Is Installing a Dashboard Camera Illegal

by Terry Hu on May 04, 2022

If you've ever considered installing a dashboard camera in your car, you may be wondering: Is it illegal? No. In fact, there are no federal laws outlawing such devices. However, many states do have restrictions in place that could impact things like how and where you install your dash cam. Before you buy and install a dashboard camera in your car, you may want to investigate whether dashcams are legal where you live.

Although these devices are legal in many areas, two several legal issues could get you in trouble.


They Obstruct the Driver's Field Of Vision

Dash cams aren't installed on a driver's dashboard - they're mounted on a windshield using a suction cup mounting system. Many jurisdictions have laws that ban the use of dash cams that obstruct the driver's field of vision. In Colorado, California, and New York, dash cams are permitted, but they must be transparent.

Dash cams aren't installed on a driver's dashboard - they're mounted on a windshield using a suction cup mounting system. Many jurisdictions have laws that ban the use of dash cams that obstruct the driver's field of vision. In Colorado, California, and New York, dash cams are permitted, but they must be transparent.


Rough guidelines of dash cam placement:

Every state is different. Laws are updated regularly. Below is not a hard and fast rule, but merely a general idea. The best way to avoid the fuzz is to check your current laws before installing. Regularly look to see if any rules have changed.

Middle or Driver’s Side of the Windshield:

  • Don’t block more than five square inches.
  • Don’t install within airbag deployment zone.

Passenger Side of the Windshield:

  • Don’t block more than seven square inches.
  • Don’t install within airbag deployment zone.

Remember, however, that just because it’s illegal to mount a dash cam to your windshield doesn’t mean it’s illegal to have one in your vehicle. “For as long as it doesn’t interfere with your optimal view of the road, then it should be perfectly fine. It is for this reason that placing the dash cam on the car’s dashboard makes a lot more sense since it will not generally obscure your view of the road

They Violate Wiretapping Laws

There are many legal issues surrounding dash cams, including the use of audio recordings and the possibility of violating wiretapping laws. According to Lifewire, “it may actually be illegal to use a dash cam if it records a conversation in your vehicle without the knowledge of all the participants.” However, the New York Penal Law does permit recordings of conversations if both parties know they are being recorded.

Road and Track report that many states have eavesdropping statutes too. This could become an issue if you drop your vehicle off at the local auto shop and forget to turn your camera off. “If your dash cam records a conversation between people in the car that you are not a part of, it would be considered “eavesdropping” in many states,” explains Road and Track. Some states take eavesdropping pretty seriously too. Michigan, for instance, considers it a felony.

Even if dash cameras don't violate wiretapping laws, drivers may still suspect that their employers are secretly monitoring them while they're driving. Unverified reports on the Internet say that trucking companies monitor their drivers at all times.

In some cases, recording police on a dash cam may violate wiretapping laws. Even though most people don't notice the dash cam on their windshields, police officers could hear the conversation on the dash cam. This could lead to trouble if the police suspect that a driver is intentionally recording them. So, if you're a concerned driver, consider hiring a car video recording service.

Is it Illegal to Record Passengers Inside my Car? If your dashcam records audio within the cab of the vehicle,  you can stay on the right side of the law by asking the passenger for their consent before enabling the recording feature. The driver can ask the passenger to leave the car, refrain from riding it, or turn off the recording. In some cases, you may be able to disable the recording function on dash cams, so you don't have to worry about violating privacy laws.

Another issue is whether dash cam recordings are admissible in court? While the videos are not admissible, they might be used in legal proceedings in the event of an accident.High-definition dashcam footage while driving could potentially document who or what caused the accident. It may catch a driver running a red light, for example, or pulling out in front of a bicyclist. In these cases, the victim of the accident could use the dashcam footage in court to prove the other party’s fault or negligence. It is perfectly legal to use dashcam footage as evidence during personal injury or criminal cases. Only in very limited circumstances might the court rule dashcam footage inadmissible as evidence. And remember that interior recordings must be performed only when the passengers have given their consent. If you have concerns about whether dash cam videos are legal, contact a law firm and ask them to evaluate the situation. This may save you from a potential legal liability later.


Helping you stay out of trouble

As the popularity around the use of dash cam footage grows with law enforcement and insurers in helping provide irrefutable evidence in the event of an incident. The best thing to do is to look at the dash cam laws in your own state. It also pays to learn the laws of other states especially if you plan on traveling across states or even overseas. The smart thing to do is choose a discreet hidden OEM integrate dash cam, that way, you will get the protection of the dash cam without getting yourself in trouble with the law.


Dash Cam Legality by State


Nothing can be mounted on a passenger car’s windshield. If device doesn’t block view, it can be placed on the dashboard.


Dash cams that don’t obstruct a driver’s view are legal according to Alaska Statute 13.04.225. Devices must be smaller than five square inches when mounted on the driver’s side or less than seven square inches on the passenger side.


Anything placed on the windshield, side windows or rear windshield cannot obstruct a driver’s view. Like Alaska, dash cams must be smaller than seven square inches on the passenger side or smaller than five square inches if affixed to the driver’s side. 


Recording devices are to be mounted behind rear view mirrors. The driver’s view must not be blocked to remain legal.


Although this state bans anything that blocks the windshield, dashboard cameras get a free pass. California has strict mounting options:

Far left, lowest windshield corner without blocking more than five square inches

In the middle as high as possible without obstructing more than five square inches

Lower passenger side corner without blocking more than seven square inches


The Centennial State shuns the shiny. Recording devices can’t have any metallic or mirrored materials. This rule intends to keep bright sunlight from causing brief blindness while driving.

Dash cams cannot obstruct the driver’s view and can be placed behind rear view mirrors.


It is illegal for any nontransparent item to ride on the windshield. Affix any devices to the dashboard.


The First State prohibits driving with any nontransparent item stuck to any type of window in a vehicle. The dashboard is your best bet for placement here.

District of Columbia

It’s illegal to use a windshield-mounted dash cam. Passenger consent must be granted prior to any audio recording.


While the Sunshine State doesn’t allow obstructive, nontransparent items affixed to the windshield, dash cam use isn’t restricted. Stay on the safe side. Keep devices out of your frame of vision.


Nontransparent articles are not allowed on front windshields when vehicle is in use. Use the dashboard for placement instead.


If mounting on the driver’s side, a device can be up to five square inches. If installing on the passenger’s side, a device can be up to seven square inches. Placement can be in any corners of the front windshield. The dashboard and rear windshield are also up for grabs.


Nontransparent materials can’t be legally mounted on windshields. Dashboards are a suitable alternative.


Mounted devices cannot obstruct the driver’s view. If installing on the windshield, choose a device no larger than five square inches.


Dash cams must not exceed four square inches. Placement is allowed on the dashboard and the lower right windshield corner.


While dash cams are not specifically mentioned, Iowa does require that drivers maintain a clear view. Any window or windshield cannot obstruct a vehicle operator’s vision. Have a small dash cam installed so you still have a full range of vision.


Use your best judgement when looking for just the right spot. Kansas gives a thumb’s up if the driver’s vision is not obstructed.


This commonwealth doesn’t restrict or ban dash cams or their placement. Use your best judgement when installing so driver’s sight isn’t limited.


It is illegal to operate vehicles with any nontransparent object attached to windshields. Mount devices on dashboards.


It’s perfectly legal to use dash cams if they do not block the driver’s view. Both windshields and dashboards are acceptable for placement.


There are only a couple of positions where windshield-mounted dash cams are legal. A lower corner can accommodate a device up to seven square inches. Or devices can be mounted above AS-1 lines, or roughly five inches down from a windshield’s highest point.


Dash cams can’t be legally mounted to the front windshield. Use the dashboard instead. Devices are permitted on side windows if they aren’t reflective.


Windshields aren’t legal mounting areas unless vehicle is a tractor-trailer, bus, or truck carrying 10,000-plus pounds or hazardous materials. Passenger cars should use dashboards to mount devices.


Dash cams are legal if affixed directly behind, a tad above or a bit beneath rear view mirrors.


Nothing is allowed to distract drivers or obstruct their view. While dash cams are not singled out, stay safe by mounting them on dashboards.


As no laws dictate dashboard camera use, drivers can install these devices where they want. Caution should be taken to maintain an unobstructed view.


No item of any kind can prevent a windshield from being completely clear. The dashboard is a fitting substitute.


The dashboard can be used in this state that prohibits windshield-mounted dash cams. Passengers must consent to audio recordings.


Dash cams can sit anywhere on the dashboard. Windshield placement is limited to the lower right corner in an area less than six square inches.

New Hampshire

Front windshield-mounted dash cams are illegal. Recording devices may be installed on dashboards or rear windshields.

New Jersey

Nontransparent items aren’t allowed on front windshields, passenger windows or driver windows. Dashboard-mounted devices are acceptable. Optimal placement is on passenger side of the dashboard close to the windshield.

New Mexico

Nontransparent objects aren’t allowed on front windshields, rear windows (when used to boost visibility) or side windows near drivers. Your best bet is to mount dash cams to the dashboard.

New York

Even though New Yorkers can’t legally mount dash cams on windshields, this state openly invites use. Passenger car drivers with operational dash cams are eligible for a five percent discount from their auto insurance premiums, according to New York bill A5132. Mount devices on the dashboard.

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State does not have any dash cam-specific laws. Find a spot that does not impair your view before installing.

North Dakota

Nothing can block any part of the windshield. Install devices on dashboards.


Windshield-mounted cameras are not allowed. What goes on inside vehicles can be recorded when dash cams aren’t mounted on windshields.


Dash cams can be installed on dashboards if they don’t obstruct the driver’s view. No windshield mounting is permitted.


No windows or windshields can be obstructed. The dashboard makes a suitable alternative.


Nothing can block either windshield or any windows. Dashboard-mounting is a solution.

Rhode Island

Windshield-mounted dash cams aren’t allowed. Install device on the dashboard so it does not obstruct the driver’s view.

South Carolina

Dash cams are illegal if mounted on windows or front windshields. Dashboards are a sensible alternative.

South Dakota

Vehicles may not display nontransparent items on front windshields or windows. Dashboard-mounting is perfectly acceptable. Audio and video can be legally recorded within autos when notice is given.


Windshield-mounted electronic devices are prohibited. Dashboard installation is legal.


Nothing in a window or windshield can obstruct the driver’s view. Mount recording devices on dashboards so they stay out of the way.


Windshield installation is legal with restrictions. The top of the windshield is alright provided device doesn’t stick out past four inches. Driver’s side corner is another option, but object can’t creep past four inches towards operator. Dashboards and rear windshields are fair game as well.


Windshield mounting is fine. If installing on the upper driver’s side corner, device can’t exceed 2 inches in height and 2 ½ inches in length. If installing on the lower passenger side corner, dash cams must be less than four inches in height and a foot in length.


This commonwealth prohibits windshield-mounted dash cams. Dashboard placement is allowed. Install in a spot where driver maintains an unobstructed view.


Operating vehicles is prohibited if any nontransparent objects obstruct the driver’s view according to Washington State Legislature Section 46.37.410. Areas include front windshields, side windows, side wings and rear windows. The dashboard may be the best place for installation.

West Virginia

Nontransparent items are prohibited on front windshields in the Mountain State. Dashboard installation is another option. Keep device out of driver’s line of vision.


While windshield-mounting is allowed, there are specific restrictions. Dash cams must be installed behind rear view mirrors, but they are to stay out of area cleaned by front wipers. It may be safest to install in a remote spot on the dashboard.


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