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Is vehicle tracking legal?

Some companies that have a vehicle tracking system in place make this fact quite clear to all their employees and even to their customers and potential customers- it can be used to demonstrate their commitment to efficiency and modern business practices, for example. Under this philosophy all drivers are told explicitly that they will be monitored and that the movements of their car or van will be (at least may be) tracked at all times.

However, other companies prefer not to advertise whether or not they use vehicle tracking systems. One reason for this is that vehicle tracking is sometimes seen as invasive of workers’ privacy and a demonstration that they distrust their employees. From this perspective it can appear as a negative stain on a company’s reputation so there are reasons a business may want to keep their tracking arrangement quiet. Certainly, professional drivers and professional driver’s associations do sometimes express distaste for GPS vehicle tracking systems.

Questions have also been raised over the legality of tracing company vehicles without the driver’s knowledge or indeed consent. While there are several pieces of legislation that are relevant to vehicle tracking, it is in no way illegal for a business owner to install and run tracking on company cars, vans, or trucks. That is true whether or not the drivers are told about it in advance.

However, care does have to be taken over the data gathered by such systems. Because this relates to a particular individual and may be gathered without their explicit consent or knowledge, parts of the Data Protection and Privacy Acts apply. A driver is entitled to a certainly level of privacy and security for their personal data, for example, especially if that data identifies them by name.

Before installing tracking systems in company cars and vans, it is well worth taking advice on legal issues that may arise. Most vehicle tracking device and software providers will know the legislation relating to their field as intimately as anyone could hope and will be able to answer questions with specific references to the services they provide.