The use of GPS trackers in all kinds of vehicles, both private and commercial, is now widespread. There are good reasons for this, as these devices provide a number of protections for vehicle and driver.
There is no getting away from the fact, however, that the little device sitting unobtrusively somewhere on your vehicle is constantly monitoring and sending information about a wide range of issues to do with driver and vehicle behaviour.
Commercial vehicle tracking
Most companies which run a fleet of haulage lorries or delivery vans will have their vehicles protected by GPS trackers, not only to monitor the vehicle’s location at all times but also to monitor their driver’s behaviour behind the wheel. The benefits of this alone come in cost savings and consumer confidence. This is the kind of information provided by fleet tracking systems:
- • Real-time vehicle location information
- • Vehicle stop and start times and locations
- • Time spent in depot or loading area
- • If the vehicle enters a point of interest area or diverts from a route
- Driver behaviour information can include:
- • Whether the driver is speeding
- • The driver is idling when the vehicle’s engine should be off
- • Heavy braking
- • Heavy accelerating
- • Driver identification
- • Private use of the vehicle by the driver
- • Mileage driven
The rules regarding business vehicle tracking
Where a company uses vehicle tracking systems it is incumbent upon them to ensure they understand and are complying with the relevant privacy laws in order that they don’t fall foul of the misuse of personal information regulations. Businesses should also ensure their employees are aware that a GPS tracker is installed on the vehicle they are driving. It is perfectly legal for businesses to track their vehicles but information collected must only be used in the management of the company.
Where a company vehicle is used outside of work hours by an employee, the GPS tracker is not allowed to be used and the employee is within their rights to turn it off to ensure they are not being monitored when not at work.
All information and data collected by a GPS tracker where it relates to driver behaviour is covered by the Data Protection Act and GDPR 2018 regulations.
Private vehicle tracking
Most private motorists will likely install a GPS tracker to help protect their vehicle from theft or locate their vehicle if lost. Information provided by the tracker such as speed, braking, style of driving and time spent driving can be used by insurance companies in some cases in order to provide a cheaper insurance quote.
Whilst a GPS tracker can provide a wealth of information there are laws in the UK to protect the privacy of individuals where they could be identified using the tracking data provided. As this information is considered to be personal data this is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 which states that;
- • ‘Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, shall be adequate, relevant, accurate and kept for no longer than is necessary and moreover obtained only for lawful purposes.’
- • Personal data should be kept only for the duration of its purpose.
- • Personal data should be processed along the lines of individual human rights and protected against unlawful use.
- • Personal data can only be obtained for specified and lawful reasons.
It is illegal to fit a tracker to someone’s vehicle without their knowledge and this could lead to a prosecution under the Data Protection Act.
For more information on how GPS trackers are used, consider getting advice from a specialist supplier.