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A Guide to Dash Cam Laws in Every US State

Are Dash Cams Legal in my Area?

The holidays are approaching, and this is our opportunity to relax, travel, and visit our loved ones and friends. When driving, a dashcam will be useful for recording your journey, whether for security or to keep fun memories.

However, with long drives from one state to another expected this season, it is critical to be aware of their respective laws and regulations regarding having - or installing - dash cams. Yes, each state has its own set of rules, and failing to follow them may result in an inconvenience that could ruin your entire trip.

Is it legal to have a dash cam in the US?

Before we proceed to the rundown, it’s important to know that while dash cams are legal in the US, some places discourage dash cams - such as the border crossings.

It all starts with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and its Rules & Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property, and here’s what the relevant section (41 CFR 102-74-420) says:

Photographs for News, Advertising, or Commercial Purposes (41 CFR 102-74.420). Except where security regulations, rules, orders, or directives apply or a Federal court order or rule prohibits it, persons entering in or on Federal property may take photographs of:

  • (a) Space occupied by a tenant agency for non-commercial purposes only with the permission of the occupying agency concerned;
  • (b) Space occupied by a tenant agency for commercial purposes only with written permission of an authorized official of the occupying agency concerned, and;
  • (c) Building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors or auditoriums for news purposes.

In other words, you will need permission from the US Customs & Border Protection Officers to keep your dash cam on and filming when you are crossing the border on the American Side.

To make your driving and dash cam experience as stress-free as possible, we've put together this guide to dash cam installation and usage laws in each state.

Dash Cam Laws By State (In Alphabetical Order)

Alabama

Dash cam use is completely permitted in Alabama. However, suction dash cams are prohibited to install in Alabama because it is illegal to place anything on a vehicle's windshield. Installing a dash cam on the dashboard, on the other hand, is legal as long as it does not obstruct the driver's view.

In terms of recording, it is permissible to capture videos while on public grounds, however it is prohibited if trespassing on private property. Before making a recording on a private property, you must get permission first. If your dash cameras have audio recording capabilities, you must obtain permission from everyone in the vehicle before recording their voices.

 

Alaska

Dash cams are legal in Alaska under Statute 13.04.225 as long as they do not obstruct the driver's view. If a dash cam is mounted on the driver's side, the area of the dash cam must be less than five square inches. They must be seven square inches or smaller if mounted on the passenger side.

 

Arizona

Arizona law governs the extent to which drivers and vehicle owners are permitted to obstruct their windshields. When comparing dash cam laws by state, they have some of the most detailed regulations governing dash cam placement.

According to Arizona dash cam laws, "no person shall operate a motor vehicle with an object or material...affixed or applied on the windshield, side or rear windows...in a manner that obstructs or reduces a driver's clear view through the windshield, side or rear windows."

So if you install a dash cam on the driver's side, it must be located in the lower corner of the windshield and take up no more than five square inches of space. If your dash cams will be on the passenger side, they must be in the lower corner and no larger than seven square inches.

 

Arkansas

In Arkansas, using a dash cam is legal, but it's illegal to cover your windshield with anything that isn't transparent. Note that the windshield, side wings, side windows, or rear windows cannot be used to equip dash cameras. Your dash cameras can be mounted on dashboards or behind rear view mirrors.

 

California

Dash cameras are legal in California. However, you must follow regulations that limit the amount of space they take up to five square inches when installed in the top center of the windshield and seven square inches when installed in the bottom right corner.

Your dashboard cameras must not be installed in any area where an airbag could deflate. If your dash cameras have audio recording capabilities, you must obtain permission from everyone in the vehicle before recording their voices.

 

Colorado

Dash cameras are entirely legal in Colorado. However, what’s illegal is mounting a dash camera in a location that may impair your driver's field of vision.

It's best to keep it behind the rearview mirror. Your dash cams must not endanger or obstruct other drivers while driving, especially by reflecting glare. As a result, steer clear of dash cameras with mirrored or metallic paint finishes.

 

Connecticut

In Connecticut, driving with dash cams is legal. The only rule is that the dash cam must be placed correctly. Dash cams that obstruct the windshield are not permitted in Connecticut. They could be mounted on the dashboard or in front of the rearview mirror.

 

Delaware

According to Delaware law, "no person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway with any sign, poster, or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear window of such motor vehicle." Dash cams should therefore be mounted on the dashboard.

It is permissible to record video while on public grounds, however it is prohibited if trespassing on private property. Before making a recording on a private property, get permission.

 

Florida

It's legal to use dash cams in Florida, but it's illegal to drive a vehicle with something obstructing your view of the road. A safe place is on your dashboard or behind your rearview mirror. You must obtain permission from everyone in the vehicle before recording their voices if your dash cams record audio.

 

Georgia

Dashboard cameras are legal in Georgia, and drivers are permitted to record video and audio as long as everyone in the vehicle consents first. Installing a dash cam on the windshield rather than the dashboard, on the other hand, would violate Georgia dash cam laws, which state that "no person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield."

Hawaii

Having a dash cam is also legal in Hawaii as long as they are installed correctly. Dash cams can be installed on the top or bottom corners of the windshield, but they must not take up more than five square inches of space. It's also legal to install "non-obstructive" dash cams in less obvious locations, such as the back window or above the dashboard.

 

Idaho

Dash cams are permitted in Idaho, but it's against the law to cover your windshield with non-transparent materials. In this state, dash cameras cannot be mounted on windshields, side wings, side windows, or rear windows. Install them behind rearview mirrors or on dashboards instead.

 

Illinois

While it is legal to use dash cams in Illinois, there are three key laws to follow. Dash cams must be installed on the left side of the vehicle's dashboard and cannot obscure more than five square inches of the windshield. If your dash cams record audio, you must obtain permission from all passengers before recording their voices. Anyone caught recording police activity in public in Illinois faces severe penalties.

 

Indiana

Dash cams are legal in Indiana, but they must be installed in the bottom corner of the passenger side windshield. They cannot also be larger than four square inches.

 

Iowa

Dash cams are also legal in Iowa, but there is a restriction on where they can be placed. Driving a vehicle without "clear vision" through the windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows is illegal. We recommend avoiding mounting dash cams on windshields in any location where they will obstruct any view and putting them on dashboards or behind rearview mirrors instead.

 

Kansas

 

Dash cams are legal in Kansas, but there is a restriction on where they can be used. It's against the law to "significantly obstruct" your windshield with non-transparent objects like dash cams. While it's unclear what constitutes a "substantial" obstruction, it's best to avoid mounting dash cams on windshields, sidewings, or side or rear windows. Instead, try putting them on dashboards or behind rearview mirrors.

 

Kentucky

Dash cams are legal in Kentucky, but there is some ambiguity regarding their setup. Dash cams are legal as long as they do not obstruct your drivers' vision through the windshield. We recommend mounting your dash cams on the dashboard or behind the rearview mirror, rather than on a clear part of the windshield, to reduce this risk.

 

Louisiana

Dash cameras are legal in Louisiana. However, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if something is obstructing the driver's "clear view" through the windshield. As a result, you should not mount dash cams on your drivers' windshields. It's a good idea to mount them on your drivers' dashboards or behind their rearview mirrors.

 

Maine

Dash cams are completely legal in Maine. However, you must be cautious about where you place them. It is illegal to position a dash cam in such a way that it obstructs the "clear view" through a vehicle's windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows. Instead, mount your cameras on dashboards or behind rearview mirrors to stay on the right side of the law.

Moreover, there is an exemption for "required or provided vehicle equipment," which could apply to dash cams if your vehicles are trucks. If you want to know if you are exempt from this law, contact your local law enforcement.

 

Maryland

Dash cams are legal in Maryland as long as you follow the state’s rules, including some very specific guidelines about where you can put them. Dash cams must be mounted above the AS-1 line of a vehicle's windshield, or within five inches of the top of the windshield and no lower. Dash cams can also be installed in the bottom corner of the windshield if they fit within a seven-inch square. If your dash cams record audio, you must obtain permission from all passengers before recording their voices.

 

Massachusetts

Dash cams are legal in Massachusetts, but there are some rules to follow. You can install dashboard cameras on the dashboard or behind the rearview mirror. You can also attach a side dash cam to your side windows if it does not reflect more than 35% of visible light. If you’re using a dashcam in Massachusetts, we recommend speaking with your local law enforcement to determine whether you are able to comply.

 

Michigan

Dash cams are legal in Michigan, but it is illegal to mount them on windshields because they can obstruct the driver's view of the road. However, this law does not apply to buses, truck tractors, or trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds or transporting hazardous waste. In terms of audio recording, you must obtain permission from everyone in the vehicle before recording their voices.

 

Minnesota

Dash cams are legal in Minnesota, but you have limited options for where you can mount them. The device can only be installed directly behind, slightly above, or slightly below rearview mirrors. A dash cam installed in any other location, including the dashboard, is illegal.

 

Mississippi

Dash cams are legal in Mississippi, but they must not obstruct the driver's view through the windshield and should not be mounted on the windshield. If your team is driving in this condition, the best place to mount dash cams is on their dashboards.

 

Missouri

In Missouri, dash cams are permitted, which is unusual because dash cam placement and use are not regulated by state law. In spite of the fact that no one in this state will caution you against doing so, we advise situating your cameras such that they obstruct as little of your drivers' vision as possible.

 

Montana

Dash cam use is permitted in Montana. In Montana, however, windshields must be completely clear. If your dash cameras are recording audio, make sure everyone in your vehicle is aware that they are being recorded. It is legal to record conversations without permission as long as it is not done secretly.

 

Nebraska

Dash cameras are allowed in Nebraska, but you can't put them directly on the windshield because that would impair the driver's ability to see the road.

In Nebraska, the dashboard is the best area to install them for safety. You must seek everyone's permission before capturing their voices on your dash cameras if they are capable of recording audio.

 

Nevada

Dash cameras are permitted in Nevada, but only if they are mounted in either the bottom passenger-side corner of the windshield, or anywhere on the dashboard.

 

New Hampshire

Dash cameras are permitted in New Hampshire, but there are a few rules to be aware of. Installing dash cams on the front windshields of your car is prohibited; instead, mount them on the dashboard. You may, however, install interior-facing and rear-view cameras. Additionally, according to the law, your driver must be able to see the dash cam's display. You must seek everyone's permission before capturing their voices on your dash cameras if they are capable of recording audio.

 

New Jersey

Dash cams are legal in New Jersey, but they must be installed correctly. Any non-transparent object mounted on the windshield or the driver or passenger side window is prohibited. In New Jersey, the best place to mount dash cams is near the windshield, on the passenger side dashboard.

New Mexico

Dash cameras are permitted in New Mexico, however installation locations need to be carefully considered. If the non-transparent object is intended to improve driving visibility, it cannot be mounted on the windshield, the driver's and passenger's side windows, or the rear window. We advise mounting your dash cams on the dashboards of your cars.

 

New York

Dash cams are legal in New York, and the state actively encourages all drivers to use them. A5132 in New York bill "provides for a 5% reduction in automobile insurance premiums for noncommercial passenger motor vehicles equipped with an operational dashboard camera." However, you must ensure that your cameras are installed correctly. Because it is illegal to obstruct your drivers' windshields, we recommend mounting your dash cams on dashboards instead.

 

North Carolina

North Carolina has no laws governing their placement or use, so installing one is fine. However, rather than mounting your dash cams in the front and center of your windshields, we recommend keeping safety in mind. Install them where they will not obstruct your driver's view, such as on the dashboard or behind the rearview mirror.

 

North Dakota

Dash cams are legal in North Dakota as long as they are installed in a secure location. In this state, windshields must be kept clear of everything from stickers and posters to dash cams. So instead of mounting them on your team's windshields, mount them on the dashboards.

 

Ohio

While dash cameras are permitted in Ohio, mounting them on your drivers' windshields is prohibited. Installing them in the car should only be done on the dashboards. Ohio law permits video and audio recording inside the cab as long as the dash cam doesn't block any of the windshield.

 

Oklahoma

Dash cameras are allowed as long as they are not mounted on the driver's windshield in Oklahoma. Installing them on your drivers' dashboards is a good idea, but make sure they don't cover any of the windshield.

 

Oregon

Dash cams are legal in Oregon, but there are a few guidelines to follow. Installing dash cams on windshields or windows is illegal because the law prohibits "any material that prevents or impairs the ability to see into or out of the vehicle." If your dash cams record audio, you must obtain permission from all passengers before recording their voices.

 

Pennsylvania

Dash cameras are permitted for business use in Pennsylvania, but there are regulations that you should be aware of. Stick to mounting dash cameras on dashboards because it's against the law to post them on drivers' windows or windshields. Invest in devices without screens or with screens that can be turned off so that dash cam screens won't keep your drivers from doing their jobs. You must obtain permission from everyone in the car before capturing their voices if your dash cameras are equipped with audio recording capabilities.

 

Rhode Island

Dash cameras are allowed in Rhode Island, but it's against the law to place them there because nothing should block the driver's view. In the Ocean State, mounting your dash cameras on the dashboard is the safest option.

 

South Carolina

Dash cameras are permitted in South Carolina, but they must be mounted on the dashboard rather than the windshield or window of your drivers' vehicles. When positioning your cameras, keep in mind that South Carolina law states that drivers must be able to see out of any window "without straining."

South Dakota

Dash cams are legal in South Dakota, but there are some rules to follow. It's against the law to install dash cams on your drivers' front windshields, side wings, or side or rear windows, so keep them on their dashboards. If your dash cams record audio, you must obtain permission from all passengers before recording their voices.

 

Tennessee

Dash cams are legal in Tennessee, but you should not install them on your drivers' windshield. Instead, mount them on the dashboards of your vehicles for safer driving.

 

Texas

It's illegal in Texas to drive a vehicle with "an object or material placed on or attached to the windshield, side or rear window and that obstructs or reduces the operator's clear view." Dash cams can be mounted on dashboards as long as they don't interfere with airbags.

 

Utah

In Utah, putting dash cams on drivers' windshields is permitted, in contrast to many other states. They can be mounted in the corner of the driver's side if they don't take up more space than four inches or along the top of the windshield if they don't extend down farther than four inches. It is also permissible to install cameras on the dash or back windows.

 

Vermont

Dash cameras are permitted in Vermont, but only if they are installed properly. As long as they're no bigger than four inches tall and 12 inches long, you can place them on the bottom passenger side corner of your drivers' windshields. If they are no bigger than two inches high and two and a half inches long, you can also install them on the upper driver-side corner of the windshield.

 

Virginia

Dash cams are legal in Virginia, but mounting them on your drivers' front windshields or rear windows is not. Instead, mount them on the dashboards of your vehicles, but make sure they don't obstruct the driver's view of the road in any way.

 

Washington

Dash cams are legal in Washington, but there are a couple of laws to be aware of. It's against the law to mount dash cams on your drivers' windshields because they can obstruct their view of the road, so put them on their dashboards instead. If your dash cams record audio, you must obtain permission from all passengers before recording their voices.

 

West Virginia

While dash cameras are permitted in West Virginia, it is against the law to affix anything obscure to your car's front windshield, including dash cameras. Make careful to put them on the dashboards of your vehicles, out of the drivers' line of sight.

 

Wisconsin

Dash cameras are permitted in Wisconsin, but you must be careful where you place them. Unless you attach them behind the rearview mirror, mounting them on the windshield is prohibited. They must also avoid the sweep of the windshield wipers on your cars. To be safe, you might want to think about installing them on the dashboards of your cars.

 

Wyoming

Dash cams are legal in Wyoming as long as they don't block your drivers' vision through their windshields. So, instead of mounting dash cams on the windshields of your vehicles, it is safer to install them on the dash.

The Significance of Knowing Legality of Your Dash Camera in US Areas

With all of the laws and regulations mentioned above, the most important factors to consider are the location of your dash cam, its size, and your permission to record audio and capture videos on private property.

Sure, the law varies and may require you to conduct such research before driving. However, keep in mind that the reason for this is still to ensure your safety and security, much like what your dash cam provides for your car.

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