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

Placing a GPS tracker on your valuable assets, like a phone or pet, is nothing new. Most of us have benefited from GPS technology when we have gotten lost on a road trip or misplaced a device. Car tracking systems however, do more than locate missing or stolen vehicles. For organizations and businesses there are significant benefits to tracking company vehicles. With a car tracking system, also referred to as a fleet management 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. Car tracking systems are great assets for businesses when used right, and in line with the law. 

GPS Tracking Laws UK

Fleet management is much more efficient with a car tracking system. Yet, fleet managers need to make sure they abide by all the implied regulations. This is particularly important when dealing with the data a car tracking system collects. In the UK there are several laws already in place. 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)

The list of legislation relevant to this topic can be overwhelming. 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.

Best Practices

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.

  • Tracking an individual, instead of the vehicle is against the law.
  • Businesses must inform drivers before installing vehicle tracking devices.
  • Employees have the right to know about the information being collected and processed about them.
  • 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’.
  • Company cars that are used outside of working hours must have a privacy setting in place. This is to insure that the car tracking system is in place to track the vehicle for business related purposes only.
  • Employers are legally allowed to hide the vehicle’s tracking device, so long as the driver is aware that the vehicle is being tracked.
  • All data collected by your car tracking system must follow GDPR data protection regulations.

Want advice on how to better manage your fleet? Our fleet experts can give you a free consultation!

Vehicle Tracking and Employee Rights

Before delving in let’s 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. When it comes time to talk with your employees your reasons and how you explain them make a significant difference.

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

Five 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 optimize 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.

Tips Moving Forward

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 are being tracked, 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.

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