Law on dash­cam use in Dubai clar­i­fied

Think­ing of us­ing a dash­cam? Find out about the law first

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Ma­hak Man­nan @Ma­hakLFC ma­hak@7days.ae

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.

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