Rental cars are convenient for those traveling and can be more affordable than hiring a private shuttle service. Rental cars can be used for a couple of hours, a few days, or even weeks.
Most rental car companies have a couple of built-in gadgets that allow them to monitor mileage, routes driven, and other technical things. But do rental car companies have cameras in their cars?
Most rental cars do not have cameras, but some may have a dash or reverse camera. Reverse cameras are installed for safety reasons, and dash cameras are used to record any accidents should they occur. Rental cars do not have hidden cameras, as this would violate specific laws.
There has been some speculation around rental cars having cameras or not. As you can imagine, most people wanting to use a rental car can be left feeling vulnerable or violated if they find that rental cars have cameras in them.
Cameras In Rental Cars
Rental cars typically do not have cameras installed. Most rental cars have a variety of different car options, some of which are budget-friendly and others that are more luxurious.
Most modern vehicles have built-in reverse cameras which help you reverse, but these have no recording ability.
Dash cameras may also be installed in case of any incident or accident involving the rental car. This footage is likely to be used if any legal situation arises from an accident. Dash cams do not face the driver and do not record the interior of the rental car.
Do Rental Cars Have Cameras That Track Your Location?
Rental cars do not have cameras that track your location. Some rental cars have GPS, which may track your routes and help with navigation, but there are no cameras installed in rental cars that record and monitor your location.
Most rental cars have tracking devices. Rental car companies use trackers to locate the vehicles should they be stolen. Trackers may also alert drivers and the rental company when a driver crosses state lines or international borders if the rental car company prohibits this.
If there are additional devices in the rental car, the rental company will be required to inform the driver when they sign the terms and conditions in the rental agreement.
Generally, these additional devices would include a GPS tracker device. The GPS tracker will send location alerts, have real-time tracking and track your location history.
There may also be a fuel monitor to keep track of the fuel used before the car is rented and when it’s returned.
Is It Illegal For Rental Cars To Have Cameras?
It isn’t illegal for rental cars to have cameras, but it is unlawful for them to record you without your permission. If a rental car company has any type of camera, including a dash camera or a GPS tracker, they need to inform the customer, and this information should also be included in the rental contract.
If a rental car company is found recording drivers without their permission, this will be a breach of privacy rights, and the rental car company can face serious legal implications.
Which Rental Car Companies Have Cameras?
According to an article in CBS news, Hertz, a famous rental car company, has installed cameras in some of its rental cars. These built-in cameras aren’t like your typical cameras but are focused on offering routing help and local city guides.
According to Hertz, these cameras were part of their NeverLost 6 dashboard assistant, and the cameras have never been turned on due to insufficient bandwidth to support them.
Instead, Hertz is installing cameras to add a live agent feature in the future to help assist drivers when they have questions or need assistance with the rental car.
What Is The Black Box In A Rental Car?
If you’ve ever used a rental car, you may have seen a black box. Almost all rental cars are fitted with this box, which is known as an event data recorder. It collects driving information before, during, and after a collision.
The black box also records the car’s speed and information like whether the driver swerved, braked, or if the airbags were deployed during an accident. This information is supposed to help car manufacturers improve their cars but is rarely used to do so.
This information is sometimes used as evidence when a matter goes to court.
What Information Do Rental Car Companies Collect From Rental Cars?
Tracking devices are installed in rental cars so rental car companies can collect certain information. This information helps the company better serve its customers, and there is no intention to spy or keep an eye on customers.
- GPS tracking. A GPS tracker collects and reports the location of the rental car. It can also give the rental company information like mechanical problems and accidents and can help locate a vehicle if it’s stolen.
- Remote unlocking. At times customers may forget the keys in the rental car or lock themselves out of the vehicle. Devices installed in the rental car allow the rental company to lock or unlock the car should it be required.
- Fuel monitoring. Rental car companies record fuel levels before and after the rental car is used. However, in most cases, rental car companies do not monitor fuel during trips.
How To Check If Your Rental Car Has Cameras
It is unlikely that your rental car will have a camera, but to protect your privacy, there is no harm in checking for cameras in your rental car. Here are a few ways to check for cameras in your rental car:
- Look for a visible camera lens on or near your dashboard. Sometimes cameras can be small and well hidden, but all of them will have a lens. Use a flashlight to help you look for a camera.
- Some cameras may have a little flashing light that shows they are recording. This can be green or red. Look for any suspicious flashing lights on your dashboard.
- Listen for any clicking or recording noises. Most cameras will be silent, but it depends on the model. If you hear a strange sound from your dash, a camera may be installed in your rental car.
- GPS and navigation tools typically don’t have cameras, but in some instances, rental car companies may use a built-in dashboard feature that comes with a camera.
Rental car companies will not install cameras in their rental cars because this violates an individual’s privacy rights.
All rental car companies must mention if cameras are installed in their rental cars in the rental agreement. In most instances, the only cameras you will find in rental cars are reverse and dash cameras.