If you’re thinking of installing a dashcam to protect yourself in California legally, then this article is for you. Dashcams are handy gadgets that film roads and capture everything in high definition that happens while you’re driving. The cameras can be mounted on a dashboard or windscreen and set up automatically when the car starts. They can be used as a collision deterrent as well as a witness to any incident.

Whether dashcams are legal or not in California, there are a lot of factors that come into play. You have to check the type of dashcam, where you mount it, and its law limitations. The following content is going to provide relevant information about dashcams and their use in California.

Are Dashcams Legal in California?

When looking into the legal issues of using dashcams in California, we need to understand its technicalities and outcomes. In the United States, dashcams are legal in all 50 states, but not for road use. In California, dash cams have been banned under the California Vehicle Code sections 22511(b) and (c). due to their use as a means to record a vehicle’s movement without the owner’s knowledge. 

The two laws prohibit the ticketing of drivers for using a dashcam while they’re driving their vehicles. The laws also advise that people should only use dash cams for collision safety and accident prevention. At another point, it states that installing a dashcam in a vehicle is prohibited while operating on public roadways. Drivers who have dashboard cameras installed are subject to receiving tickets with fines of up to $1000.00.

The laws about dashcams in California follow the same rules as any other state concerning DVR cameras. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC), a dashcam must be operated when the concerned vehicle is in operation. It also states that dashcams can only be used as a collision and accident deterrent, while drivers cannot monitor their driving through them.

Why Are They Illegal? 

There are several reasons why the CVC has banned the use of dash cams. 

1. Dash cams are not designed to monitor the driver while in their vehicle. 

2. The dashcams can give false evidence in the event of a collision. 

3. The dash cams can be used as an invasion of privacy

4. It’s illegal to monitor the road without a license, and dash cams are designed for that particular function.

5. They are a source of distraction for drivers.

Since the laws about dashcams in California are clear and concise, it is essential to follow them carefully to use a dashboard camera while driving. If you have questions, contact your local DMV office for more information.

What Types of Dashcams Are Allowed in California?

There is no specific type of dashcam that is legal for use in California. The use of a dashcam is governed by different laws from state to state. Out of the 50 states, 29 have banned the use of them on public roadways.

However, whether or not California has banned dashcams on roadways depends on what kind of dashcam you have. There are two different kinds of dashcams; external dashcams and built-in dashcams. External dashcams are the most common type as they mount on the windshield, while built-in dashcams are cameras that you can purchase with your car.

How to Legally Install a Dashcam in California

Installing a dashcam legally in California is a complicated process. It depends on the type of dashcam you’re using. To explain this question, we have to revisit some of the laws governing dash cameras in California.

Here are the laws about dashcams in California

1. 22511 (b) 

If you install a camera on your dashboard, there are no restrictions on where it can be mounted, as long as it doesn’t obstruct your vision.

2. 22511 (c)

If you’re using a built-in dashcam, there are regulations for where you can mount the camera. The part with the dashcam should not obstruct your vision; this is also to prevent you from falling asleep and driving. However, if you would like to have an enclosed area to mount the camera, you’re free to do it.

There are cases in California when it’s legal to install a dashcam in a vehicle operated by the police. For example, if you are a first responder or police officer and you’re using your car while driving to perform an emergency rescue or investigation.

What if You’re Using a Dashcam and Law Limitations Exist?

The laws around dashcams in California state that you have to give the following: 

1. The license plate of the vehicle that is being recorded and its registration number. However, this can be pardoned under certain circumstances.

2. The location that the incident happened and the date of the accident. You must also have an approximate time of when the incident occurred.

3. Name, address, and contact details of other drivers or their insurance companies.

This information must be visible inside your vehicle at all times if you’re using a dashcam in California.

Installing a Dashcam

1. Mount the dashcam on the dashboard or windshield with a suction cup and then leave it as it is; this is an easy way to install a dashcam, and it doesn’t obstruct your vision. 

2. Mount the dashcam in a locked box that prevents anyone from opening it while you’re operating your vehicle.

However, both of these installation methods are not practical. 

In conclusion, installing a dashcam in California is entirely illegal as there are specific regulations for using them on public roadways.

Illegal Actions & Repercussions Related to Dashcams

– The vehicle’s operation with a dashcam on public roadways is subjected to a fine of up to $10,000.00.

– Installing a dashcam in an area that obstructs vision or placing it in a position where it can record you while driving.

– Using an external dashcam on public roadways.

– Transmitting video of an incident to any third party and live streaming of dashcam video information over the Internet or Social Media. 

– Using and publishing a video recorded with a dashcam. You can’t use or post videos uploaded by others and have them featured. 

Disadvantages Of Dashcams 

1. The dashcam cannot be used when you’re trying to report an incident of road rage or vandalism.

2. You cannot use it to prove yourself innocent in any troubling situation. 

3. There’s no way of using the video as evidence against a law enforcement officer in various situations.

However, California is trying to catch up to other states by reviewing the laws regarding dash cams. However, you should take precautions when using a dashcam on public roadways to avoid any legal issues.

How Do Dashboard Cameras Affect Car Accident Claims?

The use of dashcams has been proven to reduce car accidents by at least 50%. Most drivers, however, tend to make more cautious decisions on driving through highways or congested areas. With the growing popularity of dash cams, it’s only normal to wonder if they have any impact on your car accident claims, especially with no laws governing their use.

Dashcam video recording can be beneficial when proving fault in certain types of car accidents and proving liability for other parties involved. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident, and you have a dashcam installed on your vehicle, it can record the actions of other drivers involved and make a case against them.

This dashcam footage would make it much easier to prove the accused or at least have penalties charged on them. If there were any witnesses to your accident, then you could use the dashcam video as proof.

Some Things to Remember

The reason why dash cams are illegal in California is that they can alter the outcome of a case. It has the potential to affect the fairness of investigations or other incidents.

If you’re using a dashcam for personal purposes, then you should be able to use it with little interference. However, the laws are stringent when it comes to using them on public roadways.

Video surveillance or recording is a normal part of modern life in the state. However, it is legal in California only if:

1. A public agency is using it.

2. The person being recorded has given their consent to be recorded on video.

3. The footage captured is for security purposes.

4. The footage captured isn’t going to be edited or published.


Dashcams have become increasingly popular with the rise of road rage and increased car accidents. However, the negative impact of installing a dashcam on public roadways in California is that it can potentially alter outcomes, thus affecting the fairness of investigations. Laws are always evolving with technology, and so it’s not surprising that California is trying to catch up with other states to help govern the use of dash cams.

Hope this article provided ample information on the laws of California, which were based on dashcams and their usage.


Q. If dash cameras are illegal in CA, then why do most drivers have them on their vehicles?

A. While it is true that the legislation is against dashcams and their usage on public roadways, most drivers choose to ignore all such laws. Most drivers do not install dash cams, and even those who install them often use them only while they’re not on public roads.

Q. Are dashcams legal in CA?

A. In the state of California, using a dashcam is illegal when it comes to recording events that happen while you’re operating your vehicle on public roadways. However, you have the freedom to choose whether or not you want to obey this law and record what’s going on around you.

Q. What are dashcam laws?

A. In the state of California, it’s completely illegal to use a dashcam while you’re operating your vehicle on public roadways. However, if there’s an investigation or surveillance that a police officer is doing, there are no restrictions on using a dashboard camera.

Q. Which is the best dashcam with regard to features?

A. If you’re looking for a dashcam, you need to make sure that it has the features that will benefit you. The best dash cam will have a GPS feature that will allow you to track your location at all times, microSD cards, memory card slots, and a wide-angle view for clearer recordings.