Is using a dash cam legal in Florida? In most cases, installing and using a dash cam in the Sunshine State is permissible, but there are a few key laws you need to follow. Here’s what you should know.
If you have ever been in a car accident in Miami, you know how critical it can be to show that you were not at fault. Proving that the other driver was at fault could be the difference between having your medical bills covered and being on the hook for tens of thousands in expenses.
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that, regardless of who is responsible for an accident, you get coverage for your medical bills and other expenses through your own insurance provider. But what if your coverage is inadequate? It happens more often than you might think.
When the costs exceed the coverage limits for your personal injury protection, you can sue the other driver’s insurance to make up the difference. Dash cams have been around for a while, and they can come in handy when you need to prove what happened during an accident.
But here’s the important question: is using a dash cam legal in Florida? The not-so-straight-forward answer could have some implications for your car accident injury case.
What Is a Dash Cam?
If you don’t keep up with trends in technology, you might be wondering what a dash cam is. As the name implies, a dash cam is a camera that records video (and sometimes audio) as you drive, usually mounted somewhere on the dash or windshield of your vehicle. While simple setups record only the front view of the vehicle, some more complicated models also record the interior of the car and a rear-view angle.
Many drivers choose to install dash cams so they can document any events that happen before, during, and after an accident. Having access to this type of evidence often helps determine fault in an accident, as well as establish driving patterns and habits.
Is Driving with a Dash Cam Legal in Florida?
First, let’s answer this critical question: yes, dash cams are legal in Florida, though the law has some restrictions. To offer a comprehensive answer to whether it is legal to use a dash cam in Florida, we need to consider two aspects of Florida Dash Cam Laws: windshield obstruction laws and Florida electronic surveillance laws.
Florida Dash Cam Laws
The relevant section of the Florida Statutes reads as follows:
No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of such vehicle which materially obstructs, obscures, or impairs the driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.
Many people choose to mount their dash cams on their windshields using a suction cup apparatus. The vague wording of this section makes it impossible to determine without further research whether mounting a dash cam directly on the windshield is legal.
While some local law enforcement officials may not consider a dash cam mounted on the windshield an obstruction, others might. Instead of putting the camera on the windshield and risking a moving violation, it is best to find another way to attach it that won’t block your field of vision. Not only can an improperly mounted dash cam get you a ticket—it might also affect a judge’s decision to allow footage into evidence.
Now let’s move on to Florida’s electronic surveillance laws. In Florida, it may be considered a felony to record someone speaking without their express consent. Known as two-party consent, this rule may make your dash cam footage inadmissible. However, if the other party does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy—for instance, if they are in public where others can hear their conversations—a judge may allow the recording into evidence. You should consult with an attorney if you have any questions about whether you can use footage from a dash cam as evidence.
Because many dash cams record audio as well as video, it is critical to be careful about which type of dash cam you use and whether to turn on the audio recording at all.
Can You Use Dash Cam Footage as Evidence for Your Car Accident in Miami?
The law is still relatively untested, so it is best to consider whether dash cam footage will be advantageous on a case-by-case basis. If you decide to use a dash cam, you should know that it may not make it into evidence.
The Florida Statutes consider video evidence to be admissible as a form of photographic evidence. The video must simply show something that pertains to the case and must be authenticated. The opposing party’s attorney will fight hard to keep the footage out of evidence if it shows their client was at fault. The courts will require you to share the evidence with the other party so they can review and authenticate it. If for any reason, even a technicality, they can show that the video has been altered or otherwise tampered with, you could risk your case being thrown out.
Dash cam footage of a car accident in Miami can be integral to proving that the other driver, not you, was acting negligently by showing driving behavior before the accident and even the accident itself. However, you should not rely on it as your sole piece of evidence in your case. To build a strong case, you need to speak to an attorney who specializes in car accident injuries. Only by building a case around all the facts can you expect to get the kind of settlement you need to pay for your medical treatment and other damages.
Are you ready to pursue your case? Contact us today and set up an appointment to speak to an attorney. Call us at (888) 450-4909, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.