How many times have you been in a dispute where you were driving with all the norms but the opposite driver wasn’t and still got through without any penalty? If your answer is a couple of times, you can surely put your worries to rest by installing dashboard video cameras into your cars. Read on…

Most dashboard cameras or as they are rightly called dash cams; simply record the view through your car’s windshield. They have a fixed amount of digital storage, which once full get overwritten with new files. These cameras are capable of holding several hours of footage, with the exact time window generally depending on the video quality of the camera and the amount of memory installed. Thus, if a front-end crash occurs, the camera’s got it covered and you don’t have to fight over the other driver in proving who was violating the rules. All you need to do is view it in your dash cam!

Echoing the same thought and purpose, a police chief said, “Drivers should install dashboard cameras to help resolve disputes over car crashes.” Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, chairman of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, also said that, “dash cams would help in cases where a motorist deliberately causes a crash, such as the incident involving a Dubai taxi driver that has went viral on social media where the taxi driver deliberately reversed and hit the car behind him.”

However, if we go by the UAE law, it states that taking a photo or video of someone without their consent is illegal as it is invading that person’s privacy. Speaking on the same, lawyer Ali Al Mansoori said, “motorists using dash cams, which cost as little as Dh50 online, could be seen to be in direct violation of privacy rules and it records the roads and people who do not want to be recorded.”

On the other hand, Maj Gen Al Zafeen said that, “dash cams are not illegal and could be used as a vital tool in determining the faulty in traffic accidents.” He further added, “There is no law in the UAE that criminalises the installation of dashboard cameras. Motorists can even put up their mobile phones and switch on the cameras on the windshield.”

Further clarifying Mr. Al Bahar said, “Using a camera to record the road is allowed unless the driver used the recording to defame an individual.” He also added that invading someone’s privacy by filming them without their consent and sharing the video could result in “detention up to six months and fine of between Dh150,000 and Dh500,000”.  So be wise with dash cams UAE!

Apart from resolving disputes outside the court, dash cam videos could also be admissible in court, Mr Al Bahar said. “It can be used, depending on the case. For example, the incident that took place with the taxi driver. The taxi driver was suspended from work but not criminalised. Evidence has to be conducted carefully and in a sophisticated manner.”

Road-safety expert Thomas Edelmann, the founder and managing director of Road Safety UAE, backed Maj Gen Al Zafeen, saying that dash cams would actually help traffic flow too.
“Police demand that accident vehicles are removed out of the flow of traffic to avoid traffic congestion. Motorists who have recorded accidents will be much more willing to swiftly vacate accident scenes and to settle things away from the flowing traffic. Hence, there is a potential positive effect from dashboard cameras,” Mr Edelmann said.

Legal grey area 
Owning a dash cam is not illegal in the UAE but the use of them is a bit of a grey area as filming someone without their permission could infringe their privacy.
Dubai Police may welcome videos being submitted via its ‘We Are All Police’ initiative but it also warns people not to post any incidents on social media as this could lead to prosecution.

Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code clearly states that taking a person’s picture without their consent is considered an invasion of that person’s privacy. Taking photos in restricted areas can result in one to three months in jail or a fine of up to Dh5,000. Publishing pictures of people without their consent can result in a custodial sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to Dh500,000.

We hope we all use dashboard cameras to their utmost importance and in the most rightful manner and make UAE safe, sound and dispute free! Are you with us?