Law on dashcam use in Dubai clarified
Thinking of using a dashcam? Find out about the law first
A new scheme will allow motorists to install cameras on their vehicles and send footage of accidents and bad drivers directly to police.
The move is intended to provide independent evidence of accidents – including who was at fault in the event of a crash – and additionally catch out dangerous road users.
A change in the law came earlier this year after the Federal Traffic Council backed the move.
But there are complexities surrounding the move, sparking questions and debate among 7DAYS readers.
A key point is that any footage must be sent directly to police and not published online or on social media.
The distinction can mean the difference between being a helpful road user assisting police or falling foul of cybercrime, defamation and privacy laws.
Michael Singer, the Executive Brand Manager of dashcam firm Open Eye Security Systems, which signed the deal with Dubai Police, answers questions about how it works.
Q What impact can the dashboard camera have on the UAE roads?
A We know that the average person has about a 42 per cent less chance to directly cause a traffic infringement if they believe they are being watched.
I would like to stress that owning a dash camera so someone can be safer on the roads is not a “scare tactic”.
Human behaviour in general proves that individuals are less likely to commit any sort of inci- dent or crime when they believe there are eyes on them. There are also countless examples in which a dash camera can prove to be beneficial like simple fender benders up to catching an individual recklessly driving.
Q Where should the camera be placed?
A The camera placement is really based wherever the individual would like it. The most practical spot would be mounted on the windshield right under the rear view mirror (facing out towards traffic) so that it does not impede a driver’s view of the road.
Q Who can buy a dashcam? A The simple answer is anyone. I will note that in order to be placed on the dash camera registry, your vehicle’s camera must be purchased through our company. There are no other companies within the UAE who are certified to sell and install dash cameras.
Q What about the issue of privacy given the dashcam is recording surroundings all the time? A The only thing you can do with your dash camera is use the footage for yourself or directly with the Dubai Police. Nothing can be posted on any social media, especially if it implicates anyone or anything. Without following these laws, you could end up with a heavy fine, or even possibly land yourself in jail.
We want people to understand that dash cameras are there as a second wave of security and safety, not for anything else.
Q So, dashcams will be able to record footage without the passer-by knowing?
A The answer again is yes, but it depends what footage is captured and what you do with the footage itself.
If you are driving while your dash camera is on and you see someone recklessly swerving through traffic without using a blinker, then yes, you could send that footage to the Dubai Police and that individual could be handed the appropriate fine. All without knowing that they were caught doing something illegal.
Q How many dashcams are currently being used in the UAE?
A Currently we estimate that there are probably less than 150 dash cameras on the roads in Dubai. This equates to 0.0001 per cent of the 1.4 million vehicles in the city.
Q What are the benefits of having a dashcam?
A In areas with no CCTV, dash cameras provide an amazing accessory for the driver, and the attending officer.
If there is footage of exactly what happened that caused an accident, there is no doubt that it would save the police a huge amount of time.
We also know that it would directly impact a “who is at fault?” decision by having direct evidence.
In theory, it would not only save police time, but it would also cut down time for road users by allowing an accident to be cleared quicker, resolving traffic build-up.