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Sharjah: Drivers should install dashboard cameras to help resolve disputes over car crashes, police said, while warning against the device’s misuse.

Captain Suad Al Sheiba, director of traffic awareness branch at Sharjah Police Traffic and Patrol Department, told Gulf News that dashcams help in cases where a motorist deliberately causes a crash.

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Captain Suad Al Sheiba, director of traffic awareness branch at Sharjah Police Traffic and Patrol Department

“There is no law in the UAE that criminalises the installation of dash cameras. However, UAE law states that taking a photo or video of someone without their consent is illegal as it is invading that person’s privacy. Motorists using dashcams could be seen to be in direct violation of privacy rules. Some cars are manfactured with dashcamera and some drivers buy either online or from digital devices market.

“Dash cameras cannot be installed in cars, since they record the roads and people who do not want to be recorded,” he said.

“For instance, a man or woman is crossing the street and this person was recorded through a dash camera installed in a car and the owner of the camera use it or post it on social media. This is clearly breaching privacy rules.

“There are cameras installed in the streets that can be used to detect motorists committing offences or causing traffic accidents,” Captain Al Sheiba said.

Vital tool

Captain Al Sheiba said that dashcams are not illegal and could be used as a vital tool in determining fault in traffic accidents.

“I believe placing a dashboard camera helps motorists and traffic police, as long as it is used to film the road ahead and to help keep drivers out of trouble and to determine fault and liability for motor vehicle accidents,” he said.

“Using a camera to record the road is allowed unless the driver uses the recording to defame an individual, invading someone’s privacy by filming them without their consent and sharing the video could result in detention up to six months and fine of between Dh5,000 and Dh500,000,” the official added.

Captain Al Sheiba explained that their traffic expert can validate the video recorded by dashcams and use it as an evidence in an accident investigation. Not every video taken by any dashcamera can be considered as an evidence. The video should be clear and show the faulty part clearly, he added.

Legal action

Owning a dashcam is not illegal in the UAE but the use of them in filming somebody without their permission could invade their privacy and land the owner in legal trouble.

Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code stipulates that a person shall be punished by detention and fined if they prejudice the privacy of an individual or family life by committing any of the following acts

> to eavesdrop, record, or transmit by any device of any kind whatsoever conversations in a private place or by way of telephone or any other device; and

> to take or transmit by any device of any kind whatsoever a photo of a person in a private place.

What are dashcams?

Car dashboard cameras have become quite popular over the past few years. These cameras record videos of the road, which can prove useful in a lot of situations. Some people use it to monitor and improve their own driving, but its main purpose is to provide evidence in case of an accident.

However, there are some rules and regulations that the vehicle owners must adhere to.

The law was passed in 2016 where the Federal Traffic Council of the UAE allowed car owners to install dashcams without violating the privacy of the other motorists on the road.

What is not allowed with dashcams?

Drivers are strictly prohibited from uploading and sharing footage of pedestrians and other drivers on Social Media or other platforms.

Violating this may expose the uploader to possible prosecution, and up three to six months in jail, with a fine of between Dh5,000 to Dh 500,000.