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Can I legally record a video when driving and talking to the camera?

E.g.:

Driver talking to a camera


Some clarifications following comments the question received:

It seems like this might run afoul of laws against distracted driving.

I'm unsure whether laws pertaining to hands-free phone use would also apply to the a driver talking to a hands-free video recorder. E.g. in Arkansas, all cell phone use, including hands-free, is illegal in school or highway work zones. (http://www.pcworld.com/article/246574/cell_phone_driving_bans_state_by_state_where_you_break_the_law.html ; http://handsfreeinfo.com/arkansas-cell-phone-laws-legislation/)

I am only interested in the case where the driver is talking "to" the camera, meaning that the first intent of the driver is that whatever they say is recorded by the camera.

Are you only interested in the situation where the camera is in front of the driver? What about the situation where the camera is in the back seat, held by another person, but the driver still does intend that whatever they say is recorded by that camera. Is that situation within the scope of this question? –

Yes, I am also interested in that situation.

You might want to add "over 18" and "fully licensed" to the conditions, because even hand-free cell usage by drivers under 18 is illegal is some states (Colorado), or with instructional permit (Washington). – user6726 1 min ago

Let's assume the driver is fully licensed and over 18.


I am mostly interested in the following locations:

  • California, United States
  • Illinois, United States
  • Massachusetts, United States
  • New York, United States
  • Paris, France
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Not obvious what the concerns are. Capturing background without permission or distracted driving. I suspect that there aren't any laws specifically addressing this uncontemplated practice. – ohwilleke Dec 14 '16 at 21:22
  • I bet all traffic codes have some open rule to the effect that a driver should be aware of the traffic and his surroundings. For this specific activity, I think a good proxy of what that means would be if talking through a cellphone (with free hands set) is allowed or not. – SJuan76 Dec 14 '16 at 22:19
  • @ohwilleke let's focus on the distracted driving part – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 15 '16 at 17:53
  • You might want to add "over 18" and "fully licensed" to the conditions, because even hand-free cell usage by drivers under 18 is illegal is some states (Colorado), or with instructional permit (Washington). – user6726 Dec 15 '16 at 18:24
  • @user6726 Thank you, good point, Let's assume the driver is fully licensed and over 18. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 15 '16 at 18:26
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California

There is no general "distracted driving" statute in the Vehicle Code.

There are specific prohibitions against cell phone use and texting (23123-23125). It allows for hands-free talking, so merely talking with the intent that your voice is recorded seems to not be prohibited.

23103 defines "reckless driving" as driving a vehicle "upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property".

Illinois

The vehicle code of Illinois is similar to California's in this regard (there is no general "distracted driving" statute, there are prohibitions against cell phone use and texting, allows for hands-free talking, and there is a reckless driving crime for "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property").

Other jurisdictions

I could go on, but I hope I have given you a template for how to research this question in other jurisdictions.

Mere presense of the camera

The mere presense of a driver-directed camera seems to not be a problem, based on safety programs by insurance companies (for example, American Family Insurance) that include a camera that captures a clear view of the driver. (This supports an inference that a driver-directed camera alone isn't in violation of any driving laws, at least in Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin).

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