Whether you need a dash cam or not depends heavily on your driving purpose and the assets you keep in and on your vehicle. But before you rush out to purchase one of these cameras, you should read up on the laws surrounding them in Virginia to ensure you purchase legal equipment that would help you in case of an accident instead of leading to a ticket.
Virginia Dash Cam Laws
The largest consideration for having a dash cam in Virginia is ensuring that it does not include a screen that shows motion pictures in the driver’s view.
Virginia § 46.2-1077 specifically stipulates:
“No motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth shall be equipped with, nor shall there be used therein, a television receiver when the moving images are visible to the driver while the vehicle is in motion. The operator of a motor vehicle that is not required to be registered in the Commonwealth shall not operate a television receiver that violates the provisions of this section while driving in the Commonwealth.”
That means that even if you’re just passing through Virginia during a commercial trip, you’ll need to deactivate the camera’s screen to avoid a ticket for failing to comply.
What you’ll notice about the law is that there is nothing that prohibits the use of video recording devices. So using a dash cam is completely legal so long as the driver is not watching the feed on a screen while operating the vehicle.
What Types of Screens Are Permitted in Virginia?
While Virginia law is fairly strict about screens within the driver’s view, it also allows for many types of displays that can aid in operation and navigation. The law allows for the following:
- Displays for use in-vehicle navigation and mapping or digital dispatch systems
- Video monitors that display rear-view video feed for use in backing
- Law enforcement TV receivers or monitors in approved vehicles
- Displays that help a driver operate their vehicle safely
- Vehicle information display
- Displays that help a driver view its occupants
- Receivers used for safety or traffic engineering information
- Factory-installed displays used for the “driving task” to operate a vehicle
Benefits of Installing a Dash Cam
When done in compliance with Virginia law, dash cameras offer many great benefits.
- Reduces fraudulent insurance claims from criminals trying to get money from you.
- Deters theft of your vehicle or its contents. When a thief sees your dash camera or rear-facing camera, they are less likely to consider targeting your vehicle. Many cameras feature surveillance mode for when a vehicle is parked. This is especially helpful for truck drivers who haul valuable goods.
- Provides peace of mind for drivers and their loved ones. When you have a young, inexperienced driver on the roads, installing dash cams on their vehicle can provide some peace of mind and added protection for them.
- Record fun footage of the places you’ve been. If you have a big road trip planned, installing a dash cam can help you capture the scenery and share it after your trip.
Risks of Installing a Dash Cam
Although dash cameras have many great benefits, they also include some risks you should know about before installing.
- Having a dash camera can be distracting because it must be mounted near your windshield to capture the road ahead. That means reduced visibility and interruptions to your peripheral vision.
- It can record mistakes you make behind the wheel. While a dash cam can be beneficial for showing the mistakes other drivers made that led to an accident, it can also show what you do wrong. It’s admissible in court as evidence in accident cases.
If you suffered injuries due to a truck accident, your attorney can help you acquire the truck’s dash camera footage as a key piece of evidence in the case. Geoff McDonald & Associates will help you recover financially from a car or truck accident. Schedule your free consultation now.