Should I Buy A Dashcam?

Most people have heard of police cars having dash cams installed in their vehicles, but what about personal vehicles? It is no longer uncommon for regular passenger vehicles on the roadway to have some kind of dash cam installed. These cameras have various purposes, and you may be wondering whether or not you should buy one for your vehicle. This is a topic of conversation that is particularly relevant as debate about police use of force and misconduct continues to rage across the United States. You need to get the answers to a few questions before deciding to buy a dash cam”

  • Is a dash cam a good investment?
  • What is the purpose of a dash cam?
  • Can you legally have a dashcam in Oregon?

Here, we want to explore dash cams and help answer these questions.

What are dash cameras?

Dash cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but are generally devices smaller than cell phones that attached to the inside of a person’s front windshield. A dash cam can be wired to turn on and start recording when the vehicle turns on, or it could be controlled manually by the driver. Some dash cameras record only video while others record video outside the vehicle and audio inside the vehicle.

What are the benefits of dash cameras?

There could be several benefits to having a dashcam installed in your vehicle. The most obvious of these are instances of vehicle accidents or if a person is accused of committing a traffic violation.

Have you ever been in a situation where two people saw the same thing but recall the events completely differently? That frequently happens in a car accident case, and these incidents can quickly turn into “he said, she said” moments. One of the best ways to prove the actual events of an accident is to obtain video footage. Victims of car accidents and their attorneys frequently look to obtain video footage from nearby businesses or homes in order to prove what happened. Similarly, if a person has a dashcam installed in their vehicle, then the dash cam could provide the evidence needed to show liability. A dash camera could also provide evidence of the violent nature of a collision and potentially support an injured party’s injury claims.

A dash camera could also be used in the event a person receives a traffic citation for a violation they believe they did not commit. However, the evidence gathered by a dash cam could be limited because it will only show one point of view. For instance, a dash camera may not be able to show the speed at which a person was driving. A dash cam could, however, refute evidence of reckless driving. For example, if a police officer accuses a driver of tailgating or swerving in and out of traffic, dash cam footage that shows otherwise could be used to beat the ticket.

It is important to keep in mind that evidence gathered on a dash cam could also be used against you. If you have footage, and other parties involved in an accident know that you have this footage, they could issue a subpoena to obtain it to show what happened.

Are dash cameras legal in Oregon?

Many states across the country have laws regarding what kind of objects can be in place in a driver’s windshield. Of particular concern are objects that could obstruct a driver’s view of the roadway. In Oregon, there are no specific laws that prohibit the use of cameras inside an automobile. However, 2017 ORS 815.220 states that it is illegal to obstruct vehicle windows by placing any material on the window that impairs the ability to see in or out of the vehicle. Without specifically mentioning dash cams, this law could be used to justify making these devices illegal.