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What is a dashboard camera?

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Dashboard cameras are also known as car or truck dash cams, fleet dash cams or dashcams. Most of these cameras face forward, pointing out from behind the windshield glass so that the video image corresponds to the driver’s view. Other dashboard cameras face rearward, aimed at the inside of the vehicle.


These are video cameras attached to the vehicle dashboard, the inside of the windshield or nearly any surface. Dashboard cameras are usually powered by the vehicle’s electrical system, and may have a manual on/off switch, or are activated automatically when the driver places the ignition switch in the ON position.

Dashboard camera benefits for fleets

Dashboard cameras have become an aftermarket accessory in private automobiles but the devices are gaining popularity in commercial vehicles, for fleet management, risk avoidance and driver monitoring.

Truck accidents and traffic violations are a major expense for a vehicle fleet of any size, and video recording of driver behavior can help fleet managers recognize unsafe driving practices and develop additional training to keep down these costs.

Dashboard camera video is useful following an accident if other parties dispute what happened and who may be at fault. These devices have proved valuable in settling litigation and avoiding potentially expensive judgments.

Dashboard camera benefits for drivers

In the same way that dashboard camera video protects vehicle fleets, the visual record of driver performance can help safeguard the driver against claims of fault or negligence. 

When vehicle telematics record an instance of rough driving behavior such as harsh braking or sharp acceleration, the video file can show why the driver executed these maneuvers – for instance, to avoid an impending collision – to protect a driver’s favorable scorecard and standing with an employer.

See how dashboard camera supports driver training »

Dashboard camera legality

Laws vary on dashboard camera use, depending on location. Recording a person without knowledge or consent is illegal in some jurisdictions, although this applies mainly to speech. Using a dashboard camera may be considered a violation of privacy, and a driver or fleet manager who plans to install this device should verify that use of dashboard cameras is permissible in all areas where the vehicle operates.

If the driver is employed by the organization installing a dashboard camera, owners or managers should make obtaining driver consent a part of the hiring process.