To understand how front and rear dashcams work, it is important first to understand how a regular digital camera works. A digital camera takes pictures by using a lens to focus light onto an image sensor. The image sensor is made up of tiny light-sensitive cells that convert the incoming light into electrical signals. These electrical signals are then converted into digital data that can be stored on a memory card or other storage device.
A digital video camera works similarly, but it records videos instead of taking still images. The videos are recorded onto a microsd card or other storage device in the same way that digital photos are stored. This technology has empowered drivers of all types — motorcyclists, commercial truckers, rideshare contractors, and even private individuals operating a passenger vehicle — to capture video footage of their journeys and protect themselves from unwarranted liability in the event of an accident.
While the concept behind a dashcam is simple, the actual devices themselves can be quite sophisticated. Many modern dashcams come equipped with features like GPS tracking, night vision, and motion detection. Some even come with Wi-Fi capabilities, so you can view and share your videos without having to remove the memory card from the camera.
Most dashcams are designed to be mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle, although some models can be attached to the rearview mirror or even clipped onto clothing. The location of the dashcam is generally not an issue, as long as it has a clear view of the road ahead.
As the name suggests, a front dashcam is mounted on the front of the vehicle, usually near the windshield. A rear dashcam is mounted on the back of the vehicle, often near the license plate. Many dashcam systems include both a front and rear dash camera, providing a complete full HD wide angle view of the vehicle's surroundings.
The cameras are generally activated by the ignition being turned on, although some models may have a manual power button. The cameras start recording automatically and continue to record until the ignition is turned off. Some dashcams will loop recordings so that when the memory card gets full, it overwrites the oldest footage, making space for new recordings.
Dash cams are legal in all U.S. states, but many states have laws about signs, posters, stickers, or other opaque materials or objects on the front windshield — essentially, anything that obstructs a driver's ability to see the road clearly. Even something like a parking permit or handicap tag hanging from the rearview mirror may be enough to warrant a moving violation, so it's important that you review your state's windshield obstruction laws before determining how and where to mount your own front-facing dash camera.
In some jurisdictions, dashcam footage may not be admissible in court unless an affidavit accompanies it from the driver attesting to its authenticity. In other words, if you try to submit dashcam footage as evidence without having a sworn statement from the driver, the footage may not be allowed into evidence. This is why it's important to consult with an attorney before attempting to use dashcam footage as evidence in a legal proceeding.
There are a number of different types of dash cams, each of which serves a specific purpose (or number of purposes):
A single-channel dash cam is the most basic type of dash cam. It includes one camera unit that is mounted on the dashboard or windshield. This type of dash cam is typically less expensive than multi-channel models, but it offers a limited view of the vehicle's surroundings. It can be installed anywhere, depending on where the driver wants to collect footage, but again, this is the most limited coverage that a dash cam can offer — even with a wide-angle lens.
A multi-channel dash cam includes two or more camera units. These units can be mounted on the dashboard, windshield, rear window, or even clipped onto clothing. Multi-channel dash cams provide a much wider angle view of the vehicle's surroundings than a single-channel model. They are typically more expensive than single-channel dash cams, but they offer a more comprehensive view of the road.
An AI dash cam is a type of dash cam that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and record objects or events of interest. For example, an AI dash cam might be able to monitor driver behavior or recognize potential hazards and provide real-time driving instructions or advice to help support safe driving. MiX Telematics offers an AI dash cam solution that can help fleet managers and drivers focus on safety by reducing distractions and optimizing routes.
In-vehicle dash cams are permanently installed in the vehicle, usually by a professional installer. These units are often hardwired into the vehicle's electrical system and connect to the vehicle's onboard computer. In-vehicle dash cams typically offer the most comprehensive coverage of the vehicle's surroundings, as well as the longest battery life and storage capacity. However, they are also the most expensive type of dash cam.
Portable dash cams are small, self-contained units that can be moved from one vehicle to another. They typically run on battery power, although some models can be hardwired into the vehicle's electrical system. Portable dash cams are a good choice for drivers who use multiple vehicles or who want the flexibility to remove the dash cam when they leave their vehicle.
A wireless dash cam is a type of portable dash cam that transmits footage wirelessly to a receiver, either inside the vehicle or outside of it. This type of dash cam is typically used in commercial vehicles, such as buses or taxis, where the driver may not have direct access to the camera.
The videos recorded by dashcams can be helpful in a number of situations. If you're involved in an accident, the footage can be used to determine who is at fault. If your vehicle is stolen, the police may be able to use the footage to track down the thief. And if you witness a crime, the footage can be used as evidence to help catch the perpetrator.
In a telematics solution such as our AI dashboard cameras, drivers and fleet managers can get alerts about risky driving that help improve safety and efficiency. We offer road-facing cameras, driver-facing cameras, and in-cab cameras that face the driver, and are happy to work directly with customers to develop a solution that suits their needs and their budget.
While dashcams can be helpful, it's important to remember that they are not a replacement for good driving habits. A dashcam won't save you from getting into an accident, but it can help you avoid liability if you are involved in one that you didn't cause. If you're looking for a way to improve your safety on the road, a dashcam is a good place to start. But don't forget — the best way to avoid an accident is to drive carefully and attentively.
When choosing a dash cam, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, think about where you want to mount the camera. If you want a permanent installation, you'll need to choose an in-vehicle model. If you want a more portable solution, look for a portable or wireless dash cam.
Determine how many cameras you want. If you want a complete view of your surroundings, you'll need a front and rear dash cam. But if you only want to record footage in front of the vehicle, a single front-facing camera will suffice. You may also want an in-cab camera that focuses on the driver or covers the entire cab, which will mean that the system is a bit more complex and will require some additional hardware.
Start with a clear understanding of the areas you want to monitor, and you will be able to build your system from there.
Think about what features are important to you. Do you want a camera that starts recording automatically when you start the vehicle? Do you want a camera that can be controlled by your smartphone? Do you want a camera that comes with an MicroSD card for storage? Does the camera record with high dynamic range (HDR) which enhances the Full HD night recording capabilities, and what is the frame rate (fps)? How about an AI coach that can monitor driver behavior and provide in-cab coaching?
Consider your needs and choose a dash cam that has the features you want.
Consider your budget. In-vehicle dash cams and AI cameras are the most expensive type of dash cams, but they also offer the most features. Portable and wireless dash cams are less expensive, but they may not have all the features of an in-vehicle model. After a single accident that proves you or your fleet driver were not liable, you may find that the cameras paid for themselves!
There are other things that you may want to consider when researching the right dash cam solution for you and your fleet. Is the company known for its customer support? How difficult is it to install the cameras? Will the platform scale if you choose to expand and add cameras to other fleet vehicles, or is it a standalone unit?
These are just a few of the many considerations that go into determining the right dash cam for your needs. But with a little research, you'll be able to find the perfect solution for you and your business.
If you have any questions about how our AI dash cameras work, or if you'd like to learn more about our telematics solutions, please contact the team at MiX Telematics. We're always happy to help!
Front and rear dash cams are ideal for anyone who wants to improve their safety on the road.
Businesses with fleet vehicles can use dash cams to monitor driver behavior and reduce liability, and individuals can use them to protect themselves in the event of an accident.
Livery or rideshare drivers will also benefit from having a dash cam, as it can provide an extra layer of protection. An in-cab camera may deter bad behavior and can help in the event that there is a dispute or issue between passengers and drivers.
If you're looking for a way to improve your safety on the road, a dash cam is a good place to start. But don't forget — the best way to avoid an accident is to drive carefully and attentively.
MiX Telematics' AI dash cam is ideal for any fleet manager who wants to focus on safe driving behaviors, and there are added benefits to this monitoring such as improved fuel usage, fewer in-vehicle distractions, and improved driver morale as safety ratings climb.
There are many reasons to get a front and rear dash cam. If you're looking for a way to improve your safety on the road, or if you want to protect your business from liability, a dash cam is a good investment. And with the advances in technology, dash cams are more affordable than ever.
If you're still on the fence, consider this: a dash cam can provide evidence that you were not at fault if you are involved in a car crash. In the event of an accident, insurance companies will often look at dash cam footage to determine who is liable. And if you're a business owner with a fleet of vehicles, dash cams can help you monitor driver behavior and improve safety.
So, is it worth getting a front and rear dash cam? We think so! MiX Telematics offers AI-enabled dash cams that are designed to help improve safety on the road. Our cameras are easy to install and offer a variety of features, including real-time driver coaching, accident reconstruction, and fleet management.
If you're interested in learning more about our AI dash cameras, or if you'd like to discuss your specific needs with a member of our team, we'd be happy to chat. Contact MiX Telematics today to get started.