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Is the Use of Dashcams Legal?

To be clear, it´s not a traffic offence as according to Traffic Law they are legal to use as long as they do not obstruct the driver´s view of the road, but it could be an offence under the data protection act, and if the camera makes unauthorised recordings of police officers, while on the job, that could endanger their own or a family member´s safety or the installations they are protecting or put the success of an operation at risk, also under the Citizen Safety Law (also known as Ley de Mordaza or ´gag´ law).

The relevant article in the Traffic Reglament:

Artículo 18. Otras obligaciones del conductor.
1. El conductor de un vehículo está obligado a mantener su propia libertad de movimientos, el
campo necesario de visión y la atención permanente a la conducción, que garanticen su propia
seguridad, la del resto de los ocupantes del vehículo y la de los demás usuarios de la vía. A estos
efectos, deberá cuidar especialmente de mantener la posición adecuada y que la mantengan el resto
de los pasajeros, y la adecuada colocación de los objetos o animales transportados para que no haya
interferencia entre el conductor y cualquiera de ellos (artículo 11.2 del texto articulado).
Se considera incompatible con la obligatoria atención permanente a la conducción el uso por
el conductor con el vehículo en movimiento de dispositivos tales como pantallas con acceso a
internet, monitores de televisión y reproductores de vídeo o DVD.
Se exceptúan, a estos efectos, el uso de monitores que estén a la vista del conductor y cuya utilización sea necesaria para la visión de acceso o bajada de peatones o para la visión en vehículos con cámara de maniobras traseras, así como el dispositivo GPS.

Article 18. Other obligations of the driver.

1. The driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain his own freedom of movement, the
Necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving, to guarantee their own
Safety of the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and that of other road users. To these
For this purpose, you should take particular care to maintain the proper position and
Of the passengers and the proper placement of the objects or animals transported so that there is no
Interference between the driver and any of them (article 11.2 of the articulated text).
It is considered incompatible with the mandatory permanent attention to driving the use by
The driver with the moving vehicle of devices such as screens with access to
Internet, TV monitors and video or DVD players.
For these purposes, the use of monitors that are in the driver’s view and whose use is necessary for the vision of access or descent of pedestrians or for the vision in vehicles with camera of rear manoeuvres, as well as the GPS device.

The relevant article in the Ley de Seguridad de la Ciudadania states under ´grave´ offences with sanctions between 601 and 30.000 euros:

El uso no autorizado de imágenes o datos personales o profesionales de autoridades o miembros de las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad que pueda poner en peligro la seguridad personal o familiar de los agentes, de las instalaciones protegidas o en riesgo el éxito de una operación, con respeto al derecho fundamental a la información.

The unauthorised use of images or personal or professional data of authorities or members of the Security Forces that may endanger the personal or family safety of agents, protected facilities or at risk the success of an operation, with Respect to the fundamental right to information.And another one, considered ´leve/light´ offence:

Las faltas de respeto y consideración cuyo destinatario sea un miembro de las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad en el ejercicio de sus funciones de protección de la seguridad.

The lack of respect and consideration whose addressee is a member of the Security Forces in the exercise of their functions of security protection.

In short – don´t talk back, don´t make fun of them, be cooperative always.

The Ley de Protección de Datos does not mention Dashcams in particular, but it prohibits the use of cameras that make recordings of the ´espacios publicos´ which the road ahead of a vehicle by definition is. In other words, in principle you cannot film the public road as you will also record personal data (numberplates of other cars e.g.) which is not allowed without the prior consent of those involved.

However, the Data Protection Act has no competence over recordings intended for private use only. So, say you want to record especially interesting bits of a  journey while on holiday for your personal use only. But if you have your camera running continuously, or even when you´re not in the vehicle, it falls under ´video vigilancia´ and then they do and you´ll have to meet a whole set of requisites most drivers have not considered. Publishing images that prove a crime has been committed on public media is not permitted. Whether they are allowed as proof in a court of justice depends on the judge, no uniform jurisprudence I´m afraid.

More info on video vigilancia in this FAQ on our website.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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