Dashboard cameras, known colloquially as “dash cams,” record video when you turn on your car, or when there’s movement near your car. Many Maryland drivers use dash cams to protect their rights and prevent liability in the event of an auto accident, an encounter with law enforcement, or another incident on the road.
Below, we explore Maryland's dashcam laws and offer three important reasons why you should consider adopting this technology.
An Overview of Maryland's Dashcam Laws
If you choose to protect yourself by installing a dashcam in your car, you need to know some important facts about Maryland's dashcam laws. Here are the basics:
- In Maryland, dashcam laws are governed by the state's wiretapping and electronic surveillance laws. The use of a dashcam is generally legal as long as it is not used to surreptitiously record conversations or other private interactions. In other words, Maryland is a one-party consent state, which means that at least one person involved in a conversation must give consent to being recorded.
- Under Maryland law, it is legal to use a dashcam to record video of traffic and other public interactions. However, it is illegal to use a dashcam to record audio of a conversation without the consent of all parties involved. Violations of the state's wiretapping and electronic surveillance laws can result in civil liability, criminal charges, and even imprisonment.
- It is important to note that while dashcams can be a useful tool for capturing evidence in the event of an accident or other incident on the road, drivers should always use them responsibly and in compliance with applicable laws. If you plan to use a dashcam in Maryland, be sure to familiarize yourself with the state's wiretapping and electronic surveillance laws to ensure that you are using it legally.
Reasons Maryland Drivers Should Consider Getting a Dashcam
1. To Verify Your Side in Car Accident Disputes
No driver wants to admit fault after a car accident only to see their insurance premiums rise. This is especially true if the liable party caused injury or damages to passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, or personal property.
Dash cams provide a factual, unbiased account of what really occurred. This is useful when another driver is lying about the events that unfolded or when there are no witnesses to help determine fault.
Unfortunately, not all dash cams will capture video clearly enough to serve as evidence in a trial or even with your insurance company. Consider a high-end dash cam for the best possible footage. They are equipped with premium features, including:
- Audio recording
- Night vision
- Time-lapse video
- Front- and rear-facing coverage
- High-definition and a wide-angle video
Some dash cams even have sensors that track the speed, velocity, and impact force of vehicles in auto accidents. While these features can certainly be useful, it’s important to know when they can legally be used.
As mentioned above, In Maryland, it’s illegal to unknowingly record passengers in your car without their prior consent. However, it’s perfectly legal to record activities on streets and in parking areas.
Be mindful that your dashcam footage could be used to incriminate you, so your driving habits may determine whether or not you want one in your vehicle. If you were involved in an auto accident, it’s unlawful to intentionally delete footage of the accident from your camera.
2. To Protect Yourself Against Law Enforcement
Police and civilian encounters have made headlines recently, causing many drivers to worry about their safety and rights should a police officer pull them over.
While recording unknowing passengers inside your vehicle is illegal in Maryland, you can record on-duty police officers. Bear in mind that an officer could pull you over for a dash cam violation. While it is legal to install a dash cam in Maryland, your dash cam cannot obstruct your vision.
While most windshield-mounted dash cams are small enough to not serve as a hazard, you may consider a dash cam that mounts from other areas of your vehicle, such as the rearview mirror
3. To Keep Your Car Safe When Parked
The streets aren’t the only place where dash cams come in handy. Your vehicle can sustain damage when parked as well.
Dash cams are equipped with motion detectors that begin recording when movement is sensed near your vehicle. This feature can help you keep a record of someone:
- Backing into your car
- Hitting your car when parking
- Intentionally damaging your car
Some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who use dash cams. Be sure to ask yours about a discount if you already own or plan to buy a dash cam.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or been involved in a police altercation, contact our Maryland lawyers at (855) 954-4141 or use the form on this page. Whether or not you have dash cam footage of the situation, we can help you prove your version of the events. Portner and Shure offers a free auto accident consultations and serves clients in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.