New Law Allows Dashboard Cameras In All Vehicles

Some Drivers Don't Want Big Brother Watching

If you find yourself in a car accident, it may be caught on tape.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just signed a law that allows carmakers and owners to equip their vehicles with dash cameras.

Lawmakers say the idea behind the new law is to promote safety, but some say is it an invasion of privacy.

Currently, state law prohibits dashboard devices that may obstruct a driver's view, but the new law allows these recording devices in a specific area, but many local drivers don't like the idea of having a camera in their car.

The devices may be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment zone, or in a 5-inch square mounted to the center uppermost portion of the interior of the windshield.

The new law is supposed to promote safer driving habits and reduce accidents. These devices can record video, audio, how fast and which direction you were traveling, a history of where your car has been, seatbelt usage, and steering and braking.

"There has actually been an 80 percent reduction in accidents in vehicle equipped with recording devices," said Vaughen Cain of the California Highway Patrol.

Proponents say there are enough safety measures to avoid an invasion of privacy, but others say big brother now has access to your driving performance and history.

"I would not put a camera in my car. I think it is an invasion of privacy," said Steven Handle, a local driver.

The device will record in a continuous loop but only save video and audio information for 30 seconds if the vehicle is involved with unusual motion or crash.

"I think these devices are useless. If you are in a accident, you are in an accident. The camera is only going to tell you what you already know. But more importantly, If you are in an accident, will these devices become the property of investigators?" asked Daniel Castillo, a local driver.

If a person is driving for hire in a vehicle with a video event recorder, the bill would require the person's employer to provide, upon request, unedited copies of the recording to the person, free of charge, and within five days of the request.

Due to privacy issues, a vehicle that is equipped with a recording device will have to post notice that conversations may be recorded.

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