Are Dash Cams Worth It?
The average American drives 11,498 miles each year according to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. That is the equivalent to driving from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. and back– twice! On average, U.S. drivers spend about an hour behind the wheel every day. With Americans spending more and more time on the road, it’s only natural that the car accessory market has expanded. Companies are coming up with new technology and gadgets to make our time spent in the car safer and more pleasant. A popular car accessory is the dash cam. What started out in police cars in the late 1980s has evolved over the years to include taxis, ride sharing vehicles, commercial vehicles and most recently, the general public. But are dash cams worth it? We take a look at the history of dash cams, and pros and cons of dash cams for the average driver.
What is a Dash Cam?
A dash cam, also known as a dashboard-mounted camera, is a video recording device designed to record sounds and images as you drive. They are typically mounted on the center of the windshield near your rear-view mirror. Different states have laws determining whether or not you can use a dash cam. Nevada law allows drivers to mount dash cams on their windshield.
Many dash cams record other data, as well. Some advanced units are equipped with GPS and an accelerometer, which can be used to determine vehicle speed and preserve footage taken just before a crash.
History of the Dash Cam
The dash cam started out as tripod-mounted analog cameras on the front or back windows of police vehicles. These early cameras were bulky, expensive, and had poor video quality. Understandably, the dash cam didn’t catch on. In the 1990s technology improved to provide cheaper car cameras, which police then used. However, the average American was not interested in dash cams for their own vehicles.
Russians popularized the use of dash cams in 2009 when there was an increase in insurance fraud being committed. Drivers were forced to pay large amounts of money even though they weren’t at fault. This propelled the Interior Ministry to permit citizens to install dash cams to protect themselves against false insurance claims. As the car cameras captured striking footage of everything from insurance fraud to meteor showers, the videos gained worldwide attention. So did dash cams.
Dash Cams Today
The various dash cam models of today are cheaper, smaller, and better quality. They are easy to install and can store hours of footage on memory cards. U.S. wholesale shipments of dash cams went up 20% in 2018 from 2017. But how do you know if a dash cam is right for you? Below we look at the pros and cons of this popular vehicle accessory.
Before we look at the pros and cons of dash cams, let’s discuss an important point. Should you become the victim in a Las Vegas area car accident, you’ll need experienced representation to help you gain the maximum compensation due you. Whether or not the accident was recorded on a dash cam, you’ll benefit from our experience. Start with a free consultation. Give us a call anytime, and schedule yours: (702) 857-6000.
Pros and Cons of Dash Cams
Even though dash cams are rising in popularity, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Take a look at these pros and cons to help decide are dash cams worth it for you.
- Monitor young drivers. Watching dash cam footage could help your new driver improve their skills on the road. Recording your young driver can also give parents peace of mind.
- Company protection. Taxi companies, trucking companies and other businesses can use dash cams to monitor employee vehicle use. The cameras can ensure that drivers don’t use the company car for personal interest or ensure drivers limit their fuel consumption.
- Evidence. Dash cam footage can provide evidence of what happened in a car accident. This could prevent you from being liable for expenses you’re not responsible for.
- Protection from insurance scams and fraud. Unfortunately, insurance fraud is fairly common. Some drivers cause car accidents on purpose to place blame on the other party. If the accident is recorded, you’re less likely to fall victim to fraudulent schemes.
- For fun. A dash cam can also be a great way to record fond memories of road trips. Or it can record unexpected sights like wildlife on the road that you might not have otherwise seen.
- Protects your parked car. If you have a dash cam model that has parking protection functionality, then the camera will automatically record when you leave your car unintended. Some dash cams even have the ability to stay on overnight without having to leave the engine on.
- Legality for dash cam use. States have different laws around how much of your windshield devices like a dash cam can take up. Not all cameras attach to the dashboard. Some cameras mount to your windshield using a suction cup. Nevada law allows drivers to mount cameras within reasonable size on their windshield.
- Morality issues. Since these cameras are recording both audio and visual, they might pick up a conversation or other noise. This is a form of surveillance and therefore could potentially break laws regarding surveillance. Drivers must also notify their passengers that they might be recorded while in the vehicle. Nevada law requires drivers to receive the consent of their passengers before using the dash cam.
- Distracted driving. A dash cam in normal, working order shouldn’t require any meddling. But if you find yourself fiddling with the dash cam while driving, then it could cause you to get into an accident.
- Problems with older models. Oder cameras might not have the capability to keep recording. They can automatically rewrite over old data, which means you could lose important footage.
Are Dash Cams Worth It for You?
Purchasing and installing a dash cam is a personal choice. After considering the above pros and cons, if you still want to get a camera for your vehicle consider the following:
- Price. The price tag on dash cams vary from $50 to $500. The more expensive models have extra features like Wi-Fi connectivity or GPS tracking. Figure out what features you truly need and if they are in your budget.
- Video resolution. A dash cam with poor resolution is not going to serve you when you need it for evidence. Make sure you have at least 100p.
- Low-light capability. We don’t just drive during the day. Choose a dash cam that has low-light capability for night time driving or poor visibility.
- Storage. Consumer Reports suggests having at least 32 gigabytes of storage.
- Ease of use. If you can’t figure out how to operate your camera, then it isn’t going to help you. Make sure you choose a model that is user friendly, unless you are particularly good with gadgets.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident that was recorded by a dash cam, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of car accidents, including accidents with large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Car accident attorneys at our Las Vegas legal firm offer you the best opportunity to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s okay to inform yourself with some data from the Internet, but when it comes to seeking maximum compensation, you’ll want to put your case in the hands of the experts: Anthem Injury Lawyers, serving Las Vegas and vicinity. Remember: we have the experience you seek – we’ve successfully handled numerous car accident cases and helped people get compensation that they likely couldn’t have obtained on their own. Call us today for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.