With many residents going on long road trips this Eid Al Fitr holiday, car accessories shop owners in Dubai have witnessed a robust sale of dash cams or dashboard cameras.

“Dash cams capture road trip moments and can help you provide proof or evidence in case of an accident,” said Mohd Yahya, one of the owners of Al Warqa Car Accessories in Satwa.

“They can help you with your insurance claims, and some – the high-tech ones – can even give you emergency alerts,” he told Khaleej Times.

It’s a kind of insurance, said James Abad, a motorist who recently installed a dash cam for his sedan. He said: “When another car hits your vehicle, and the other driver doesn't take responsibility, pull out the footage from your dash cam to show what really happened. The video evidence will resolve the 'he-did,' 'she-did' argument."

“I had an accident back home in the Philippines, and my dash cam helped me establish who was at fault. So, I decided to install one for the car I use for my daily commute here in Dubai,” Tan recounted.

Yahya said the dash cams available at his shop are sold for as low Dh200, with top brands going up to Dh400, depending on storage capacities ranging from 16GB to 512GB. “There are dash cams with AI technology, parking sensors, and ones that can be accessed anywhere through an app. They can be easily installed in the car,” he informed.

Use with caution

However, there is a grey area when installing the video recording device. Another dash cam seller, Khalil Ahmed, underscored: “Use dash cam with caution.”

Ahmed explained: “Technically, installing a dash cam is not illegal in the UAE. But filming someone unknowingly can be deemed as an invasion of privacy.”

UAE authorities have repeatedly reminded the public about different ways that may infringe on others' privacy. Taking pictures or videos of someone’s car is one of them that can attract a hefty fine of up to Dh500,000 with six months of imprisonment.

“But if the footage is only used for submission to authorities or insurance companies in case of an accident, and there is no social media abuse, then the use of dash cam is permissible,” noted Ahmed, who said he has sold more than ten dash cams during last week of Ramadan.

“Some dash cams contain sensor data like speed and impact force that will make it easier for you to file an insurance claim,” he added.

What do police say?

Dubai Police have long ago established the fact that no law in the UAE criminalises dashboard cameras. They welcome, in fact, the use of dash cams as part of the ‘We Are Police’ initiative that urges motorists to submit any recorded photos, videos and footage of traffic violations.

A law was passed way back in 2016 that allowed motorists to install dash cams without violating the privacy of other road users. Dubai Police also said dash cams can help prove one’s innocence or expedite insurance claims. "The most important thing is not to breach the privacy of road users by these cameras. There are rules and regulations that car owners must follow,” they underscored.

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