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Vehicle Tracking Laws in The UK : What You Should Know

Vehicle tracking and the use of GPS tracking devices has become a popular option for drivers and car owners to enhance the safety and protection of their vehicles. While these are great devices and would be recommended to all types of people for a variety of vehicle types, it is important to consider what laws or legislation may impact the use of vehicle trackers, both for businesses and individuals. 

Privacy laws and data protection 

Although there are no definitive laws and rules in place regarding the use of vehicle trackers, their use within businesses, in particular, does raise some questions concerning privacy and data protection.

Considered to be a type of surveillance, vehicle tracking can be seen as a method for collecting personal data and information, particularly if the driver of the vehicle can be identified using this data. This is where the Data Protection Act comes into play. Where data from the GPS tracking device is collected, any personal information must be dealt with in accordance with the rules outlined by the Act.*

This act would therefore require any company using vehicle tracking devices on company fleets to inform their drivers and employees and to let them know what data will be collected and how this will be used. This way a company can utilise a GPS tracker for a number of reasons, providing many benefits to the business. Including gathering data regarding distance travelled in a company car and fuel consumption to improve business efficiency. 

*In line with the updated GDPR rules that came into force in 2018, any consent provided by an employee prior to 2018 must be re-collected, regarding how their data is used. 

Using a vehicle tracker without a driver’s consent 

In reference to the personal use of a vehicle tracker, one rule is certain, tracking someone else’s car without their consent is illegal. 

There are often a lot of questions asked by drivers and those interested in using these as a surveillance tool, as to whether a device can be fitted to a vehicle that is not their own. It must be known, a car tracker’s main purpose is not to track a person, but the location of a vehicle. Used as an anti-theft device, trackers can be utilised for the purpose of retrieving a stolen vehicle or ensuring the location of a vehicle is secure. These are not to be used in any form of covert surveillance of an individual without their predetermined permission,

Complying with the law 

If a company is informing employees of how the data produced by the GPS tracker is being used and stored, it is completely legal for a company to use GPS fleet trackers to improve the performance and safety of their company and drivers. Despite the lack of direct information from the law regarding the use of GPS trackers, data laws and regulations must be adhered to , so it is important to familiarise yourself with said laws, including the GDPR rules, to ensure that no data is being mis-used.