Best dash cams for new drivers

Why get a dash cam?

Getting your license and your first car is an exciting time for many new drivers. It comes with a sense of freedom but also the stress of being safe on the road. Add to that traditionally steep insurance premiums for young drivers or even families with young drivers and it's no wonder that this demographic is one of our largest customer bases.

Most parents who are putting their teenager in a car want to invest in a dash cam. Not necessarily to spy on their children but to keep them protected in the event of an accident. An at-fault claim for a new driver can cost significantly more in terms of rate hikes than it would for a driver with many years of claim-free driving. For that reason, the return on investment with a dash cam is definitely higher with new and young drivers.

Our recommendations

We understand that many students and younger drivers may be on a bit of a tighter budget, so we wanted to keep our recommendations affordable. The more expensive dash cams we recommend will typically have more features but the cheaper ones will still offer a great deal of evidence in the event of an accident or other incident. 

1. VIOFO A119

This is our budget pick for a new driver. Despite the low price point, the video quality rivals dash cams that cost 2-3x more. The design is very stealthy and will not be distracting for a new driver. While a hardwire kit is available, most users will use the included cigarette adapter which has dual USB ports to keep both the camera powered on and other accessories charged!

This camera is capable of recording at 60 frames per second and will do a better job of picking up license plates than most dash cams that record at 30 frames per second. It also has built in GPS which can show the driver's speed in the timestamp. This might be a useful feature for parents or proving that a driver wasn't speeding in the event of a police stop or accident.

2. Thinkware F50

The Thinkware F50 is our second recommendation. The video quality is not as good as the VIOFO A119 but you should consider this model if you are concerned with parking recording. This unit will need to be hardwired if you want to use this feature. It has one of the best parking mode features on the market with motion detection, impact detection, and built-in voltage cutoff.

Parking mode recording is helpful for catching hit and runs as well as vandalism. We have many customers that leave their cars at their college campus or work that have expressed concerns about hit and runs. When cars are parked among a bunch of other new drivers, we're not surprised that this is a concern. When paired with the optional GPS accessory, this unit can also track speed and alert the driver of red light cameras as well as speed cameras. 

3. BlackVue DR490-2CH

This is one of our favorite budget 2 channel dash cams. It's very simple in its design but offers great video quality (1080P + 1080P) for the price point and parking mode recording capability. There's no WiFi app so you'll need to take the card out to review footage. You can do so by putting the Micro SD card in an SD adapter and plugging it into your computer. 

The addition of a rear camera will be helpful for catching vandalism, theft, and rear end accidents. This camera has proven to be reliable in the heat and has a very discreet and distraction free. An optional GPS accessory adds the option for speed tracking and location as well. 

4. BlackSys CH-200 2 Channel

The BlackSys CH-200 is the most affordable Full HD + Full HD front and rear dash cam that also features wifi technology. This lets the user download videos onto their phone to share on social media or even to a police officer attending the scene of an accident. A great choice for tech-savvy drivers who have an Android or iOS smartphone. It's one of the best parking mode dash cams as it offers customizable partitioning and motion detection. 

Furthermore, this 2 channel system has features like lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and forward vehicle starting alarm. The last feature, FVSA, will alert a driver when the car in front has started moving. If a driver is stopped at a red light and playing with their phone or the car's radio, this feature might be a handy reminder. 

5. A Rideshare Dash Cam Bundle

This isn't a specific model recommendation but we have a number of good rideshare bundles put together with dash cams from BlackVue and Thinkware. We understand that a lot of younger drivers want to work with rideshare companies such as Uber or Lyft as it works for their schedule and might be a good way to earn some extra cash. That being said, there's a lot of liability related to rideshare that drivers may not initially consider. 

Our rideshare dash cam bundles offer at least two channels of recording. One for the front (exterior) which can prove fault in the event of an accident. The second is the interior infrared camera that can record an unruly passenger. We've heard some of our ridesharing drivers report that passengers might claim that they were harassed by a driver just to get a free ride/compensation. These sorts of allegations are likely to impact a driver's standing within the company and can affect their livelihood and having video evidence is crucial to argue against such claims.

Additionally, should you pick up a drunk or unruly passenger who assaults you, that evidence is going to be necessary to file a complaint or press charges. These rideshare bundles also include GPS loggers which can display the vehicle's speed in the timestamp. In the event that a passenger claims you were speeding or driving aggressively, that speed stamp will help protect yourself. 

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