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UK Vehicle Tracking Laws, Privacy Policies & Data Protection

Privacy Policies & Vehicle Tracking UK Guide

Tracking a fleet of vehicles has many benefits for an employer or company. The ability to be able to precisely locate any individual vehicle at any time helps to improve the efficiency of a company. Drivers are less likely to deviate from their planned route, make untrue overtime claims or driving too fast.

Savings can also be made on fuel and there is the additional safety bonus of being able to locate lone workers in an instant.

However, some businesses may be concerned about privacy laws and worry that some forms of vehicle tracking may be illegal. Here we will look more closely at vehicle tracking laws and the legalities of vehicle tracking in the business world.

What is Legal and What is Illegal when Vehicle Tracking?

This is a question that many employers ask themselves – tracking business vehicles can be a huge benefit to a company, but vehicle tracking laws are very strict. That being said, it is quite easy to comply with legislation regarding vehicle tracking, as the main point of the GPS tracking law is that employees may not be tracked personally and that their human rights and employee privacy rights must be ensured.

You can find more information on what tracking activities are allowed and which ones are not allowed in the table below:

Tracking activityLegalIllegalAdditional info
Tracking business vehiclesVehicles that are company property may be tracked for the benefit of the company
Tracking business vehicles that are also used privatelyThe tracker must have a privacy button or other option to ensure privacy outside of business hours
Tracking business vehicles without the knowledge of the employeeEmployees must know of and consent to the vehicle being tracked
Covert TrackingYou can use a covert tracker to track the vehicle, but the employee must be aware of this
Tracking employeesIt is legal only to track vehicles which are company property. It is not legal to track the employees personally

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Legally Tracking Business Vehicles

It is perfectly legal and within the realm of UK company vehicle tracking law to track your company’s vehicles. Doing so can provide great benefits to your company. Both vehicle tracking of mileage etc. for insurance purposes as well as telematics tracking to improve driver behaviour and reduce vehicle wear and tear are entirely legal.

Legally Tracking Business Vehicles That Are Used Privately

It is permitted to track vehicles that are also used privately by employees, provided the tracking does not continue outside of working hours. This can be managed using a vehicle tracker with a privacy button, which allows the employee to turn off data transmission outside of working hours, or with an agreement to not collect tracking data at this time.

In cases where the tracker does not have a privacy button, data tracking must be disabled by the fleet manager. If a company car has been given to an employee to use outside of working hours, the employee must be confident in the fact that his movements are not being tracked during private hours.

The only exception to this are cases where the employer is required by law to track the vehicles, such as fitting a tachograph in a lorry.

Tracking Business Vehicles Without the Knowledge of the Employee

Under no circumstances may a vehicle be tracked without the knowledge of the employee driving it. Employees must be informed specifically and explicitly what data is recorded by the tracker or telematics system, how the data is stored, who the data is handled by and how it will be used. Discover how to introduce GPS tracking to your employees.

This is due to the fact that data collected with a vehicle tracker constitutes private data under the Data Protection Act.

Covert Tracking

You are allowed to fit a covert tracker on your business vehicle for vehicle security purposes, such as theft prevention. However, you must still inform your employees that the vehicle is being tracked.

Covert trackers are attached to the underside of a car, so they will not be obvious to anyone driving (or trying to steal) the vehicle. Due to this, it is especially important that you inform your employees about the presence of the tracker and what data it is collecting.

Tracking Employees

The tracking of employees is not permitted. Vehicles are company goods that can be tracked to benefit the company. This includes telematics tracking, which records and alerts you to driver behaviour such as speeding. However, this kind of tracking is only permitted in regards to the vehicle and employees may not be tracked outside the vehicle or outside of working hours.

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The Data Protection Act

Any data which is gathered by employers (and actions taken on the basis of this data) is governed by the Data Protection Act. Employers must be aware that data collected from a vehicle tracker is deemed personal data as it can have an impact on an individual's professional performance.

For this reason, employers must ensure that data collected from any vehicle tracking system adheres to the Data Protection Act of 1998. This states that:

"The data must be processed fairly and lawfully, obtained for lawful purposes, adequate and relevant, accurate, not kept by the company for longer than is necessary, treated in accordance with the employee's rights and kept securely."

In practical terms for firms installing vehicle trackers, these guidelines can be kept to reasonably easily. The key issues for a firm to consider are what data will they keep, how long will they keep it for and who will have access to the data. If any of the data is personal, then the individuals handling the data must have training on the principles of the Data Protection Act.

Restrictions include ensuring that data collected from the vehicle tracking system is not shared with a third party without the consent of the individual driver concerned.

If you require further information about how the Data Protection Act might affect you, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office through their government website. This website also has detailed information sections for those seeking specific advice.

Other Data Storage Legislation

Other relevant legislation regarding the storage of data includes employee legislation and the Human Rights Act, specifically the right to privacy. The latter is especially important if the company allows vehicles to be used for personal use by employees. It is unlikely to ever be considered justifiable to monitor an employee's private journeys and one way to overcome this is to include a privacy button on the tracker ensuring that data linked to private journeys isn't stored by the company.

It is also important for the company to explicitly inform drivers what data will be stored and what the information will be used for. Having a transparent policy can help maintain good relationships with your employees who may feel that the data being stored is intrusive. Letting them know private journeys won't be monitored and stored will help reassure people.

Vehicle Trackers With Privacy Buttons

Privacy buttons can be used by an individual with BiK, to provide peace of mind when they are using their company car outside of working hours.

SupplierButton locationInfo hiddenInfo shown
Masternautdashboard• location
• speed
• journey times
• journey duration
Road Angeldashboard• location• mileage
• date
• time
Navmandashboard• location
• journey information
• mileage
Tracker UKdashboardn/an/a

Next Steps

If you are interested in hearing more about installing a vehicle tracking system for your business, Expert Market can help. Tell us your business needs and we will find the suppliers who are most suited to your situation. Using our service, you will be able to access exclusive discounts of up to 30%.