May 03, 2022

Company Car Tracking Laws - Is Your Business Compliant?

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If your business provides its employees with company cars, it is your duty to ensure that you are fully compliant with all of the relevant tracking and privacy laws if you install vehicle tracking devices in the UK.

What Is Allowed in Business Vehicle Tracking?

When a company installs GPS tracking devices on their vehicles, they should be aware of the rights of the employees and the obligations of the employer.

There are a great number of benefits that make vehicle tracking appealing, such as increased security, productivity and cost savings, however, the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) and the Human Rights Act 1998 limit the freedom of use in some situations.

Failing to comply with these rules and regulations can lead to fines and convictions, so it is important to have a thorough understanding of them. Here are some common things that can put employers at risk of facing lawsuits or fines if they do not comply.

Employee Knowledge and Consent

The General Data Protection Regulation is in place to protect all data held by employers and to stipulate that employees have a right to know what information is being held about them. This means that in order to install a tracking device on a company vehicle that will be used by an employee, you must make them aware and seek their explicit consent to do so.

This could be included as part of the company vehicle contract that the employee agrees to and signs, however it is absolutely essential for them to read the contract properly and understand when the vehicle will be tracked and what the data will be used for.

Tracking to Check Up On Employees is Illegal

Article 8 of the Human Rights Act says that everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life, and their home etc. This is especially important when considering company car tracking and your employees.

It is completely legal for a company to track their business vehicles when being used for business purposes and this data must only be used for legitimate purposes. However, it is not legal to track a vehicle for any other purpose, such as to check up on employees outside of working hours.

For instance, if you are tracking a company vehicle that is also used outside of working hours, such as a company car, you must have a privacy switch in place to allow the driver to switch off vehicle tracking once they have finished work.

This helps to protect their privacy and ensures that your vehicle tracking device is only in place to track the vehicle for business purposes, and not the individual, for any other purpose.

In order to establish the line between personal use and business use of company cars, it is a good idea to make the distinction in the company vehicle policy.

For example, business usage includes:

Ordinary commuting journeys or any sort of private journey doesn’t constitute business mileage, even if the employee runs a work-related errand along the way.

How Can I Ensure I’m Not Recording Personal Trips with Fleetsmart?

At Fleetsmart, we offer an optional add-on to our tracking devices called Driver Privacy Switches. When fitted, a driver can turn the switch on and off to ensure only their business trips are being tracked and recorded.

By installing these switches, you can help to make sure that you are only processing the data that is relevant to your company and not unlawfully collecting personal data that could put you at risk of being in breach of GDPR.

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Hiding The Tracking Device

Covert tracking means hiding a tracking device inside the vehicle. Businesses may want to do this in order to prevent a thief from finding and tampering with the device and this absolutely shouldn’t be used to keep the tracker a secret from employees.

Storing the Data

GDPR states that data collected must be accurate and up to date and kept no longer than necessary. This means you should have a system in place to determine when data is no longer needed. For example, clearing vehicle speeding data 5 years after it has been collected.

You must also ensure that all data is stored securely and that only those who are authorised have access to it.

For more information and advice on tracking your company cars or vehicles, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 0194 2932442.

Frequently Asked Questions - Company Car Tracking Laws

Can companies track a company car?

Yes, companies can legally track a company car in the UK as long as certain conditions are met. These conditions include obtaining the consent of the employee and ensuring that the tracking is conducted for a legitimate purpose such as fleet management, employee safety, or improving driving habits.

Is it illegal to track a company vehicle UK?

No, it is not illegal to track a company vehicle in the UK. However, there are specific legal requirements that must be met, such as ensuring that the tracking is conducted for legitimate purposes and obtaining consent from the employee.

Can you refuse a tracker in a company car?

As an employee, you have the right to refuse a tracker in a company car if you believe that the tracking policy is overly intrusive or violates your privacy rights. However, companies can implement tracking policies with legitimate reasons and required legal permissions from their employees.

What are the legal requirements for tracking company vehicles in the UK?

The legal requirements for tracking company vehicles in the UK include:

Do employees need to be informed about GPS tracking in company cars?

Yes, employees must be informed about the presence of GPS tracking in company cars. This is a requirement to abide by UK law and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

How does GDPR affect vehicle tracking policies in the UK?

GDPR impacts vehicle tracking policies in the UK by setting strict guidelines for how employees' personal data is collected, stored, and used. Companies must ensure they comply with these guidelines to avoid fines and legal penalties.

Can a company car tracking system be used for timesheet purposes?

Yes, a company car tracking system can be used for timesheet purposes, such as recording the location and duration of employees' working hours. However, this must be done in compliance with GDPR and other applicable privacy regulations.

Under what circumstances can an employee refuse a tracker in a company car?

An employee can refuse a tracker in a company car if they believe that the tracking policy is overly intrusive or a violation of their privacy rights. The employer must demonstrate that the tracking is necessary for a legitimate business purpose and respect the employee's rights under the law.

Is it legal for employers to track employees using GPS in the UK?

Yes, employers can legally track employees using GPS in the UK, provided that they meet specific legal requirements, such as obtaining the employee's consent, conducting the tracking for legitimate purposes, and ensuring the process is transparent, fair, and lawful.