Should All New Cars Come with Dashcams?
It’s a fair question. Most police cars are equipped with dashcams to hold the offices, and others, accountable for police interactions. But police cars aren’t the only vehicles equipped with dashcams. These cameras can be purchased individually as an accessory for any vehicle on the road.
Dashcams are highly effective ways of capturing accidents, mishaps, and other problems that may occur on the road. Dashcam footage can even be used in legal investigations if a crime was committed. But the use of dashcams in civilian vehicles is something else entirely.
In the past, many have argued that with modern technology, dashcams should be standard on every new vehicle that rolls off the line:
All cars from the factory should have dash-cams / recording systems. Seems like a no-brainer the tech is so cheap now & protects drivers.
— Adam Singer (@AdamSinger) August 13, 2016
All cars should have a dash cam installed, then no one can argue over who’s fault it is.
— K a m r a n (@KAM2AN) July 30, 2015
Not only can drivers bring forward evidence in the event of an accident, but the footage can also help insurance companies properly compensate drivers based on the event that took place. It holds all parties accountable for their actions on the road, making it easier than ever to identify who was at fault in an incident.
But, while many are pro-dashcam, there are also people on the other side of the argument; having a dashcam is great, but forcing someone to equip their vehicle with a dashcam is a whole different ball game. So, here’s the question: should every civilian-occupied vehicle be legally required to have an activated dashcam?
Simply put, no.
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Don’t get me wrong, I think dashcams are valuable tools to have behind the wheel. If you decide to put a dashcam in your car, it leaves no question to who was at fault or whether or not something happened the way it was remembered. It creates documented, real-time footage of the event. The problem with integrating them into production is the complete removal of the driver’s right to make the decision.
As of right now, dashcams are voluntary for civilians in the United States. You can buy one for your car and set it up on your dashboard, activating and deactivating it whenever you would like.
The implementation of a law that would require everyday civilians to equip their vehicles with an activated dashcam is a violation of privacy.
If you’re driving on public roads, you may be filmed in someone else’s dashcam. Protected under constitutional law, specifically the First Amendment, if you are on public property, including public streets, it is perfectly legal for someone to photograph or film you. However, forcing you to equip your vehicle with a camera extends beyond public property. These cameras would follow your vehicle everywhere it goes: on public and private streets, on your own property, and potentially in your own home or garage.
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If all automotive manufacturers were legally required to include built-in dashcams as a standard, unalterable feature on each new vehicle, the rights of consumers would be stripped away. If a consumer wanted a new car, they would have no other choice than to have an activated dashcam. And what about older vehicles? If all new cars are legally required to have dashcams, would all registered vehicles be legally required to install them? It’s a slippery slope.
However, if auto manufacturers offer built-in dashcams as an option on new vehicles, that’s a little different. Having the built-in feature as available rather than standard gives drivers a chance to opt out before purchasing the vehicle. If dashcams are built into every new vehicle on the market, the rights of consumers are being stripped away.
What do you think? Should all new vehicles be required to have built-in dashcams?
Meg Thomson is a writer, photographer, blogger, and activist. When she isn’t writing, Meg can be found immersing herself in television scripts, adopting and playing with animals, or updating lists of her dream travel destinations (the list never ends). Meg believes writing is power, and equality is essential. She is determined to make a difference in the world, one word at a time. See more articles by Meg.