Do you / should you allow your dash cam to record audio?
After a couple of recent very close calls (likely by drivers on phones) I just got my first dash cam. Playing around learning to use it I am somewhat uncertain how I feel about allowing it to record audio (I am somewhat of a privacy freak).
My current dash cam has crappy audio recording. I wish it was better, so that if a need arose, I could just call out important details (like the license plate # of a fleeing vehicle) and know that my remarks would be captured for later recall.
If you have privacy concerns, I guess you’d need to weigh those against any positive forensic value (for you) of having your words recorded.
If you are stopped by the police you want the audio on. If you are confronted by another driver after a road rage incident you want the audio on. An issue with a pedestrian at an intersection you want the audio on. Any confrontation at all and you want the audio on.
If you are concerned about the conversations in your car being recorded, well you are in control of who if anyone ever hears that. It isn’t being broadcast to anyone. Most loops will be recorded over and never saved unless you choose to do so.
One thing to keep in mind is that shutting the car down may also shut the camera down. That’s certainly the case for my car/camera. But of course during a traffic stop the officer will probably want you to shut the engine down, so remember to put the ignition into accessory mode after you’ve killed the engine. If your car is push-button start, typically you can achieve this by pushing the button without depressing the brake pedal (check your owner manual to be sure).
Back when I had one, I wired in a separate lighter socket so it was always on. It caught my idiot next door neighbor lightly bumping my car (it set off the alarm so I knew to look through the vids) and an unrelated ugly incident between some people he had over and me. I do wish I was recording audio for that one.
I took out my dash cam when I got a new car and never got around to reinstalling. I really ought to put it back in.
That’s where I’m at right now. Took out of my last car after an accident (which it recorded, with sound). I started installing it in my new car, ran the wire up through the A pillar and I don’t have power. I’m 99% sure, I broke a splice when I yanked that same cord out of the A Pillar on the previous car, while still at the accident scene. But it’s been way too cold to play with it right now. As soon as I have nothing to do on a warm day, I’ll fix it.
Turns out my dash cam has voice activated commands so I can leave audio recording turned off and quickly turn it on when I want to record something like a license plate number or interaction with a nut (or cop) approaching my car.
I’m unclear of the legality of recording voice of police; it appears PA is one of the states that requires both parties be informed that audio is being recorded. Don’t know if having the little red LED indicator on is sufficient notice or if I must say something like “This is being recorded.”