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There are lots of benefits to using software to help you manage your fleet. They can save you time, money and help you to collect data that makes management easier. However it’s still important to be aware of vehicle tracking laws. They can have a huge impact on the data you’re allowed to collect and how you use it. Since GDPR came into force you can be subject to large fines if you don’t comply with the law.
While it’s important that you take independent legal advice, here is our bitesize guide to help you start thinking about some of the issues.
Your employees’ right to privacy
Your vehicle tracking software can tell you exactly where your vehicle is and how it’s being driven at any time of the day or night. That can help you to allocate tasks efficiently but it can also tell you whether there’s a problem with the way it’s being driven. That could be classed as your employee’s personal data.
The Human Rights Act gave individuals a right to privacy. It’s illegal to misuse any personal data that’s been obtained via technology. In your private life that could be data that your mobile phone company holds about your calls or use of apps. However it also applies to vehicle tracking. The Data Protection Act 1998 was created to reflect these rights. It sets out what you’re allowed to collect and how you can use it. Of course, since then the law has been updated via the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). So what are you allowed to do?
The law allows you to track your own vehicles in accordance with vehicle tracking laws. However you’re only allowed to use the information for management purposes. For example, you can look at mileage and routes taken to see if a better route might save fuel. However, if employees are allowed to take their vehicles home for personal use, you’re not allowed to track them to see what they get up to in the evenings!
It can be a fine line. The information you collect might tell you something about how a driver is driving. You can use that information to help them improve their performance but you should be careful not to stray into being personally critical.
It’s important that you keep the lines of communication open with your employees. If vehicle tracking software is installed on their vehicle they need to know about it. You can hide a tracking device within the vehicle. This can be useful if a vehicle is stolen because a thief won’t know it’s there, but your employees need to.
You also need to be clear on what data you’re collecting and why. Keep a written record of what information you’re storing and why you need it. It’s good practice to give your employees written information about the data you’re holding and ask them to sign a copy. You should also make sure that you only keep the data for as long as it’s needed. For example you might compile data into a management report and then get rid of the data itself. If you need to collect information about accidents you might need to keep it for longer in case of any insurance or legal claims.
Finally, keep the data safe! If your data falls into the wrong hands it could be disastrous for your business and you could find yourself with a hefty fine.
If you’d like to find out more about vehicle tracking, get in touch.