Car Tracking System In Business: Laws and Best Practices

With access to so much data, car tracking systems are hugely beneficial. Here are the laws and best practices around handling that data.
Car tracking system in business

Car tracking systems (or GPS trackers) do more than locate missing or stolen vehicles. With a car tracking system, also referred to as a fleet management tracking system, you can view exact vehicle locations at any time, view detailed route history information, and improve productivity. 

With so much access to real-time data on vehicles and, consequently, those who are driving them, business owners must familiarise themselves with legal guidelines and best practices.

Table of Contents:

  1. Summary of best practices when tracking drivers
  2. Dowloadable memo for introducing vehicle trackers to your workers
  3. Laws around vehicle tracking
  4. Employee Rights
  5. Creating a vehicle tracking policy document
  6. How to introduce GPS tracking to employees
  7. Is car tracking worth it
  8. Benefits of monitoring driver behaviour
  9. Final Thoughts

Best Practices: How To Follow UK Vehicle Tracking Laws

In order to track your vehicles in accordance with UK laws let’s take a look at what practices your business should uphold regarding vehicle tracking employee laws.

  1. Businesses must inform drivers before installing vehicle tracking devices.
  2. Employees have the right to know about the information being collected and processed about them.
  3. Tracking an individual, instead of the vehicle is against the law.
  4. Tracking any pool vehicle, at any time, is legal, so long as the person driving knows they are being tracked. Pool cars can be driven by multiple drivers, therefore the information gathered by a car tracking system is not ‘personal data’.
  5. Company cars that are used outside of working hours must have a privacy setting in place. This is to ensure that the car tracking system is in place to track the vehicle for business-related purposes only.
  6. Employers are legally allowed to hide the vehicle’s tracking device, so long as the driver is aware that the vehicle is being tracked.
  7. All data collected by your car tracking system must follow GDPR data protection regulations.
An employee reading about a Car Tracking System

Get a Beginners Guide to Car Tracking Systems


Vehicle Tracking Employee Laws UK

Fleet management is much more efficient with a car tracking system. In the UK there are several laws already in place which mean that the best practices outlined above are crucial to ensure what you do stays within the law.

Below are related GPS tracking laws for the UK:

A gavel and law books
  1. The Human Rights Act of 1998
  2. The Data Protection Act of 1998
  3. Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  4. Regulations of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

When it comes to businesses and tracking, these laws focus on the privacy and protection of an employee and their personal data. If an individual can be identified using a certain piece of information, that information is considered personal data. In other words, the information gathered by GPS trackers is considered personal data.

If you follow the best practices outlines above, you should be able to stay well within the UK vehicle tracking laws.

Looking for the right car tracking system? download Vimcar’s car tracking system brochure

Vehicle Tracking and Employee Rights

Let’s also go over some of the common concerns employees have regarding GPS tracking:

  1. When exactly am I being tracked by my employer?
  2. How does a car tracking system benefit our company?
  3. Who has access to the data collected?
An employee driving, using a car tracking system

Once you’ve found the right fleet management software for your business the next step is to introduce the product to your employees.

This can seem like a daunting task, because not all drivers will have the same reaction to GPS tracking.

It is important to first identify the reasons why you want to use this technology and how it will help the business.

For a pre-filled company memo and consent form, just download our Car Tracking System employee template.

Can a vehicle tracker be used in a disciplinary manner?

Knowledge of relevant laws is necesary to understand if a vehicle tracker can be used in a disciplinary manner or for disciplinary purposes. When you ask yourself “can a vehicle tracker be used in a disciplinary?”, you have to keep in mind the following:

  1. Track the business, not the individual. The data collected from trackers must only be used to improve business performance, such as aid in business decisions, data support, and route optimisation. Subsequently, a vehicle trackers purpose should not be for keeping tabs on employees’ driving outside of working hours.
  2. Comply with privacy tracking. For the company vehicles used for private use by employees, a vehicle tracker should only be turned on when the car is on business expeditions, and turned off when used for private trips. Therefore, the law demands a fleet manager installs privacy buttons that turns off the data tracking when installed in a non-poolcar vehicle.
  3. Abide by overt, not covert tracking. The vehicle tracker used in disciplinary has to have been installed with the employees’ knowledge and consent. Therefore, a fleet manager should explicitly inform employees on what, when, and how the vehicles are being tracked beforehand.
  4. Record accurate data. The data tracker used in a disciplinary has to be protected from devices or software that compromise or alter the data through GPS jamming. It is a fleet manager’s responsibility to ensure the fleet tracker devices are operational and safe.

In summary, you can use a vehicle tracker in a disciplinary. On the other hand, a fleet manager bears the responsibility of safeguarding an employee’s privacy and not infringing on that privacy. That is why you have to take care when using a vehicle tracking in a disciplinary.

Vehicle tracking policy document

If you are looking for the best way to communicate to drivers why you are installing a car tracking system, then make sure you hand out a vehicle tracking policy document.

It is vital that you tell your drivers what you are doing and how it is in line with their rights and related laws. A vehicle tracking policy document is a great way of doing this.

An employee reading a brochure about car tracking systems

Download a Memo to help communicate installing a Car Tracking System


UK Vehicle Tracking Laws: Creating a Policy Document

Employer explaining a company's  Car Tracking System policy to an empoyee

Different companies use different methods to create their vehicle tracking system policies. Below is a simple process you can use to create a policy; Explain to the employees how the vehicle tracking system works and what it is in general. State the kind of information it provides and the data it collects, and why it has been introduced to the company. Explain the benefits of the car tracking system to the company and its workers.

Why create a company policy document?

Any vehicle business needs to have a policy document for its vehicle tracking system to ensure that the fleet managers comply with all the legal requirements. Below are the most important reasons why you need a company policy document.

It guides and explains every detail as to how the car tracking system works, enabling the employees and drivers to understand how the vehicle tracking system works fully and avoid tampering with it.

Lastly, the policy document shows why the car tracking system has been implemented on the vehicle and why the vehicle tracking system has been chosen.

What should that policy entail to ensure you align with UK vehicle tracking laws?

The policy should allow the employees to have knowledge about the car tracking system and how the data is collected, affirm them of their right to use the company assets, and in regards to that, have no expectation of privacy on the vehicle tracking system.

Car tracking system company contract

The policy should also entail the company’s restrictions to the employees regarding their vehicle tracking system and the consequences of using the data or the car tracking system wrongly.

How does GDPR affects things?

GDPR policy goes hand in hand with the made-out policies. This legislation law states that a car tracking system cannot collect data unless permission is granted. Here is how GDPR affects the business on a vehicle tracking system;

You can not involve the drivers and employees in your company business with work like handling and storing as it contributes to time wastage and financial mismanagement.

The controller or manager shall act and comply with the set principles on how the vehicle tracking system data shall be used.

Legal risks of car tracking systems and how to mitigate them?

You should be aware of the outcomes of the vehicle tracking system in regards to staying on the right side of the law. Follow the car tracking system policies you have created to keep these legal risks away from the business.

Documents spelling out the legal risks of car tracking systems

Failure to obey any act, for instance, the data protection act 1998, which sets regulations on using and sharing personal data, may cause a law enforcement agent to act on your business. Personal data protection should be observed and handled accordingly to avoid allegations of data misuse.

Always have good cooperation with the employees regarding the vehicle tracking systems to stay on the right side of the law. Data generated about how a driver uses the vehicle should comply with set legislation regarding data privacy, employee and human rights.

An employee reading a brochure about car tracking systems

Download a Memo to help communicate installing a Car Tracking System


How To Introduce GPS Tracking To Employees

Veteran employees may be suspicious when new vehicle tracking technology is introduced. Even if the owners and fleet managers see the clear benefits of such a product, employees aren’t always onboard. For some drivers a car tracking system is the result of not being trusted or worse, they are concerned that GPS tracking may infringe on their rights because they are unfamiliar with vehicle tracking employee laws.

Telling an employee about their rights and car tracking systems

If you want a car tracking system to help improve safety, security and efficiency, most employees will support the technology. Communicating the many benefits of car tracking, for both the company and the driver, could help them understand why you came to such a decision. Benefits such as reduced paperwork, more vehicle security, more accurate timesheets and working hours, and an overall easier daily workflow. More than anything, complete transparency is essential.

It could also be beneficial to explain the vehicle tracking employee rights and laws set in place by the United Kingdom government. Reminding them that both the government and the fleet management software have regulations and features in place respectively to protect all parties from invasion of privacy.

All the being said, if you want a car tracking system because you don’t trust your employees and want to monitor them during working hours, a fleet management product could cause a lot of tension and resentment from drivers. Company monitoring of employees is a rising topic of concern for many across the United States and Europe. Pay attention to your employees concerns and offer transparency whenever possible.

Read more: Easy to Use Guide to Help Find Your Perfect Fleet Management Software

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Vimcar Car Tracking System PDF


5 Tips on how best to introduce car tracking and ease employee concerns:

  1. Inform your drivers about the installation of car tracking before installing and collecting data. As mentioned under vehicle tracking employee laws, it is illegal to track employees without their knowledge. Not to mention it is not a good look for management.
  2. Document all the concerns and objections employees have about GPS tracking and answer them with full transparency.
  3. Explain the ways in which vehicle tracking will improve day-to-day work flow for all employees. This can also cover the business challenges that brought on the need for GPS tracking in the first place.
  4. Clearly outline the new rules regarding car tracking. Drivers should know what kind of behaviour in monitored by the GPS tracker and what kind of behaviour is expected of them.
  5. Be sure to inform drivers of the vehicle tracking employee rights that the businesses but abide by. Knowing they are protected by law could help employees feel more comfortable with this change.

Is Car Tracking Worth It?

The management of fleet vehicles is time-intensive and costly. GPS tracking can cut out a lot of the taxing busy work. There is a range of car tracking and fleet management systems that offer an even wider range of solutions. Just some of the features available on the market today include vehicle tracking, maintenance management, fleet administration, and vehicle security. 

Due to the vast array of options a simple cost comparison between providers won’t identify the systems most compatible with your business needs. Selecting a car tracking system is a decision concerned with the long term prosperity of your company. And more features are not always the best solution. Rather, you want a software provider that cares about the quality of their product and with helping your business. 

A driver with a car tracking system

Each fleet management system will come with its own unique benefits but in general many companies use car tracking systems to track mileage or to verify driver locations, to ensure they are okay out on the road. Car tracking systems are proven to help businesses optimise efficiency, increase on-the-job safety, reduce travel time and improve customer satisfaction. In the end all of these elements contribute to a more cost effective business. Vimcar customers for example save an average of 15-20% each year.

Another hidden benefit of car tracking systems, is the ability to track driver behaviour.

Benefits Of Monitoring Driver Behaviour

Many businesses use a car tracking system to monitoring drivers to promote better driving habits. Here are benefits of tracking for improved driver behaviour:

1. Improved productivity

A graph showing showing you can improve productivity

Some companies track how much time a driver spends on driving through car tracking systems. The benefit of this is that it encourages drivers to spend less time on journeys, especially if there are rewards attached to it.

Reducing time wastage on trips means drivers have more time for other productive activities. That increases their productivity, and the company saves on salaries.

2. Lower fuel costs

Tracking driver behaviour can lead to reduced fuel costs for the fleet. Companies now set mileage targets for drivers and reward employees for meeting those KMPH targets. And many of these companies have reported a reduction in overall fuel usage leading to minimised fuel costs.

3. Reduces wear and tear

Wear and tear is a major problem facing fleet managers. Rental companies charge for “unfair wear” which means you’ll pay more if your drivers wear out vehicles badly. If your business owns the cars, wear will lead to more repairs and shorter vehicle lifespan.

By monitoring driver behaviour with a car tracking system, fleet managers can minimise wear and tear on vehicles. Drivers trying to meet KMPH targets won’t brake sharply or speed up harshly, reducing wear on vehicle components.

Inspecting vehicles regularly and rewarding drivers who keep vehicles in pristine condition will also reduce wear. That means you’ll escape charges for unfair wear and have longer-lasting vehicles.

4. Reduced fleet operation costs

a pot of coins and a plant growing out of it

Driver behaviour significantly influences fleet operation costs. For instance, tracking driver behaviour in terms of fuel use will lower fuel costs. This will reduce how much your business spends on fuelling vehicles in the fleet.

Moreover, as explained earlier, monitoring drivers often translates into less wear on vehicles. This ensures your business doesn’t incur costs for improper wear. It also means your company can save money on replacing cars frequently. All these contribute to reduced fleet management costs.

Using a Car Tracking System to Affect Driving Behaviour

Tracking driver behaviour has many benefits for businesses. Asides encouraging positive driving habits, it minimises fleet expenses and overall operating costs.Fleet management systems can help you monitor driver behaviour by providing you with route history, mileage and fuel use. The Fleet Geo tracker is a top-notch fleet management system that can help you monitor driving habits and save on fleet operation costs.

Summary of UK Vehicle Tracking Laws & Best Practices

Infographic on car tracking systems and how respect vehicle tracking laws in the UK

Tips Moving Forward

man driving vehicle moving forward with a vehicle tracking system

Vimcar recognises the importance of properly and legally monitoring your company fleet. Our expert team is here to help you take advantage of all the benefits that come with a car tracking system.

Making sure your employees know they you are using a vehicle GPS tracking system, tracking only those vehicles owned by the company, and putting in measures to protect all collected data are easy enough laws to follow. So long as your business follows these laws and guidelines, a car tracking systems can be of great financial benefit.

Visit our Fleet News hub for the essential fleet tools and updates needed to make your life easier.


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