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For Dashcams there are two methods for attachment to the windshield. Some manufacturers opt for a Klebestalterung. The testers sometimes needed a lot of power to remove them – with the iTracker DC-A119S they damaged the plastic holder. Other manufacturers rely on suction cup holders. These are easier to handle and are therefore particularly suitable for drivers who frequently change their vehicle and want to take the dashcam with them. On some models, the scope of delivery includes both mounting systems. These include the TrueCam A7s and almost all test candidates from Nextbase. For optimal video capture, attach the unit to the centre of the top of the windshield. An exception is the Nextbase Mirror Dashcam: Users fix the mirror-shaped car camera on the rearview mirror.

Dashcams in the test: image quality by day and night

To clear up an accident, the image quality of the Dashcam must be as high as possible. Most cameras deliver Full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels or pixels) and 60 frames per second. Less is not recommended, because otherwise, details such as number plates in the images may be difficult to recognize. Some Dashcams support higher resolutions, such as the YI DashCam, which films with 2304×1296 pixels. If you want to record 4K videos, you do not have to dig deep into your pocket. The Braun B-Box T9 (RRP: 92.90) already produced usable clips with a maximum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The NavGear MDV-2850 is also designed for 4K recordings and costs only around 80 euros, but the movements in the videos are very jerky. Since you limited the camera better on Full HD. During the nighttime test, the Nextbase 422GW and the Rollei CarDVR-318, which captured many details in low light conditions, were particularly positive.

Dashcams: recording and emergency function

So that motorists do not take their hands off the handlebars, the car cameras record automatically. It can be set either video loops from one minute or endless recordings. However, according to the BGH judgment, the police can impose a fine for permanent filming in traffic, so this is not recommended. A camera whose loop recording is not flexible, for example, is the Garmin Dash Cam 56: It automatically records one-minute clips and overwrites them again immediately. At the touch of a button, you can back up videos manually. The most important function of a Dashcam is the emergency recording: If high deceleration forces (G-forces) act, for example during full braking or a crash, the devices automatically save the current clip.

For this model to work properly, the sensitivity of G sensors is adjustable. The emergency videos are always read-only. Even manually, a video can be saved in an emergency, just by pressing a button. Another useful extra is the Nextbase 422GW: The Emergency SOS function sends an emergency call to an emergency services centre after a crash, similar to the eCall function prescribed in new cars since 2018. In the first year of the SOS service is free, then fall to 3.99 euros per month.

Dashcam test: evaluation of the recordings

For a comprehensive evaluation of the videos, the recording stamp is important. Ideally, you will find speed, GPS coordinates and date taken. The information can be read out by software. The most comprehensive program offered the Blackvue DR650S-2CH and Nextbase devices. The programs gave information about the G-forces that acted on the equipment, the speed travelled and the distance travelled. If several people use the same vehicle, they optionally enter their name on different Dashcam models. Among other things, this option was offered by the Blaupunkt BP 3.0 FHD. However, a translation error hides this option: The device does not translate “Driver ID” into “Driver ID” but into “Driver ID”.

Dashcam: Germany and the current legal situation

The use as evidence is also permitted. Nevertheless, pay attention to a few things: The “permanent anlasslose films” is not allowed in Germany. The car camera must constantly overwrite its clips (loop). It is only allowed to save a video if the G-sensor detects a shock. The maximum length of the stored loop is not specified by the BGH. As a guideline, the judgment can be used with file number 2 O 4549/15: The admitted by the Nuremberg-Fürth district Dashcam video showed the collision 15 seconds before and 15 seconds later. The loop was thus a total of 30 seconds, which the judges classified as data-sparing operation.

What are the Dashcams allowed to record?

Everything without personal reference, for example, a nice ride on the lonely country road. In addition, the recording is permitted under the Federal Data Protection Act, if it serves a legitimate purpose (such as the preservation of evidence), the recording is therefore required to provide evidence that not I, but another has caused an accident.

How long can a recording be?

Even if I have a legally protected reason to keep records, the principle of data economy applies, so I’m only allowed to film the actual process and not any behaviour after that.

May I also film during parking?

No. The district court of Munich has determined in August 2017 that permanent recording during parking is inadmissible.

May I publish the videos with license plates?

Also, the publication of marks may be an interference with someone else’s personality rights, but the intervention is less profound because only individuals or authorities can draw a conclusion on a person due to a license plate. Nevertheless, you always need a good reason for a publication.

May I go to the police after an accident with my camera?

I can do that, but it turns out that I filmed all the time and without any reason, there is a risk that a fine will be instituted against me.

Are the videos allowed as proof in court?

There is no single case law. Some courts have answered in the affirmative (eg AG Nürnberg, judgment of 8.5.2015, 18 C 8938/14), others deny (for example LG Memmingen, judgment of 14.1.2016 – 22 O 1983/13). The ultimate court always considers the individual case.

What does my dashcam have to fulfil for admission?

It is important that the Dashcam collects personal data only for a protected purpose and economical data. The Dashcam may therefore only turn on when the engine is ignited, and turn off after switching off the engine. It may only record a very narrow perimeter, which could be significant for the assessment of an accident situation. Persistent storage should not be activated until an accidental event is triggered. All this should be technically feasible.