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What experiences are members having with dash cams? Which are bing used and at what expense? I can use my iPad, but really should, for safety reasons, have it in a mount. 

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This was taken through my windshield by one I paid about $60 for several years ago. If it interests you I can get the model tonight. It records about 12 hours on a little standard chip. Come see with a windshield suction cup mount. 



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I had a red light runner nearly total my daily driver about 3 or 4 years ago. Fortunately I was able to get an accurate police report before they started changing their story. I realized how close I'd come to a "he said, they said" situation where I'd have been held at least partly responsible and have had to pay pretty big bucks out of my own pocket. To prevent that possibility in the future, I purchased a dash cam so I'd always have a witness with me. The first dash cam died after a couple of years and I am on my second one, a Viofo A119s v2, and am pretty happy with it.


The big difference between a dash cam and something like a action camera is a dash cam will:

  • Start recording on power up.
  • Loop record. That is it records small (1 to 10 minute) videos and when the storage gets full it will erase the oldest video allowing a new video to be recorded.
  • Have a button (or other method) to save the current video. You can use it to assure that a video, like the one austinsailor posted above, is not written over by the loop mode logic.
  • Be able to record a time stamp and other information on the video.
  • Gracefully complete the video in progress when it is powered down.

On the legal front, near as I can tell recording video in public is legal in all US states. Not necessarily true in other countries with different privacy laws. Many/most dash cams can also record the sound inside the car. This may be a legal issue: Each US state has different laws about voice recording. Some states are "single permission" (i.e. only one person in a conversation needs to know and approve it being recorded), others are "multiple permission" (i.e. everyone being recorded needs to know and approve). So you may have to notify your passengers that anything they say is being recorded. And if you drop your car off at a mechanic, valet parking, or loan your car out you may need to either disable the sound recording or specifically notify each and everyone that may be in your car, etc. So you will probably do one of two things: Ignore the law and accept the possible legal consequences if a video with sound ever escapes your grasp. Or disable the sound recording. If my research is correct, California requires every participant to be informed while Arizona is single consent (only you the driver needs to know sound is being recorded). If/when I drive into other states with a dash cam, I'll look up their laws. . .


And, by the way, if you are in an accident and you delete the dash cam video of it and the other party gets wind of that you will be in a world of hurt for destruction of evidence with the presumption that you destroyed the evidence because it showed you guilty.


However IANAL, so take any of this legal stuff with as big a grain of salt as you can.


Rumor on the dash cam forums is that the cameras with batteries in them generally have a shorter life (stuck in the top of a windshield of a car parked in the sun will really cook them).


There are two schools of thought about having a dash cam with a built in GPS. The argument against is that they show the speed you were traveling and if you are shown to be speeding, even if that had no bearing on the accident, you will have an issue showing that you are in the clear. My current dash cam is setup with a GPS mount and records location and speed. I don't normally exceed the speed limit and I find videos with locations stamps useful for my side hobby of contributing to OpenStreetMap (the mapping equivalent of Wikipedia).


There are some dash cams made in Korea which apparently have a good reputation for quality. Most dash cams come from China. The odd thing about Chinese dash cams is that some are pretty good. But the good Chinese dash cams are then counterfeited by other Chinese companies with much less quality. So you have to be careful that you are getting the real deal from China and not the counterfeit from China.



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Thanks Todd. Here is another example of the value of this forum, other forums as well, but for me this one is more than sufficient. 

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