Is It Lawful To Install A Dashboard Camera In Pennsylvania? Yes, But There Are Legal Restrictions

Posted By: SSF Law Firm
Posted In:Car Accident
Posted On: October 19 , 2018

It may sound surprising to some, but recording videos of meteors streaking across the sky is not the only purpose of a dashboard camera. Dashcam sales have been rising at an exponential rate for the past few years, as an increasing number of safety-conscious drivers in Pennsylvania are looking to equip their vehicles with a device that can potentially reduce car accidents.

Fact: Wholesale shipments of dashboard cameras in the U.S. in 2018 is up 20 percent from the previous year.

But why would drivers want to document their experiences on the road and capture it on video, let alone have an audio recording of what goes on inside the vehicle? Our Pittsburgh car accident attorney at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman explains that the use of dashboard cameras inside vehicles can encourage drivers to drive safely and avoid accidents.

Besides, Pennsylvania law permits drivers to install dash cameras in their private cars but only as long as they comply with certain restrictions. In particular, Pennsylvania law is very strict about the proper placement of the dashcam in a vehicle.

Fact: The use of dashboard cams was made popular by several countries, including Russia. Millions of drivers in Russia installed video and audio recording devices to fight against insurance fraud, angry drivers, and illegal behavior by police officers during a traffic stop.

Placement of a dashboard camera

Under Pennsylvania law, dashboard cameras must be installed outside the range of airbag deployment in:

  • the lower right corner of the windshield in an area that does not exceed7 square inches;
  • the lower left corner of the windshield in an area that does not exceed 5 square inches; or
  • the upper center portion of the windshield in an area that does not exceed 5 square inches.

As you can see, there are three options when it comes to the placement of a dashboard camera that meets the legal restrictions.

Capabilities of dash cameras

The capabilities of dash cameras are also regulated by Pennsylvania law. In particular, Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code, which refers to dashboard cams as “video event recorders,” permits the recording of audio and video information. In addition to that, the device can also record your driving speed, seat belt usage, as well as patterns of the steering and braking systems.

Many dash cams allow the driver to choose how and when the recording function must be triggered. Some choose the crash or unusual motion as the trigger of the camera’s recording function, while others choose to keep recording throughout their trip to monitor their driving performance and be able to record everything.

Audio recording and privacy concerns

“Under Pennsylvania law, dash cameras must be able to record and save audio data in addition to visual recordings,” says our experienced car accident attorney in Pittsburgh. For this reason, many drivers are reluctant to install dash cams because the requirement to record audio data raises privacy concerns.

Pennsylvania law, which prohibits making an audio recording unless both parties are aware of the recording, requires you to post a notice in a visible place to warn your passengers that the conversation is being recorded by the dashboard cam.

A dash camera can be an invaluable tool when it comes to establishing fault and seeking compensation from insurance companies. If you do not have a dashboard cam yet, consider getting one. But before you do, consult with our Pittsburgh car accident attorney to find out more about the legal restrictions. Get a free consultation by contacting our lawyers at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman. Call at 888-98-TWINS(89467).

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