A quick browse of dash cameras for trucks will produce a dizzying number of results. Aside from the sheer number of manufacturers to sift through, there are many different types of cameras for trucks.
Understanding what each type is for can save you the trouble and cost of picking the wrong one. Moreover, it helps to understand what physical and legal limitations exist with truck cams as well.
When selecting a dash cam for trucks, the primary consideration should be its purpose. What is the specific reason you are searching for cameras for trucks? The answer to this question will inform what your choice should be.
As the name suggests, this is the basic dash cam arrangement. It involves a single camera facing out the front windshield.
This type of dash cam is generally used for insurance purposes or if you just want to record a joyride through picturesque countryside. However, this is far from the ideal dash cam for various purposes.
For instance, insurance claims will only be supported by evidence from this arrangement if your vehicle is hit in the front. Since the front of the vehicle is generally what causes the accident, the basic dash cam is more likely to pick up you hitting someone else rather than the other way around.
In truth, this is the dash cam arrangement for the cash strapped consumer. These dash cams are generally the least expensive on the market.
Even a standard dash cam the records in 1440p Ultra HD and includes a number of additional features can often be had for under $100. However, those savings come at the cost of coverage.
Dual cams feature two dash cameras. One faces the front recording the road ahead, while the other faces the rear.
However, this arrangement is more than two dash cams. Instead, a dual dash cam synchronizes the two feeds. This provides stronger evidence in the event of trying to prove an insurance claim.
Still, this arrangement is not without its faults. For one, a dual dash cam will run out of memory quicker than a normal dash cam. This is because the feeds of both cameras are being recorded to a single memory card.
Another consistent issue with dual dash cams comes from video quality. More often than not, dual dash cams use asynchronous resolutions. This is where the resolution of one dash cam is better than the other.
The general rule of thumb for this setup is to feature a dash cam with HD resolution in the front with a standard definition dash cam in the rear. Unfortunately, this means the area where you are most likely to need clear video evidence is often the area that uses a lower resolution camera.
A backup camera for truck is not fundamentally different than the standard dash cam. Both cameras rely on a single camera with one primary difference being the direction pointed.
Where a standard camera faces the front, a truck backup camera obviously faces the rear. However, there is another major difference between the two arrangements as well.
Backup dash cams need to be hardwired directly into your vehicle. Most dash cams either come with a kit for this or sell one separately.
Still, this means that a backup dash cam will inherently require more installation than the general standard or dual dash cam arrangement. Granted, both of those types can often be hardwired to your vehicle, but they generally do not need to be like with a backup dash cam.
Another difference between this type of dash cam and the others already covered involves placement. A backup dash cam needs to be able to gauge the distance between your truck’s bumper and other objects.
As such, a backup dash cam will have to be placed outside of the truck’s cab–generally under the bumper to offer as much protection as possible. Still, this will expose the dash cam to the elements.
This is why any quality backup dash cam should be waterproof and heat resistant. Moreover, a backup dash cam will need to use some system of measuring–generally infrared sensors–to determine the distance between your truck’s bumper and objects behind it.
If dual is two, then quad is four. This type of arrangement offers the most protection both for individual owners as well as fleet owners.
This is the setup that includes side dash cams. While it is possible to find separate side dash cams, it is uncommon.
More often than not, side cams are included as part of a quad dash cam arrangement. However, this arrangement generally does not work as many might assume.
The side cams are not intended to actually record the left and right directions of the truck. Instead, side cams generally record the rear of the truck from either side. This is most beneficial for a multiple axle truck or anything that requires a license beyond Class B.
In fact, quad dash cams are arguably more useful for owners of fleets than individual drivers. This is because the additional points of view do not necessarily provide better evidence for individual drivers.
Single drivers simply need to cover their bases in the event of an accident. However, owners of fleets need to ensure that their vehicles are protected from both external threats and their own drivers.
As such, the quad cam arrangement will often feature a cam facing front, two facing rear on either side, and one recording the cab. Of course, there are a few quad cam arrangements for individual drivers.
This type of quad dash cam will often feature a single unit with four lenses facing each of the cardinal directions. In fact, this is the quad dash cam that actually will record the side views.
Regardless of whether the quad dash cam is designed for a multi-axle truck or an individual driver, it will often suffer the same potential pitfall: cost. Quad dash cam arrangements are by far the most expensive.
This type of dash cam will generally top $200 and the most advanced will exceed $300 or more. This is another reason quad cams are often reserved for fleet owners.
The potential losses that a fleet owner may suffer are generally far more than an individual. As such, it makes more sense to invest a few hundred protecting the larger investment. Of course, an individual driver of a multi-axle truck can also benefit from this additional protection.
A security camera is almost always a dual channel dash cam. However, it differs from the normal dual dash arrangement in a couple ways.
One of the primary differences between a security dash cam and a standard dual dash cam is that the rear facing camera will record different views. The normal dual dash cam will record outside the rear window.
On the other hand, a security dash cam is meant to provide protection and evidence for the driver. That is why the rear camera for a security dash cam will record the interior of the cab.
If the driver is in the taxi industry–including as a freelance contractor for Uber or Lyft–this rear cam will often record the back seat. In this instance, it will often be a rear-view mirror mounted dash cam.
However, if the driver transports goods, the rear camera will often be mounted on the passenger side A-pillar of the truck’s frame. This allows the secondary cam to record the driver.
While this arrangement can provide evidence if the driver is robbed, it can also be used to watch the driver. This is most beneficial when you own the transport truck but do not drive it yourself.
Another major difference between standard dual dash cams and security dash cams is night vision. Dual dash cams offer suffer from poor night vision quality.
Of course, those dash cams are recording a much larger image range. The interior cam of a security dash cam will often be able to record in infrared.
However, a quality dash cam that record infrared will also require numerous focusing and self-correcting features. These features are not common and come at a steep price.
One issue to look out for with a quality security dash cam is heat. The inclusion of additional sensors and processors to record in infrared makes these cams more sensitive to heat than other types.
The primary benefits of a dash cam–regardless the arrangement–are generally focused on protection. Specifically, dash cams provide evidence for whatever needs may arise.
Most often, this takes the form of proving an insurance claim. Even with a comprehensive insurance plan, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will cover your accident.
Things can get especially tricky if the cause of the accident remains a bit unclear. In this instance, the insurance company will often fall back to a police report which may or may not accurately record the events of the accident.
In this case, a dash cam provides hard evidence of the events to definitively prove one way or another what actually transpired. However, this protection can go beyond accident protection.
If you own a fleet of trucks that transport goods, dash cams can offer protection from potential theft by drivers. While most drivers are hard-working employees, dash cams can help prove if a driver is responsible for lost or damaged goods.
While each arrangement is different for various types of vehicles, trucks hold their own unique considerations. The main issue with a dash cam for trucks relates to mounting it.
Whether mounted with a suction cup or adhesive, truck windshields generally rise at a steeper incline than other vehicles. This means the dash cam must be able to rotate on a swivel at a sharp enough angle without running up against the glass.
This is not an issue for dash cams mounted outside of the vehicle. However, those cams will often carry their own mounting issues.
For dash cams mounted outside the vehicle, the most common issue is cable length. Most dash cams offer between fifteen to thirty feet of cable.
While that is more than enough cable for dash cams mounted inside the truck, dash cams that need to be mounted outside may find that insufficient. This is especially true of backup cams.
In this instance, you will either have to purchase a longer cable–if the manufacturer sells one–or splice the cable. However, splicing the cable will often void any warranty on the dash cam and needs to be done by a professional.
Thankfully, there are few legal restrictions in the US when it comes to dash cams. In fact, there are pretty much only two potential restrictions, and they do not remain consistent from state to state.
The first potential restriction involves where the dash cam or cams are mounted. Most states have laws that prevent obstruction of view out the front windshield and other windows.
However, the specifics of what constitutes an obstruction differs depending on the state. Some states do not allow a dash cam to be mounted on your windshield under any circumstances. Other states limit where on the windshield a dash cam can be mounted.
The other potential legal concern for dash cams is heavily dependent of the cam in question. This issue boils down to whether or not you are recording audio as well as visual feeds.
Twelve states, roughly twenty five percent of the US, have laws that prohibit single consent audio recording. In those twelve states, both parties of a conversation must consent to an audio recording.
If both parties do not consent to an audio recording, then that audio is inadmissible in a court of law. However, these electronic surveillance laws will generally not lead to criminal charges being pressed if the recording is not used against the unconsenting party or released to the public.
Dash cams can provide the comfort and security of knowing if something goes wrong, you have impartial evidence. They can protect you during motor accidents or criminal activity.
Moreover, they can even offer protection for goods transported by trucks you own. However, it is important to know what you need the cam for before choosing.
Individual drivers are best served by standard dual cams, while taxi services will benefit from the security cams. Multi-axle trucks are likely the only ones that require quad cams, but other may find comfort in the additional coverage.
Be sure to check with your local laws when mounting the cam to a windshield. Also, if the cam records audio, check local surveillance laws in case you need to seek consent from a secondary party.
With this checklist, you should be able to find out what kind of truck cam is right for you. Moreover, you can also avoid any potential pitfalls that might creep up along the way.