You can attach dash cams to your car’s dash and windshield for your own protection. They provide video evidence of what happens while driving, and police and insurance companies may find your video meaningful when a car accident occurs. This has led many people to ask, “Are dash cams legal?” Generally, dashcams are legal. But there are some things dash cam owners should know before installing a dash cam.
No federal laws govern dash cams, as regulation is left to the states. Some states have specific laws that address dash cams, while others do not. If you are in a state with specific dash cam laws, it is essential to know what they are before installing a dash cam in your car. In some cases, dashcams may be considered a distraction. If you are in a state where the law doesn’t mention dashcams specifically, check if they fall under your state’s distracted driving laws (if there are any).
Dash Cam Dos and Don’ts
Following the guidelines below will keep you out of trouble with local law enforcement everywhere when using your dash cam.
- Mount the camera in a place where it doesn’t obstruct your view. Installation behind the rearview mirror or on the dashboard itself is best.
- Inform passengers that your dash cam records video (and audio, if necessary).
- Comply with all local electronic surveillance laws. Dash cams are considered surveillance devices.
- Record video on private property.
- Mount dash cams in a way that doesn’t securely hold the device to the mounting surface. It can become a projectile in a car accident if it isn’t mounted correctly.
- Leave the dash cam’s video screen on while driving. Some states have laws against using video screens while the car is in motion.
For more specific dashcam information, keep reading.
Dash Cam Laws By State
As a general rule, as long as the dash cam doesn’t obstruct the driver’s vision, you shouldn’t have any issues. However, some states have specific regulations, which we’ve listed below. States in red are where dash cam use appears illegal due to state law.
Most states prohibit dashcams on the windshield, but most permit dashboard mounting. Contact local law enforcement for more information about your state’s dashcam laws.
Are dash cams legal in Alabama?
Drivers in Alabama can not place dash cams on the windshield because it obstructs the driver’s view. Drivers may mount the dash cam to the dashboard, however.
Are dash cams legal in Alaska?
Alaska Statute 13.04.225 makes dash cam use legal as long as the driver’s view isn’t obstructed and smaller than 5 inches on one side when mounted on the driver’s side and 7 inches on the passenger side.
Are dash cams legal in Arizona?
Arizona’s dash cam law is similar to Alaska’s, with a size limit of 5 “x5″ when mounted on the driver’s side and 7″ x 7” on the passenger side.
Are dash cams legal in Arkansas?
Arkansas law states dash cams are legal if the dash cam is placed behind the mirror.
Are dash cams legal in California?
California law permits dashboard cameras and exempts them from laws against anything blocking the windshield. However, it states the dashboard camera should be placed in the lower portion of the windshield, with a size limit of 5 “x5” when mounted on the driver’s side and 7 “x7” on the passenger side.
Are dash cams legal in Colorado?
Dash cams are legal in Colorado as long as they are placed behind the rearview mirror and don’t have mirrored or reflective surfaces.
Are dash cams legal in Connecticut?
Connecticut prohibits obstructing the windshield in any way. This includes dash cameras. Use caution when using a dash cam within the state.
Are dash cams legal in Delaware?
Delaware law states that “no person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway with any sign, poster or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, side wings or side or rear window of such motor vehicle.” Mount your dash cam to the dashboard instead.
Are dash cams legal in the District of Columbia?
Dash cams are legal in DC if they’re not windshield mounted. DC also requires passenger consent if you use your dash cam’s audio recording functionality.
Are dash cams legal in Florida?
Florida has no specific laws against dashcam use. However, it does discourage windshield obstructions, including dash cams.
Are dash cams legal in Georgia?
In Georgia, dashboard cameras are perfectly legal; however, mounting them on the windshield is prohibited. Drivers are permitted to record both audio and video.
Are dash cams legal in Hawaii?
Hawaii law allows dashcams up to 5 “x5” in size to be placed on the corners of the windshield or in other non-obstructive locations.
Are dash cams legal in Idaho?
Idaho drivers must place their dash cams on the dashboard surface as they are considered a “non-transparent material” and can’t be placed on the windshield by law.
Are dash cams legal in Illinois?
Drivers can install dash cams if they don’t obstruct the driver’s view, are no larger than 5″, and are placed on the left side of the car dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Indiana?
Dash cams in Indiana can be no larger than 4″ and must be placed on the bottom passenger side of the windshield.
Are dash cams legal in Iowa?
Iowa doesn’t have any specific laws on dash cams. However, the law states, “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle equipped with a windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows which do not permit clear vision.”
Are dash cams legal in Kansas?
Dash cams in Kansas are legal if they don’t obstruct the driver’s view.
Are dash cams legal in Kentucky?
Kentucky doesn’t have specific laws on dash cam size or placement, so it should be legal as long as it doesn’t impede the driver’s view of the road.
Are dash cams legal in Louisiana?
Louisana laws state that “no person may operate a motor vehicle with any object or material that obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view through the windshield.” Mount the dash cam to the dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Maine?
Maine explicitly permits the mounting of dash cams on both windshields and dashboards as long as the driver’s view is not obstructed.
Are dash cams legal in Maryland?
Maryland law is quite specific on the placement of dash cams. Drivers must place dash cams above the “AS-1 line,” which is a line marked on most windshields (look on sides near the pillars), about five inches down. You may also place the dashcam in a 7 “x7” square on the bottom corner of the windshield.
Are dash cams legal in Massachusetts?
Dash cams are prohibited from being placed on the windshield. However, they may be attached to the dashboard. Side dash cameras are also permitted if they aren’t made of reflective material.
Are dash cams legal in Michigan?
Michigan drivers may not place dash cams on their windshields unless the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials or is a truck weighing over 10,000 pounds. Dashboard mounting should be okay, however.
Are dash cams legal in Minnesota?
Dash cams are legal if placed behind, slightly above, or slightly below the rearview mirror.
Are dash cams legal in Mississippi?
Dash cams should be placed on the dashboard to comply with Mississippi’s distracted driver laws.
Are dash cams legal in Missouri?
Missouri has no laws regarding obstructions of view or any dash cam-specific laws.
Are dash cams legal in Montana?
Montana drivers must have a clear view through their windshield by law. Place your dash cam on the dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Nebraska?
Windshield-mounted dash cams are prohibited, but dash cams themselves are legal. Mount the dash cam to the dashboard; by law, you must obtain consent when recording audio.
Are dash cams legal in Nevada?
Dash cams in Nevada may place a dash cam anywhere on the dashboard but are prohibited from mounting it anywhere on the windshield except the bottom corner of the passenger side.
Are dash cams legal in New Hampshire?
Front windshield dash cams are prohibited in New Hampshire. However, they may be mounted on the rear glass or the dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in New Jersey?
New Jersey laws prohibit non-transparent objects on the front windshield and driver or passenger side windows. Install your dashcam on the dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in New Mexico?
New Mexico’s dash cam law states, “No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any…non-transparent material upon or in the front windshield, windows to the immediate right and left of the driver.” A dashboard-mounted dash cam is acceptable.
Are dash cams legal in New York?
New York bill A5132 makes drivers eligible for a 5% premium discount if they have an operating dashcam, although it may not be mounted on the windshield.
Are dash cams legal in North Carolina?
There are no specific dash cam placement regulations in North Carolina. Use your best judgment in placing your dashcam.
Are dash cams legal in North Dakota?
North Dakota law prohibits drivers from installing dash cams on their windshields. Install your dash cam on your dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Ohio?
It is legal to record audio and video inside your car in Ohio. However, drivers cannot install a dash cam on their windshield.
Are dash cams legal in Oklahoma?
Windshield-mounted dash cams are prohibited in Oklahoma but are permitted on the dashboard as long as they don’t obstruct the driver’s view.
Are dash cams legal in Oregon?
According to Oregon law, dash cams are illegal on any windows inside your car and can only be placed on the dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania motor vehicle law requires drivers to have an unobstructed view through their windshield. We recommend installing the camera on your dashboard.
Are dash cams legal in Rhode Island?
A dashboard camera is legal in Rhode Island as long as it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view.
Are dash cams legal in South Carolina?
South Carolina law only allows drivers to install dashcams on their dashboards. Window-mounted dash cams are prohibited.
Are dash cams legal in South Dakota?
Dash cams are prohibited from being installed on the front windshield or side windows. South Dakota law does permit dashboard-mounted cameras. Drivers must get permission from occupants inside the video to record audio and video.
Are dash cams legal in Tennessee?
Tennesee motor vehicle laws prohibit any windshield obstruction. Only dashboard-mounted dashcams are permitted.
Are dash cams legal in Texas?
Texas allows dash cams. However, it prohibits dash cams or other objects from being mounted to the vehicle’s windshield.
Are dash cams legal in Utah?
Utah drivers may mount dashcams on the windshield if it doesn’t extend down more than four inches from the top of the dashboard or extend out more than four inches towards the driver.
Are dash cams legal in Vermont?
Vermont drivers may mount dashboard cameras in the upper driver’s side corner of the windshield if they are no larger than 2 “x2.5”. However, those wishing to install larger cameras may place the dash cam in the lower corner of the passenger side up to four inches tall and a foot long!
Are dash cams legal in Virginia?
Virginia drivers may install dashcams on the dashboard if it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s vision.
Are dash cams legal in Washington?
Drivers in Washington can install a dash cam anywhere in their vehicle, but not the windshield.
Are dash cams legal in West Virginia?
West Virginia drivers should install dash cams on the dashboard as the law prohibits “non-transparent materials” on a vehicle windshield. Install cameras out of the driver’s line of sight.
Are dash cams legal in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin places tighter restrictions on where drivers may install cameras in their vehicles than many states. The dash camera must be placed behind the rearview mirror and cannot block the area cleaned by the windshield wipers.
Are dash cams legal in Wyoming?
Wyoming laws don’t mention dashboard cameras, but the state does have laws on windshield obstructions.
Dash Cams Are a Smart Investment
Many dash cams are meant to record evidence. Drivers may use the video footage for insurance purposes, shown to police officers during investigations, or in other legal situations where dash cam footage would be useful. In cases like these, dashcams can save you a lot of time and money by quickly providing the truth instead of dealing with court proceedings to determine what happened before an accident.
Dash cams also have a motion sensor to start recording when there is movement in or around your car. For example, the dash cam can record the event if someone hits your car and leaves the accident scene. Dashcams also record audio, which can sometimes be as crucial as the dashcam video.