Vehicle tracking can offer huge benefits to any company looking to make cost and time savings. However you can’t introduce tracked vehicles into your business without first understanding the implications on your employees rights to privacy. Get it wrong and you could be on the wrong side of a court case or fine or both. The General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as GDPR, will be introduced on the 25th May 2018 and will enhance our existing laws. Fall on the wrong side of these new European wide laws (and yes the UK will be included) and a fine could be as much as 4% of your global turnover or 20 million euros, ouch!
It’s safe to say your business needs to be on top of these regulations and if you currently use vehicle tracking or are going to introduce it then we’ve outlined the the laws you ought to know about.
How Does GDPR affect Fleet Tracking data?
When you track vehicles you might be generating personally identifiable data on your employees. Under The Data Protection Act 1998, DPA you were responsible for making sure all personally identifiable data was stored securely and that data could not be processed unless the person on whom the data has been collected had given permission for you to do so. In general most vehicle tracking solutions will collect a plethora of personal information on the driver, more than enough to constitute the definition. Under the DPA employees have the right to know what information is being held about them and for what purpose. If you’ve decided to implement vehicle tracking in a covert manner then the law would most definitely not be on your side.
Under GDPR the European and UK government have upped the stakes (and penalties) in terms of data protection. You still have to store data securely and get permission to collect and use it but companies will also have to look at whether they have the appropriate consent to collect, store and use that data that was gathered prior to the new law coming into effect. The wonderful term grandfathering also comes into play here, and it’s not allowed. Once 25th of May 2018 passes companies cannot pass on prior consent that was collected before this date if that consent doesn’t meet the new regulations. You’ve basically got to go back and get consent again if consent is the lawful method on which you have justified processing personal data. It may be that you are processing data under another lawful basis, of which there are 6 available:
- Legal obligation
- Vital Interests
- Public task
- Legitimate interests
Realistically consent or legitimate interests are likely to be the lawful basis most companies will process personal data under, but best check with a lawyer first.
Consent must be freely given and there must be a simple process for employees to be able to withdraw that consent.
Even if your vehicle tracking solution doesn’t store employee data you’d most likely know who is in a vehicle and would be able to align that information with the vehicle data , thus creating enough data to be considered personally identifiable. If you haven’t got permission to use that data (for example during a disciplinary procedure) then it can’t be used.
The Right to be Forgotten
GDPR also brings in the right to be forgotten. Basically an individual has the right to know what information you are holding about them and under certain circumstances has the right to have that information removed on request.
It’s not an absolute right but does give individuals the right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing in certain circumstances.
6 reasons where an individual has the right to have personal data removed:
- Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed.
- When the individual withdraws consent.
- When the individual objects to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing.
- The personal data was unlawfully processed (ie otherwise in breach of the GDPR).
- The personal data has to be erased in order to comply with a legal obligation.
- The personal data is processed in relation to the offer of information society services to a child.
GDPR is the biggest change to data laws in over decade. GDPR will be one of the most stringent pieces of legislation in the world when it comes to personal data so you can’t think it won’t affect your business, because it will, praemonitus praemunitus.
The Human Rights Act 1998
Under the Human Rights Act 1998, which came into effect in the UK in 2000, employees have the right not to be monitored in their own time. This means that if you deploy a vehicle tracking system to your fleet and employees are permitted to use company vehicles in their own time you need to be able to switch the tracking off.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
As a company that manages a fleet of vehicles in the UK you should also be aware of The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. GDPR may be introducing better (and long overdue) privacy laws for our personal data but there’s also existing laws that you should be well aware of if your employees rely on transport to carry out their jobs. If, for instance, a road traffic accident involving one of your vehicle’s results in a fatality,you(the company) could be held responsible if the vehicle was at fault due to poor maintenance or it was driver error resulting from over working your employee.
Employers must manage the risk of running a fleet of vehicles effectively and make sure employees are safe at all times. The latest vehicle tracking devices can provide your company with the tools to meet these requirements and provide audit able evidence should you require it for legal reasons.
Introducing Vehicle Tracking at Work
Inevitably employees don’t like to be monitored to the ninth degree, so introducing fleet tracking will most likely not have everyone jumping around for joy. However introducing vehicle tracking can have a positive effect if employees understand the benefits it can have on their day, their safety and the cost savings it can highlight for the company – a profitable company benefits employees and owners alike. Typical benefits that vehicle tracking can have are:
- Monitor drivers safety and competence
- Can reduce insurance premiums
- Find faster routes
- Reduce fuel consumption
- Motivate employees to work harder
It’s also worth noting that vehicle tracking has been around for quite a few years now so most employees expect their company vehicles to be tracked.
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