If you're interested in using a dashcam for your car while in the UAE, here is all you need to know as an expatriate
15 December 2019| Last updated on 19 January 2020
We lay to rest UAE expats' confusion on whether or not dashcams are banned in Dubai
If you have driven on roads outside of Dubai, you may already be aware of any differences between driving in your home country versus driving in the UAE. While dashcams are legal in the United Kingdom and in some states of North America, there are still some who question, are dashcams legal in Dubai?
Here we look at what dashcams are, its controversy in Dubai, what the law says about using dashcams, and where to find the best ones.
What are dashcams?
Dashcams, as the name implies, are small and compact recording devices that are usually installed on the dashboard of a car. However, some dashcams can be fitted to the vehicle's windshield or elsewhere.
These video cameras are typically purpose-built devices, offering a sense of security, safety, and convenience as it will record everything that goes on in and around your car. In the event that something goes wrong while on the road, the dashcam will have recorded proof of what happened.
Are dashcams legal in Dubai?
According to Dubai Police, owning and using dashcams in Dubai is perfectly legal. There is no law in the UAE that criminalises dashboard cameras.
In fact, the Dubai Police welcome the use of dashcams as part of the We Are Police program, urging Dubai motorists to submit any recorded photos and footage of traffic violations.
Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of the General Department of Traffic at the Dubai Police, said that dashcams help drivers and the local authorities in investigating and managing road violations and traffic accidents.
“Such practices can be easily recorded by dash cameras,” he said.
“For instance, the incident with the taxi driver shows the importance of installing a dash camera in the car. The taxi driver deliberately reversed and hit the car behind him.”
All in all, drivers are encouraged to install dashcams to help both the owner and authorities resolve any road-related disputes.
What is not allowed with dashcams in Dubai?
However, while dashcams are accepted by the law and are encouraged to use, there is a grey area that is worth taking note of. As per Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code, taking a photo of or filming someone without their consent is illegal in the UAE, as the law dictates that doing so invades that person's privacy.
Drivers are strictly prohibited from uploading and sharing footage of pedestrians and other drivers, or the uploader may face three to six months in jail and a fine of between AED 5,000 to AED 500,000.
What is legal is that the dashcam must only be used to record the road and must not be used on social media to defame another person, group, or organisation.
Dashcam recordings in Dubai must exclusively be used in the case of traffic accidents and road violations, of which the photo or video must only be shared between the owner and the local authorities.