Dash cams can be a bit of a double-edged sword. While they devices deliver numerous benefits, such as providing evidence in case of an incident or enabling reduced insurance premiums, many countries have been hesitant to adopt these in-vehicle recording devices in order to respect privacy or safety laws. Let’s take a journey around the world to see where the benefits of dash cams are being reaped and where they are being denied.
Of all of the regions of the world, Europe represents the most diversity in terms of its relationship to dash cams. Although Europe has about half of the global market share for automotive dash cameras, many nations in the region have placed an outright ban on the devices.
In countries like Russia, almost all citizens own and employ dash cams in their private vehicles, due to significant police corruption, high rates of accidents, and unsafe road conditions, as well as their low cost and easily availability. On the other hand, in countries like Portugal, Luxembourg, and Austria, the use of dash cams or recording devices in public is illegal and violators will face heavy fines for breaking these laws.
Here, the biggest hurdle towards European dash cam adoption is overcoming privacy infringement. France and Belgium jump over this hurdle by only legalizing dash cams for private use, but preventing dash cam users from uploading footage publicly online. Germany recently passed a law that accepts dash cam footage as evidence in the highest court, but still rules that any public footage from dash cams must have license plates, faces, and any other personal imagery obscured or blurred to protect privacy.
Like Russia, dash cams are perfectly legal in Spain and the UK, both of which have the largest potential for growth in the European dash cam market. The only law about dash cams here is that they must not obstruct the driver’s field of vision or hinder their driving. Dash cams are also legal in Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Malta, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, but each country has varying laws about the use of dash cams in relation to privacy and admissible evidence.
Now you know when you’re planning your trip across Europe to avoid the police in Russia, ditch your dash cam in Austria, and that your privacy will be respected in France. You can record yourself speeding down the autobahn as much as you’d like, but make sure you blur out everyone else.
Although the European dash cam market is currently the world’s largest, the Asia Pacific one is expected to have the highest revenue growth in the upcoming years. Taiwan, South Korea, and China are home to a large portion of global dash cam manufacturers, increasing the popularity of the device in this region.
Over the past few years, China has seen a 20% increase in the use of dash cams, and that number will continue to grow as China is already the largest automobile market in the world. Simply put, more cars means more dash cams!
China currently holds the largest market share for dash cams in Asia, but other countries in the region are seeing rapid growth as well. Increasing vehicle sales in India and South Korea will also bring more dash cams to the area. Problems with road safety and fraud in South East Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have led to rapid dash cam adoption in these nations, as people want to better protect themselves. Many of these countries are notorious for crazy and dangerous driving, so if you bring a dash cam along for yourself, maybe you’ll catch some footage that is worthy of going viral.
Japan is an outlier in this region, as dash cams in this country are primarily focused on commercial applications, rather than for use primarily by private citizens. Car rental firms, taxis, and police across the nation employ dash cams in their fleets to monitor drivers and enhance efficiency.
Crossing the Pacific, we arrive in North America, where dash cams have been on the rise around the United States and Canada. While Asia has the highest potential for growth, North America only lags slightly behind ahead of Europe.
Canada and the US see a combination of consumer and commercial uses for in-vehicle drive recorders. In terms of the commercial sector, America has a large trucking and haulage industry, as well as increasingly popular ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, leaving room for growth here. However, as Canada and the US are broken down into individual states with unique laws, the legality of dash cams varies among these different states or provinces.
While Europe battles privacy issues, the US cares more about dash cams obstructing the windshield and the driver’s field of vision. States like California and Colorado allow dash cams to be mounted on the windshield, whereas states like Texas and New York forbid anything “non-transparent” to be mounted there. This is not to say that dash cameras themselves are illegal, but that drivers must be careful of where they place them in their vehicles.
While recording video is completely legal in the US, recording audio is not always permissible. So, you can record the road in front of you and inside your car, but be careful about picking up private conversations. Think about all of the deep, personal talks you’ve had inside of your car. You’d probably not want those to be documented.
All in all, dash cams are powerful tools that benefit drivers, fleet managers, and law enforcement officers around the world. As they continue to integrate more advanced AI prevention and driver monitoring features, they are sure to continue to grow in popularity and the world will become a safer and more accountable place. Just make sure you aren’t breaking any laws in the meantime.
Written by Bria Rosenberg, Intern at VIA Technologies, Inc.
In recent years VIA has garnered extensive feedback from customers operating in the broader Fleet Management sector. This has given us valuable insights that have helped hone our approach to product development. The result is the VIA Mobile360 AI Dash Cam, a full-featured, compact dual-camera device with support for Forward Collision Warning, Rear Collision Warning, and an advanced Driver Monitoring System.
The VIA Mobile360 D700 is AWS IoT Core Qualified and AWS Kinesis Video Streams Qualified. It features an SDK with AWS IoT Core and Amazon KVS live video streaming development and Android /iOS smartphone reference apps, and also comes with a 30-day free trial of the VIA Fleet Cloud Management Portal powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), including 50 hours of live streaming with Amazon KVS.
Learn more about the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam.
You can also check out this short introductory video: