Recording our lives used to be relegated to holiday photo albums with a few embarrassing photos and grainy home videos. Our world has changed to front-facing camera selfies and the monetization of self-documentation.
The dashboard camera also referred to as “dash cam”, has been one of the few devices to rise alongside our hand-held phones. Dashboard cameras have been popularized on social media for their neutral inclusion in some of the most sensational situations.
There have been captures of Law enforcement errors, crimes against taxi drivers, and also popular social media channels that have grown exponentially through the use of dashboard cameras.
However, what should one consider when thinking of using a dashboard camera in terms of its legality? The legality of dashboard cameras varies by state and is typically regulated with regard to two areas, Electronic surveillance, and Obstruction of vision.
First, there is the issue of privacy and consent. When you install a Dashboard camera, whether it is on or not, its capacity to record must be taken into account. This article focuses on the prohibitions and regulations about having devices with the capacity to record in a vehicle in Wisconsin.
Electronic surveillance is mentioned in the Wisconsin State Legislature Statutes under “968.31 Interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications prohibited.”. In Wisconsin, you need to obtain consent from the passenger that they acknowledge there is a recording device in your vehicle and that it can capture their activity and all surrounding sounds in the environment.
There are certain states that require consent from both parties, meaning you, the driver and the passenger’s consent. Depending on whether you would driving cross country, it is important to research the regulations that vary by state.
The other legal matter to consider is obstruction of vision. In the state of Wisconsin, it is prohibited to install anything that obstructs your vision on your windshield, with the exception of listed items in the statute. In this case, it is a matter of where you place your dashboard camera.
Your dashboard camera should not obscure more than 5 square inches of the windshield on the driver’s side and about 7 square inches on the front of the passenger side. Anything that obscures more than this, is not legal in the state of Wisconsin.
You should of course still review the statutes and check on the regulations for your county, otherwise, with these regulations, it is considered that dash cams are legal in Wisconsin. Yet, if your dashboard camera meets the passenger consent and obstruction regulations, feel free to enjoy your new dashboard camera.
Now you know what the dashboard camera legalities are in Wisconsin, check out our other dash cam laws by state.