(WOIO) - There's a new trend revving up across America: Drivers are turning their windshields into personal recording machines.
Police have been using dash cams for years. But with all the incidents hitting the news these days, consumers are now looking to capture every second, as well.
Law enforcement officials say drunk drivers often threaten to sue police because they say they were sober. And then there are the complaints of excessive force.
But the video shows everything. Some police cars even have a second dash cam that records people who were arrested inside the back of the car.
"When they want to check out our story, or check their story out, we get the tape and it shows the whole story," says Cp. Reginald Carr.
"When the public makes complaints about officers, it's very easy to figure out who's right and who's wrong when you have picture of it," says Police Chief Lee Vance.
Now dash cams are capturing all kinds of images, like a meteor exploding over Russia just last year.
"I think what really drove dash cams to popularity here, or even the awareness that they existed, was when the meteor strikes hit Russia," says
Cobra Electronics marketing director Chris Kooistra.
Russians have been using dash cams for years because of widespread auto insurance fraud. It provides proof of what happens in an accident..
"With a dash cam you have a recorded -- a record of what actually happened. So wherever you're going with law enforcement, courts or whatever, you have video footage of what happened," says Kooistra.
Bill Gremminger is the owner of DashCamUSA and says his business is growing because dash cams are getting smaller and more affordable.
"We sell cameras for about $100 less or more, give or take," he says.
He showed a professional grade dash camera made by Cobra Electronics, which continually records, so you'll never miss a moment.
"It's a new category for us that we felt that having been in the electronics for automotive, especially for professional truck drivers, that this would be a useful resource not only for them, but for everyday drivers, as well," says Kooistra.
Attorney Richard Schwartz says dash cams are part of a technological phenomenon that can affect our privacy.
"More than ever today, you have to be more careful than when you would be in my age, when I was younger, because video cameras were big, bulky things. Now they're everywhere," he says.
Whether it's for better or worse.
Experts say before buying and installing one in your vehicle, you should check your state and local laws to make sure they're not illegal. Here in Ohio, they are legal. Prices start at less than $40 and can go up to $300.