdenii_administrativnogo_reglamenta_mvd/
  11. ^ "Private Videoüberwachung: Datenschützer warnt vor Selbstjustiz". help.ORF.at. 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  12. ^ "Guidelines on video surveillance in vehicles (Dashcams)". edoeb.admin.ch. Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  13. ^ "Gerichtsurteil zu Videokameras im Auto: Dashcams verstoßen gegen Datenschutzgesetz". Der Spiegel. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  14. ^ "Les caméras de surveillance installées dans les voitures sont-elles licites ?". www.guichet.public.lu. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  15. ^ "Dashcams 101". Dashcams. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  16. ^ Opinion granting motion to dismiss. Maryland v. Graber. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  17. ^ In Spite of State Law, Maryland Law Enforcement Officials Still Arresting, Charging People for Recording Cops. Radley Balko. Reason.com 29 May 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Cross-Examining Film". ssrn.com. SSRN 1202043Freely accessible. 
  19. ^ "Local police support dash cam policies, protecting citizens and officers". KHOU. 25 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "LAPD officers tampered with in-car recording equipment, records show". latimes. 
  21. ^ "Court orders state police to hand over cruiser dash cam video of crash scene". PennLive.com. 
  22. ^ "Court rulings bolster public access to police videos". splc.org. 
  23. ^ "How a little-known, Uber-driving freelancer brought the lawsuit that forced Chicago to release a police shooting video". Columbia Journalism Review. 
  24. ^ Samuel Lieberman (2016-01-27). "Chicago Police Have Been Sabotaging Their Dash Cams". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  25. ^ Time: Chicago Police Officers Sabotaged Dashcams to Block Audio, Report Says

External links[edit]