GPS Vehicle Tracking for Company Cars
What is GPS Car Tracking?
A GPS vehicle tracker is an electronic device that can be placed inside a car and monitored remotely to enable the tracking of cars. A GPS car tracker uses GPS satellite technology to pinpoint the location of the vehicle.
GPS technology is continuously advancing, so GPS car trackers have increased accuracy and can pinpoint a vehicle to within 3 metres of its live location. Modern trackers also have additional features which can be beneficial to a business, such as two way hands-free communication between driver and fleet manager.
Business Vehicle Tracking
While the benefits of tracking fleets of HGV, delivery vans, couriers, taxi services and public service vehicles are clear, tracking company cars that are also provided to employees for their private use is less so. Certainly there are justifiable reasons, for instance:
Benefits of Business Vehicle Tracking
- Reducing fuel costs
- Real-time vehicle tracking
- The prevention of vehicle theft
- Logging the time that a specific employee spends on a specific job
- Avoiding traffic delays
- Route optimisation
- Improved customer service - providing clients with accurate ETAs
- Improving business efficiency
- Monitoring driver behaviour and safety
However, tracking company cars even during working hours might be viewed as intrusive, and tracking them out of business hours is not only unethical, it is also illegal.
Ethics and the Law
By its nature vehicle tracking is intrusive and compromises the driver’s right to privacy. Introducing business vehicle tracking into an organisation for the first time always requires a certain amount of delicacy and tact. Employees must be made aware that tracking is being introduced. It is also important to be transparent about the process and carry your workforce with you. If your workforce can see tracking as a positive thing that can improve productivity and competitiveness, then they are able to see it as an enhancement of their safety, job security and future employee benefits.
The way in which tracking data is used is controlled by various regulations that are covered by several pieces of legislation including Human Rights, Data Protection, and Employee Rights. Even so, it remains a grey area and ensuring compliance with legislation often requires legal guidance.
When the vehicle is used for private purposes the rules are clearer, namely:
- Unless the driver freely gives formal consent, tracking a vehicle that is being used for private purposes is unjustified and doing so would open the employer up to prosecution.
- For vehicles that are used for both private and company use, the driver should have the means to disable tracking, for instance a privacy button.
- If any such data is captured, perhaps because the driver forgot to press the privacy button, that data should not be used and should be destroyed at the earliest opportunity. Any such breaches should be recorded and the driver should be informed.
Active And Passive GPS Car Trackers
There are two different kinds of GPS trackers for cars, those which relay the information they gather to a central database and those from which the information must be manually downloaded.
- Active GPS Trackers - Active trackers will relay vehicle related information such as location, speed etc. to a database via GSM technology. This information can then be accessed remotely, with vehicle tracking software installed on a computer in the fleet manager’s office, for example. This means that vehicles can be tracked in real time, which can be especially helpful for taxi or courier services or other time sensitive driving operations. Active GPS car trackers also have benefits for haulage and HGV fleets, due to extra features such as predetermined routes and geofencing.
Enabling features like these lets the fleet manager receive live updates and alerts if the tracked vehicle leaves its route or area.
- Passive GPS Trackers - Passive GPS car trackers collect the same information as active trackers, but they do not relay it in real time. This means that the vehicle cannot be tracked remotely in real time and live updates and alerts are not possible.
The advantage of passive car trackers is that the information is always available on the device, and is not impaired by connectivity problems. This makes the information more reliable for long-term overview and analysis purposes.
- Hybrid GPS Trackers - Nowadays it is quite common for GPS trackers to be capable of both active and passive tracking. This means that live updates are enabled for the purposes of real-time vehicle tracking, but information can also be downloaded from the device in each vehicle for fleet management purposes.
Finding the Best Company Car Tracker
Finding the best company GPS tracking systems for your business can be a challenge; there are many suppliers on the market each with their specific performance and price points. It is important to be clear about what you want to achieve.
Some businesses install trackers to discourage theft and for recovering vehicles should they ever be stolen. Other businesses require a range of additional services including business fleet management along with the other benefits mentioned previously. The more complex your requirements, the more you can expect to pay.
However it is vitally important to bear in mind that the primary requirement of any company car tracking system is that it must enable the driver to disable it out of working hours.
The more sophisticated your company car tracking system is, the more expensive it is likely to be. For a simple anti-theft vehicle tracker you could expect to pay in the range of £100 per vehicle plus a small monthly charge. For a top of the range company car business fleet tracking service in the UK you might expect to pay up to £350 per vehicle. Several suppliers have hire purchase and lease options which can have accounting advantages by charging the costs to your P&L rather than a depreciating asset to your balance sheet.
The initial investment may seem costly, however, it is very important to consider the cost savings benefits gained through effective car trackers and the positive impact these have on profits. The return on investment can be achieved within a relatively short period of time through:
- Improved fuel efficiency - lower fuel costs
- Reduced insurance premiums
- Improved route planning - increasing workforce productivity
- Reduction of exposure to fleet operation costs - associated with speeding, driver behaviour and unexpected fleet maintenance
When it comes to finding the best tracking solution for their company cars, many businesses appreciate a little help. We can help you though our web form. Complete it to receive several quotations from vehicle management suppliers, tailored to meet your company’s specific car tracking requirements. It's a big time saver.