Dash Cam legality in France

Dash Cam legality in France

When Dash cams were a new phenomenon, people marvelled at how drivers managed to record footage on their smartphones of meteorites in Russia, an aircraft crashing into a river in Taiwan and wheels coming off vehicles on the motorway, while at the same time driving their car. When informed that they were filmed by dash cams, people had no idea what they were.

A dash cam is there to take footage of the unexpected, however early adopters had the idea they enabled the recording of one’s journey down Route 66. I even had a heated exchange with a customer who questioned the reliability of the SD card reader, because he expected taking the card in and out every day. The trouble with this concept is that the footage is overwritten as you drive, with incidents stored in a separate folder, triggered by impact detection, to save against being erased by the loop recording. I can assure you, there is nothing more boring, and sometimes nausea inducing, than watching dash cam footage, especially in this age of streamed on demand entertainment.

In France, it is legal to use them for private use, however footage should not be uploaded to the internet and should go directly to the police in case of an accident. In addition, they should not obstruct the driver’s field of view, as is the case in the UK. All but one of Thinkware’s dash cams don’t have a screen, allowing them to be discretely mounted behind the rear-view mirror, avoiding any distraction of the driver.

Dash cams have been slow to catch on in France, with only an estimated penetration of 35,000 as of February 2020. Some insurance companies are starting to offer discounts, with L’olivier, the French online subsidiary of UK Admiral Group, running a 10% discount deal and another online firm, AcommeAssure, offering 15% off.

All Thinkware dash cams offer safety camera alerts when equipped either with an internal or external GPS antenna. Now in France it is illegal to pinpoint the location of the enforcement cameras, however it is allowed to advise of danger zones where cameras are located somewhere within that zone.

We all think we’re great drivers and the unexpected won’t happen to us, but accidents do happen, and a dash cam can save a considerable amount of grief by being your personal expert witness, when all other witnesses have run for cover. As soon as there is an element of doubt about an incident, you could be in for a protracted court case, which induces anxiety and anger, all of which can be avoided by having a dash cam. The easiest person to sell a dash cam to is someone who has just had an accident, as their personal experience exposes the need.