Dash cams, also known as dashboard cameras or DVRs, have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Designed to record footage of the road in front of the vehicle, they’re most often used for providing evidence in the case of an accident. Before you install a dash cam in your own vehicle, there are some things you need to know.
Is it legal to use a dash cam in Australia?
Yes, it is legal to use a dash cam in all states of Australia. However, states have different laws regarding what kind of dash cam you can install and exactly how it can be used. For example, in NSW you can record footage using a dash cam, as long as you own the vehicle in which you have installed it. In Victoria it is illegal to film footage or record audio of any private conversation or act you are not a part of. Check the legislation for your state before you buy.
What should I look for in a dash cam?
Perhaps the most important factor in deciding which dash cam to use will be your budget. Prices range anywhere from $50 to $500+ and will not only affect the quality of the device, but the features offered as well. When choosing the best dash cam for your needs, you may wish to consider the following factors:
- Coverage: the two main options are a front and rear dash cam or front-facing only. Some also feature a secondary camera to record inside the vehicle cabin
- Parking mode: the camera continues recording when the vehicle is not running
- GPS/speed overlay: records your location and speed
- Resolution: most cameras are now 1080P Full HD. However, factors affecting quality include image sensor, camera lens and bitrate
- Internal battery: allows the dash cam to work without being permanently plugged in
Where should I place my dash cam?
It’s a legal requirement that your dash cam does not impede driver vision. You will also want to ensure that the placement gives the best view for the camera lens. For this reason, it is normally recommended to place the dash cam just behind or just below the rear vision mirror. Dash cams are usually attached with a suction cup or adhesive, and full instructions should be supplied with your purchase.
Do I need a dash cam?
Dash cams can be used for a number of purposes. If a driver is involved in an accident or incident, the footage can be used to determine who was at fault, for both legal reasons and insurance claims. Police may also request footage if a driver has captured evidence of an incident they were not involved in. Drivers may also use them for recreational purposes, capturing footage of scenic drives or off-road adventures. Alternatives to dash cams include smartphone apps, digital cameras and surveillance devices.
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