Are you interested in purchasing a dash cam, but you’re not sure what your state’s legal stance is regarding its use? Have you found yourself searching phrases like “Are dash cams legal?” or “legal placement of dash cam” on your favorite search engine? Do you want to familiarize yourself with state dash cam laws, but you’re not interested in reading through boring state statutes?
If any of this sounds familiar, then this guide is just what you’ve been looking for. Below, you will find information about dash cam laws by state. You can simply scroll down to your state or browse through the entire list if you would like to see how your state’s laws compare to other jurisdictions.
What are dash cam laws?
Dash cam laws are statutory guidelines that govern the purchase and use of dash cams. Specifically, these laws answer the question, “Are dash cams legal?” while also outlining where these devices can be mounted, including other use-related information.
As you will see, dash cam laws vary from one state to the next. However, before we shift into our list of dash cam laws by state, are dash cams legal? The simple answer is yes. You can purchase, install and use a dash cam, regardless of which state you call home.
But before you click away, make sure you look over our list of dash cam laws by state so that you can follow local laws regarding their placement and usage. To keep things simple, the states are listed in alphabetical order.
In Alabama, it is illegal to place anything on the windshield of a vehicle, making suction dash cams illegal to install. However, placing a dash cam on the dashboard is legal as long as it does not obstruct the driver’s view.
Statute 13.04.225 of Alaska states that dash cams are legal as long as they don’t obstruct the driver’s view. If a dash cam is mounted on the driver’s side, the dash cam’s area must be smaller than five square inches.
For example, a device on the driver’s side that is two inches by two inches would be legal. However, a device three inches wide by three inches tall would be too large, and thus, it would be illegal.
When comparing dash cam laws by state, Arizona has some of the most specific regulations governing the placement of dash cams. The Arizona dash cam laws state that “a person shall not operate a motor vehicle with an object or material…affixed or applied on the windshield or side or rear windows…in a manner that obstructs or reduces a driver’s clear view through the windshield or side or rear windows.”
To quantify this, dash cams have to be smaller than a five-inch square if installed on the driver’s side and a seven-inch square if installed on the passenger side.
Dashboard cameras are legal in Arkansas as long as they are behind the rearview mirror and not obstructing the driver’s view. If it obstructs the driver’s view, the dash cam is deemed illegal.
California state law defines dash cams as video event recorders and exempts them from the law stating that nothing can hang on the windshield. The dashboard camera “may be mounted in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver or in a five-inch square mounted to the center uppermost portion of the interior of the windshield.”
Colorado prohibits obstructing the driver’s view, which means that it’s perfectly legal to place a dash cam behind the rearview mirror or on the dashboard. The state also specifies that a dash cam can’t be mirrored or metallic, as reflective surfaces could momentarily blind a driver in the right lighting.
Connecticut prohibits placing non-transparent materials on the windshield. The law doesn’t specify dash cams, but it also doesn’t exempt dash cams from the rule. To be safe, mount a dash cam on the dashboard out of sight.
Delaware’s state law declares that “no person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway with any sign, poster or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, side wings or side or rear window of such motor vehicle.” Therefore, in Delaware, dash cams should be mounted on the dashboard.
District of Columbia (D.C.)
Dashboard cameras are legal in Washington, D.C., but it is illegal to mount a dash cam on the windshield. D.C.’s dash cam law states that “no person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield.”
Drivers must also have permission from all passengers to record audio in the car. To be safe, mount a dash cam on the dashboard and include a sticker or sign stating that the dash cam records audio.
Florida law prohibits placing any non-transparent objects on the windshield that could potentially block the driver’s view. However, there are no laws prohibiting the use of a dash cam. In fact, dash cams aren’t mentioned in the state’s laws. As long as the dash cam isn’t an obstruction, it’s legal.
Dashboard cameras are legal in Georgia, and drivers are allowed to record video and audio, as long as the permission of everyone in the vehicle is obtained first. However, installing a dash cam on the windshield instead of the dashboard would be against the Georgia dash cam laws that state “no person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield.”
According to Hawaii law, a dash cam can be five to seven inches square, as long as it is also installed in the top or bottom corners of the windshield. Drivers can also install a dash cam on the dashboard or back window.
Idaho dash cam laws prohibit obstruction of the driver’s view. Since dash cams fall into the category of non-transparent materials, dash cams must be installed on the dashboard instead of the windshield.
Illinois vehicle laws don’t specifically mention dash cams or other recording devices. Therefore, as long as the dash cam doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view, drivers can install a dash cam on the windshield. If installing a dash cam on the driver’s side, make sure that it’s smaller than a five-inch square.
Indiana allows dash cams on the dashboard and on the windshield as long as the driver follows installation laws. When installing a dash cam in Indiana, the camera must be a four-inch square installed in the bottom corner on the passenger side.
Iowa law doesn’t mention dash cams specifically. Therefore, as long as the driver can see clearly, dash cams are legal. The law states that “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle equipped with a windshield, side wings or side or rear windows which do not permit clear vision.”
Dashboard cameras are legal in Kansas. As long as the dash cam doesn’t “substantially obstruct” the driver’s vision, the driver can place the dash camera on the dashboard or windshield.
There are no laws in Kentucky that prohibit or limit a dash cam’s placement. As long as the dash cam is placed reasonably and doesn’t cover or obstruct the driver’s vision, it’s legal.
Although Louisiana law does not specifically mention dash cams, it states, “no person may operate a motor vehicle with any object…affixed to the front windshield…so as to obstruct or reduce the driver’s clear view through the front windshield.” This would mean that dash cams are allowed as long as they’re placed on the dashboard and not the windshield.
Maine allows dash cams on the windshield or dashboard as long as they don’t interfere with the driver’s vision. Maine’s law has an exemption for “required or provided equipment of the vehicle,” which could apply to dash cams in trucks.
Maryland has specific requirements for dashboard camera placement. Essentially, drivers can place dash cams above the AS-1 line or higher than five inches below the top of the windshield. Drivers can also place a dash cam within a seven-inch square in the bottom corner of the windshield.
Drivers in Massachusetts cannot place a dash cam on the windshield because it counts as non-transparent material. Instead, place the camera on the dashboard. Drivers can use a side dash cam attached to the side window if the “total visible light reflectance is not more than 35%.” To keep things simple, we suggest mounting the dash cam on the dashboard.
Dashcams are legal in Michigan, but they cannot be placed on the windshield. However, the law doesn’t apply to trucks over 10,000 pounds, truck tractors, buses or trucks carrying hazardous waste.
In Minnesota, drivers must mount dashboard cameras “immediately behind, slightly above or slightly below the rearview mirror.” Dashcams count as “driver feedback and safety monitoring equipment,” making them legal.
Mississippi does not allow any objects to obstruct the driver’s view. However, there are no laws specifically restricting dash cams. Drivers should mount a dash cam on the dashboard to be safe.
Missouri is one of the few states that has no mention of obstructions to the driver’s view. This means that dash cams are legal to install and that the driver can install a dash cam wherever is most comfortable for them. To avoid obstructing vision, install the camera behind the rearview mirror or on the bottom or top of the windshield.
In Montana, the law requires drivers to have their windshields completely unobstructed. Specifically, objects, whether transparent or non-transparent, cannot “obstruct, obscure or impair the driver’s clear view.” Therefore, drivers in Montana should install their dash cams on their dashboards instead of their windshields.
Although dashboard cameras are legal in Nebraska, drivers are not allowed to install them directly on the windshield. They can install dash cams on the dashboard, but drivers must obtain permission from other cab passengers before recording audio.
Drivers in Nevada can install dash cams that are smaller than a six-inch square in the “lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver.” Drivers cannot install dash cams anywhere else on the windshield. However, you can install a dash cam on the dashboard with no restrictions.
In New Hampshire, drivers are not allowed to install a dash cam on the front windshield. However, if the car has a back camera, the driver is allowed to install a back camera that watches activity from the rear side of the car. Drivers are also allowed to install dash cams on the dashboard.
New Jersey does not allow a driver to install any non-transparent objects on the front windshield, the driver’s side window or the front passenger’s side window. When installing a dash cam, install it on the dashboard near the windshield on the passenger’s side.
New Mexico’s dashboard camera law states that “no person shall drive any motor vehicle with any…non-transparent material upon or in the front windshield, windows to the immediate right and left of the driver or in the rearmost window if the latter is used for driving visibility.” Drivers should only install dash cams on the dashboard and not on the windshield.
New York bill A5132 “provides for a 5% automobile insurance premium reduction for noncommercial passenger motor vehicles equipped with an operating dashboard camera.” Dashcams are legal and encouraged in New York because they act as a non-biased passenger and help to resolve ambiguous traffic accidents. Drivers should install a dash cam on the dashboard and not on the windshield.
North Carolina does not mention dashboard cameras or windshield obstruction in its motor vehicle laws. However, drivers should use discretion to determine the best and safest place for a dash cam. Mounting cameras on the dashboard is always a safe choice, as cameras mounted in this location are unlikely to obscure your vision.
North Dakota law states that drivers cannot install dash cams on the windshield. Drivers must have all windows cleared from any obstruction, including stickers, dash cams and posters. Thus, the best place for a dash cam in North Dakota is on the dashboard.
Ohio law does not allow drivers to install a dash cam on their windshields. All dash cams have to be installed on the dashboard or elsewhere in the car. As long as the camera doesn’t obscure any part of the windshield, it is legal to record video and audio in the cab.
You cannot install dash cams anywhere on the windshield in Oklahoma. Drivers can install dash cams on the dashboard as long as it does not obscure any part of the windshield.
According to Oregon legislation, “any material that prevents or impairs the ability to see into or out of the vehicle” is prohibited. It is illegal to place a dash cam on the windshield or on any other windows in the car. However, drivers can place a dash cam on the dashboard to record audio and capture videos.
Pennsylvania law prevents drivers from mounting a dash cam on any of the windows in the car, including the windshield. The law requires that drivers have a full view from their windshield without obstruction, but mounting a dash cam on the dashboard carries no restrictions.
In Rhode Island, dash cams are legal but cannot be mounted on the windshield. Drivers can install a dash cam on the dashboard pointing toward the road. As long as the dash cam doesn’t “obstruct the driver’s clear view,” it is legal.
South Carolina allows mounted dash cams on the dashboard, but not on the front windshield or any of the windows in the car. The driver must be able to see out of any window of the car.
Non-transparent materials are not allowed on the front windshield, side wings, side windows or rear windows of any vehicle in South Dakota. However, drivers can mount dash cams on the dashboard of the car. It is also legal to record video while driving and record audio of those in the vehicle with permission or notice.
Tennessee law requires that the driver’s view is completely unobstructed. This means that drivers cannot mount dash cams or GPS systems on the front windshield of the vehicle. Drivers can legally install a dash cam on the dashboard of the vehicle without restriction.
In Texas, a driver commits an offense “if the person operates a motor vehicle that has an object or material that is placed on or attached to the windshield or side or rear window and that obstructs or reduces the operator’s clear view.” Put simply, dash cams are legal in Texas, but they cannot adhere to the front windshield.
In Utah, drivers can mount dashboard cameras on the windshield as long as the dash cam is along the top of the windshield and doesn’t extend down further than four inches or in the lower left corner and doesn’t extend out more than four inches. Drivers can also install cameras on the back windows of the car without penalty.
Vermont law allows drivers to place dash cams in the lower right-hand windshield area as long as the device is less than four inches tall and 12 inches long. If mounted in the upper left-hand corner of the windshield, the device can be two inches high and two-and-a-half inches long.
Virginia state law prohibits a driver from placing a dash cam on the windshield but allows the driver to place it on the dashboard. As long as the driver has a clear, unobstructed view of the road, the device is allowed.
Drivers in Washington can have dash cams mounted on the dashboard to record audio and video while driving or while parked. The driver cannot mount the camera on the windshield because it could obstruct the driver’s clear view of the road.
Drivers in West Virginia are not allowed to have non-transparent materials mounted to the front windshield. There are no laws restricting the placement of a dash cam on any other windows of the car. To be safe, install a dash cam on the dashboard out of the driver’s line of sight.
In Wisconsin, dashboard cameras are legal. However, drivers cannot mount a dash camera on the windshield unless they mount it behind the rearview mirror.
The camera also cannot be mounted within the area cleaned by the normal sweep of the car’s windshield wipers. Wisconsin also does not allow anything to be placed between the driver and the windshield, making it ambiguous about where to install a dash cam. Once again, mounting the dash cam to the dashboard appears to be the simplest solution.
Wyoming allows a driver to mount a dash cam on the dashboard but not on the front windshield. As long as the dash cam does not obscure the windshield, dash cams are legal.
Find a great dash cam
Now that guidance regarding the legal placement of dash cams in your state has been discussed, let’s shift our focus towards explaining how you can find a great dash cam in general. If you’ve searched for dash cams before, then you already know that there are plenty of options out there.
As a result, it can be tough to find the right technology for your driving needs because the options are endless. Find out more about our guide to the best-rated dash cams on the market and our top dash cam reviews.
Sign up for a FreightWaves e-newsletter to stay informed of all news and trends impacting supply chain careers and operations.