Surveil your own state with the PapaGo Dash Cam

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I love the idea of these dashcams, but I don’t think they’re legal in California:

(13) (A) A video event recorder with the capability of monitoring
driver performance to improve driver safety, which may be mounted in a
seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed
from the driver, in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the
windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment
zone, or in a five-inch square mounted to the center uppermost portion
of the interior of the windshield. As used in this section, “video event
recorder” means a video recorder that continuously records in a digital
loop, recording audio, video, and G-force levels, but saves video only
when triggered by an unusual motion or crash or when operated by the
driver to monitor driver performance.

© Video event recorders shall store no more than 30 seconds before and after a triggering event.

(D) The registered owner or lessee of the vehicle may disable the device.

(E) The data recorded to the device is the property of the registered owner or lessee of the vehicle.

(F) When a person is driving for hire as an employee in a vehicle
with a video event recorder, the person’s employer shall provide
unedited copies of the recordings upon the request of the employee or
the employee’s representative. These copies shall be provided free of
charge to the employee and within five days of the request.


That is, they have to be recording only a 30-second loop only. Which really makes them almost useless. They wouldn’t’ve been useful for recording the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia. They won’t be useful when the cop pulls you over (you’ll obviously want a good 30 minutes of dashcam footage, showing your actions prior to be pulled over + everything that occurred after). Even for recording an accident it’s ridiculously hobbled: what if, after a collision, the person who you hit/hit you decides to get physical? This CA law pushed through by the police for the police. The CA state police want to control the horizontal. The CA state police want to control the vertical.

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The section you quote is about items mounted to the windshield or side mirrors. You can still use a dashcam, but to obey the letter of the law you have to mount it on the dash, not on the windshield.

In practice, I have many friends in the Ingress community who have phone mounts attached to the windshield, and have had many encounters with the police during late-night Ingress play, and none have ever been hassled about it.

I agree that CA state police have pushed through some bullshit - I still resent having had to remove the tint from my front windows when I moved from NV - but I don’t think this is an example of it. It’s just a poorly written law. “Don’t put stuff on your windshield” and then add a series of stupidly narrow carveouts for whatever well-connected constituents ask for them.

The dashcam carveout appears to be written specifically for taxis, and the limitation on recording length is part of a series of provisions which appear to address concerns about taxi passenger privacy.

PapaGo Dash Cam

Other than the name, not much to like here…

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