Dash cameras are relatively self-explanatory - an onboard camera that sits on the dashboard of your vehicle (or alternatively, attached to your windscreen) with the intention of providing an uninterrupted recording of the view through the front windscreen. Dash cameras are a relatively recent development which originated in the 1980s/90s and were almost exclusively used by law enforcement officers across the United States, but as video recording technology became drastically cheaper and affordable to the public, their usage has become significantly more widespread across many parts of the world.
As a result of this boom in availability, there is now a wide variety of choice in the market. The most basic dash cameras simply record video at a relatively low resolution and save it to the built-in storage, but as you step up through the higher models, the video quality and storage capacity/options (such as a slot for removable SD card storage) increases. As well as this, other technical values such as speed, time/date, location and even G-forces can all be tracked, recorded and saved for analysis.
Dash cameras have a wide range of uses for the average road-user beyond just their initial purpose of monitoring police situations. Some of these are more personal than actually useful, such as recording a time-lapse of a long or picturesque journey, or even just keeping it on in case something amazing happens. Who knows - you could have the next viral video on your hands, but no way of proving it!
The more practical uses are likely what many professional drivers, such as those in the transport or haulage industries, are interested in, although these are just as pertinent to standard drivers too. Security is the obvious one to highlight, and may be particularly important if you have valuables stored or if you are aware of a high amount of car crime in the area. As for when you're actively driving, dash cameras have proven to be imperative in court cases regarding a number of different accidents and collisions, particularly insurance fraud. Hard video evidence will likely have much more influence than an eyewitness account, which is why dash cameras have become so prevalent in countries such as Russia, where police corruption is rife.
Although Russia is the go-to example of a country where dash cameras can be found in almost every vehicle, they are becoming increasingly popular across many other parts of Asia, Europe (France in particular), Australia and the United States. However, it is important to check the legality of owning and using such a device in the country you live in, as well as anywhere you may intend to travel to or through.
For example, Austria has outright banned the usage of dash cameras for any purpose due to their laws against private surveillance, and having one installed could result in up to a 10,000€ fine. In Switzerland, they are heavily frowned upon due to their principles on data protection, while in Germany, personal usage is acceptable but subsequent posting on social media is a violation of privacy. Both Poland and Australia share a similar stance of allowing dash cameras, so long as the footage doesn't invade the privacy of anyone in such a manner that would be inappropriate in court.
As with most electrical products, dash cameras follow the trend of being worth investing in, as you'll end up with a much better product in the long run than if you buy one on the cheap. That's not to say that there aren't affordable dash cameras which provide a good quality recording, but the higher price you pay, the more useful features you receive. The video resolution is the obvious consideration, and while VGA (640x480) is passable, high-definition resolutions of 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080) provide a much clearer image which is important to potentially capture details such as a license plate. Size is also important, as you want it to be discreet so as not to encourage thieves or obscure your vision.
Dash cameras can be hard-wired into your vehicle so that they turn on with the ignition, or use motion detection to detect a person entering, and this is an invaluable feature purely because forgetting to turn it on could be the difference between having key evidence and not! Loop recording is another essential aspect to consider - overwriting old footage so that the video is continuous, while having the ability to protect anything that shouldn't be deleted. Other things such as night vision, zoom, GPS and even a screen are arguably unnecessary, and are areas where savings could potentially be made.
Right here! TachPro sell a wide range of dash cameras for public and commercial use from leading brands including Silent Witness, Smart Witness, Garmin, BlackVue and more - just click the link or browse using the navigation bar above.