If you’re a business owner that’s thinking about using vehicle tracking devices for fleet management purposes, you must understand data protection laws and your rights to your employees tracking data. Failing to comply with these laws can lead to fines and convictions, and you don’t want that.
It can be hard to understand the ins and outs of data protection laws, but we’ve made it simple for you. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the laws surrounding vehicle tracking, so you can be sure that you know exactly what is allowed and what isn’t.
Installing GPS trackers into your vehicles will allow you to collect data on daily performance rates as well as staff members’ location. Among many other benefits, trackers will allow you to analyse and improve your business decisions and keep track of your employees.
While this is beneficial for the employer, it can be seen as a breach of privacy for employees, which is why there are laws to protect them from the use of their personal data. Fleet managers need to be particularly aware of the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 that sets out the rules for the collection, use and sharing of data.
The Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1998, controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called data protection principles. This includes data obtained through a vehicle tracker.
Vehicle tracking laws ensure that employers respect their employees’ right to data privacy and that any personal data will not be misused. Data must be:
Used fairly, lawfully and transparently
Used for specified, explicit purposes
Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary
Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
Kept for no longer than is necessary
Handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage
What Does This Mean for Vehicle Tracking?
Some of the legal implications of the Data Protection Act are defined by a thin line, making it hard to determine when data becomes personal rather than business-related.
Here are some common things that can unintentionally put business owners at risk of facing lawsuits or fines and some tips to avoid them.
You Must Not Check Up On Your Employees
There are no laws against a business tracking their vehicles if the employees driving them agree to it. However, the data collected must only be used for the management purpose of the company.
This means that you can track the vehicle, but not your employees. If the data gathered is used to monitor employee behaviour in their workplace, then you will be in breach of vehicle tracking laws. Always let your employees know before making any decisions regarding the vehicle tracking device and allow them to give their consent.
Can You Hide the Tracker?
Hiding a tracking device is the smart thing to do when installing it to your vehicle as it can prevent theft. However, you must inform the employee driving the vehicle that there is a tracker in place and exactly what it is tracking.
To avoid any confusion, its best to make sure that all of your employees know and agree to where the tracker is, how and when it tracks and what data it collects.
Trackers Must Not Be Active Outside of Work Hours
It’s not uncommon for employees to use their work vehicles for personal use too. If this is the case with your employees it doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to install a GPS tracker, it just means you cannot use it outside of their working hours.
Many devices come with a privacy button. This button allows the employee to turn off the data collection and ensure that they are not being monitored whilst they are not working.
As an employer, it’s important that you buy a tracker that has the necessary features, such as a privacy button, and that you inform your employees that they must turn the tracker off after work.
GPS-Jamming Devices Are Prohibited
A GPS jammer is a typically small, self-contained, transmitter device used to conceal your location by sending radio signals with the same frequency as a GPS tracking device. Any device that can damage, replace or abuse the data collected is strictly prohibited. In the wrong hands, the recorded data can be damaging to your employee driving the vehicle.
Be sure to jamming devices present and safeguard all the data collected by your tracker. It’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure that no data is misused or leaked outside the company walls.
Why Does Your Business Need a Vehicle Tracking System?
In today’s economy businesses are looking for ways of making their workforce more efficient. There are many benefits to investing in a Fleet Tracking System, whether it's for a small or large number of vehicles.
Want to know more? Let one of our experts talk you through the benefits and advise you on the best Fleet Tracking System for your needs. Call us on 0800 756 5100.