Owning dash cams is LEGAL, Dubai Police clarify
Dubai - Uploading of footage on social media strictly prohibited, but recordings can be shared with the police, says top official
Though dashboard cameras are widely thought of as being illegal, they are not, and can actually help motorists and investigating authorities when in a traffic accident, according to experts and police officials.
Colonel Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of the General Department of Traffic at the Dubai Police, said that as part of the "We Are Police" programme, the department welcomes videos and photographs of violations committed on roads, as many motorists only obey the law when in close proximity with police vehicles.
He added that in the first quarter of 2016, the police received 12,400 dash cam images - 4,831 of which came from the public.
Mike Singer, Executive Brand Manager of OpenEye Security and Installations - the only company licensed in the UAE to distribute, monitor and install dash cams for commercial use - says that the benefits of a dash cam are just as important to the individual motorist as they are to the police.
"It can help prove your innocence to the Dubai Police or your insurance company in case of faulty judgement," he said, adding that the company has a registry it created in collaboration with the Department of Protective Systems.
"Many people believe that owning a dash camera is illegal," he added. "However, it couldn't be any farther from the truth."
The confusion, Singer said, stems from concerns regarding privacy. "People believe it's illegal because of the strict privacy laws in the UAE," he said. "People cannot take any footage or photos and upload them to social media. This is very strict and you can get into a lot of trouble if you do so."
"That being said, you can own a dash camera without any legal implications," he added. "We do find that people in this region have a predisposed belief that it is illegal and from there do not pursue their purchase of a dash cam."
Colonel Al Mazroui, for his part, also noted that any photographs or video taken by a dash cam of the driver or his passengers might violate privacy laws. To avoid possible legal action, any recordings can only be shared with the police, who will verify that a traffic violation took place, after which time the offending driver will be alerted and the violation registered.
As an example of how it can work, Colonel Al Mazroui highlighted a case in which a European woman initially denied having committed a traffic violation, but was found culpable and apologised after being shown video of the incident.