At this point, dash cams have become so common that they’re practically a ubiquitous part of our lives. It’s almost more uncommon to see someone who DOESN’T own one of these powerful little devices than to come across someone who does. People use them for everything: They act as a way to capture incredible footage of your drive, a way to deter insurance fraud, a way to protect yourself in the event of an accident – you name it.
Dash Cam

If you’re the type of person who can’t see yourself going anywhere without your dash cam but also likes to travel, taking your device along can absolutely be a good idea – particularly if you’re going to be traveling someplace that you’re not already intimately familiar with. This does come with its fair share of considerations, however, as the laws governing their use are very different, depending on where you’re talking about.

Case in point: While dash cams are very popular all across Europe, the laws that you’ll be subject to don’t necessarily match the ones you might be used to back home. In the event that you are trekking across Europe and want to record every waking minute as you go, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Europe’s Dash Cam Laws: What You Should Be Aware Of

First, the good news: The United Kingdom itself has some of the most relaxed dash cam laws in the world. If this is where you’re headed and you’re going to be getting around via rental car, you probably don’t have much to worry about.

However, it’s also important to understand Europe in general. According to one recent article, the European Union doesn’t actually have any set regulations about owning and operating in-car electronics like a dash cam. But this doesn’t mean that you’re totally off the hook regarding recording people without their permission in public. It just means that those laws are left to be decided by the actual European country you’re traveling in. So the minute you cross over from the United Kingdom and into a place like Denmark and Italy, the situation is going to understandably change.

In Austria, for example, using a dash cam of any type is totally banned. Not only will you get a $10,000 fine as a first offender, but if you happen to get caught again during your trip, that fine is going to rise to $25,000. Not a great way to have a fun time overseas.

Dash cams in Belgium are totally legal, but only for “private use.” So if you get into an accident with another party, you have to get their permission in order to keep recording, or you won’t be able to submit that footage as evidence.

The laws in France and Germany are very similar to those of Belgium, but Germany specifies that your dash cam can’t actually obstruct your vision in any way, or you might get yourself into trouble.

Luxembourg, like Austria, has also totally banned dash cameras. Likewise, if you’re going to be heading into Portugal, you’re definitely going to want to put that dash cam in the glove compartment of your car and forget about it for awhile.

Using a dash cam in Switzerland is totally legal, but so many conditions come with it you might not want to bother. The Swiss never, under any circumstances, want you to use your dash cam for: a) entertainment; or for b) documenting a journey. You can only use them with a legal purpose and that purpose must adhere to the Swiss “principal of transparency.” So basically, unless the person you got into an accident with already knew that you had a dash cam and are recording at the time the incident took place, which they probably didn’t, you’re not going to be able to use that footage in any way.

Again, it’s very important to make an effort to understand the laws in EVERY country you’ll be visiting so that you don’t let your dash cam get you in hot water while you’re so far away from home.