If ever a topic was up for debate it’s the issue of whether or not dashcams serve a purpose? Should have one mounted in your truck? If you do, and you record an occurrence, will the footage be eligible to be used in a court case? Separately, there is an entirely different issue around the use of dashcams as a means of social media entertainment, whether for “laughs,” for the gore factor or just plain to “shame” somebody through posting their ineptitude on the road. Today, Service Pro Truck Lines weighs in on the dashcam debate.
Many drivers feel that any risks associated with a dashcam are worth the potential benefits. With mounting insurance premiums and even the possibility of a driver losing their Commercial License, a dashcam is often viewed as a “must” in the trucking world – able to show clearly whether speed, stopping distance, weather, car driver inattention or other issues were a factor in an accident between a big rig and another vehicle. Many feel it’s worth having the footage whether allowable in a court of law or not because it could still help with insurance, fleet investigations or simply peace of mind for drivers. If a dashcam is always set to record, you might even end up recording suspicious activity near your truck while stopped for a rest.
If you choose a dashcam, here are some key things to consider:
- Mounting a dash cam first and foremost must be done safely and if you are going to go to the trouble and expense, ensure you get one that mounts with something stronger than just a suction cup. These tend to come loose under certain driving conditions and in either high heat or extreme cold.
- Size of the SD support card. You’re on the road for a long time, every day and covering thousands of miles sometimes in a single week. Make sure you have a large enough memory capacity otherwise when you need it most, the recording you seek might not be available.
- Will you want GPS function? This can sometimes be helpful in the case of logging speed and location of the vehicle in an accident situation.
- Make your life easier with the purchase of a dashcam that starts recording the moment the key is turned in the ignition – again, if you have to manually start the recording it could be that the one day you have an accident is the day it simply does not exist.
- Audio or no audio? Personal choice – do you sing while you drive? Having a personal conversation with your spouse at home? The dashcam will record it all!!!
- Think about resolution, whether you do a great deal of driving at night (which might impact your dashcams ability to record) and whether you want or need wi-fi capability for downloading/transferring footage.
As to the question of whether you can use a dashcam here is what Ben Bloom, a Toronto Lawyer and privacy expert had to say: “In Canada, there’s no law that prevents somebody from installing a dash cam and recording while they drive.” The Canadian law that governs the use of these devices, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, protects your right to record in public. Since most roads are considered public, using a dash cam is perfectly legal.” (1) However, on the other hand, at border crossings, many border agents are not so cool about being recorded and may even deny you entry crossing into the US.
Finally, we leave you with these thoughts on whether using the footage is helpful and/or allowed. Again, the evidence is mixed. In many cases, first responders and investigating officers might actually ask if there is dashcam footage available to view after an accident has occurred. It could be an important piece of evidence and there’s an old saying we’ve heard before and that you might be familiar with yourself: “It is better to have and not need than to need and not have.” As to whether you should post that driver flagrantly disobeying the rules on social media? Another old saying comes to mind: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!” In other words, make sure your own driving is squeaky clean before you call someone else out on their driving! Will there be a dashcam under your tree this holiday season?
Service Pro Truck Lines – The Future of Trucking