Driving is one of the highest-risk activities employees can engage in and to safeguard staff and lower risk exposure, you’re going to need to adopt a best practice approach.
Failure to do so could breach the Safety at Work Act and lead to prosecution if someone is seriously injured or killed on the road.
There are a number of measures businesses can take to ensure maximum road safety. Firstly, making sure they invest in high-quality, safe vehicles for their employees to drive should be a priority.
It is also important to monitor employee driving and provide live feedback where necessary. These days, there is a wide range of safety features available which can monitor drivers and send live reports and alerts to business owners.
When creating a road safety policy, it is especially important to add a zero-mobile clause. Despite numerous warnings, many drivers today still use their mobile phones whilst driving. This poses a severe risk and should therefore be enclosed in all road safety policies.
Overall, road safety should be a major focus of any business yet as the research reveals, most companies in the UK don’t take it as seriously as they should.
By taking a best practice approach, businesses can avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law and ensure their employees and the public’s safety.
WITH businesses increasingly looking to protect their vehicles and cut down insurance costs, GPS vehicle trackers are becoming increasingly popular, especially insurance approved ones.
Vehicle tracking can improve fleet efficiency, reduce costs and help keep employees and assets, safe.
But it is often misunderstood what the laws are surrounding vehicle tracking.
Whether you are planning to use vehicle tracking or are already using vehicle tracking systems, there are a few rules and regulations with which you must comply with under the law.
Failure to do so can lead to fines and convictions, so it is important to have the best understanding you can, of UK vehicle tracking laws.
Which Laws Affect Vehicle Tracking
The general rule is that tracking any vehicle at any time is legal, so long as the person driving knows they are being tracked. However, this rule is a little vague and doesn’t include some of the most important information to remember when you’re vehicle tracking.
Most of the laws that affect vehicle tracking involve the privacy and protection of an employee and their personal data. There are the two pieces of legislation that affect vehicle tracking, The Human Rights Act 1998, and The Data Protection Act 1998.
The Human Rights Act 1998
Article 8 of the Act says that everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life, and their home etc. This is particularly important when considering vehicle tracking and your employees. For instance, if you are tracking a company vehicle that is used outside of working hours, you must have a privacy button in place where a driver can switch off vehicle tracking, outside their working hours. This helps to protect their privacy and helps make sure that your vehicle tracking device is only in place to track the vehicle, for business purposes, and not the individual, for any other purpose.
The Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1998, 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. The Act states that personal data should be:
- Processed fairly and lawfully
- Obtained only for specified and lawful reasons
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up to date
- Kept no longer that necessary, to fulfil it’s purpose
- Processed along the lines of the individual’s human rights
- Protected against unauthorised or unlawful use, loss or destruction
- Kept within the European economic area
The rules become complicated here, as it is difficult to know what information gathered by a vehicle tracking device, counts as business and what counts as personal. The main questions to ask yourself are; is this personal data, am I using it lawfully and do I have permission?
More Rules to Consider When Fleet Vehicle Tracking
After going over the laws that affect vehicle tracking, there are some other factors for consideration, to make sure you are complying with the law.
One important point, is that you should only be tracking a vehicle for reasons that relate to the running of the business and not employee behaviour. Tracking an individual, rather than the vehicle means you are in breach of the law.
Some employers may wish to hide a tracking device in their vehicles, this is sometimes known as covert tracking. The majority of the time, this is just used to prevent theft or to protect the company’s reputation.
This is perfectly legal, so long as the driver is aware that the tracking device is there.
It is also important to remember that any form of GPS jamming is most certainly illegal, and you cannot tamper with the data collected by your vehicle tracking device, under the law.
Thatcham is a non-profit research centre. The organisation works with insurance companies, car manufacturers, and law enforcement to set out guidance on maintaining safety standards.
The certification provided by Thatcham requires GPS devices to meet incredibly high security and safety requirements. This means that you can be safe in the knowledge that your GPS vehicle tracker is the best of the best and be confident in its performance if it bears the Thatcham Security certification.
The rigorous testing required to obtain this certification is also why Thatcham approved trackers are favoured by insurance companies, and having one fitted can in most cases lower your premiums.
Thatcham Approved Categories
While all Thatcham approved trackers are preferred by insurance companies, there are multiple categories available.
The different categories are known as S5 and S7, although you may still see them listed under their pre January 2019 as either CAT 5, CAT 6, or CAT 7.
All Thatcham approved vehicle trackers must meet the strictest of criteria, making the differences between CAT S5 and S7 no reflection on how secure they will be.
The biggest difference between trackers in the two different categories are that S7 trackers have a reactive system which does not require driver ID.
This means that S7 vehicle trackers cannot tell the difference between yourself or an unauthorised person taking your vehicle.
S5 systems, on the other hand, use a proactive system which can identify if an approved driver ID key is present. If there isn’t, a silent alarm is activated which will alert you that your vehicle has been moved.
S5 Vehicle Trackers
Category S5 is the highest level of certification that can be awarded to insurance approved trackers, with those devices that receive this certification being deemed as the most secure on the market.
Aside from highly-accurate GPS tracking, the vehicle trackers in the S5 category have a number of high-end features.
These include rapid police response and the ability to remote immobilise a vehicle should it be stolen.
S7 Vehicle Trackers
The new S7 category of insurance approved trackers offer GPS vehicle tracking at a lower cost, as they do not include many of the additional features found in S5 trackers.
Category S7 trackers will still provide a level of tracking that will be more than sufficient for everyday motorists.
They can show accurate street mapping, provide driver identification, and even include motion sensors to monitor if your vehicle is moved without your permission.