Fleet News

Telematics: Driver consent will be critical

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By Richard Brown, managing director, Licence Check

With the growth in telematics along with manufacturers building vehicles that connect to, and interact with, the internet, what are the implications for fleet managers and drivers?

Knowing the whereabouts of their fleet vehicles during working hours, scheduling and service delivery, running costs, employee expenses and driving styles are all invaluable.

Connected vehicles can be an integral part of a strategy to reduce fleet costs, improve environmental profiling and drive down the number of accidents and hidden costs of such incidents. Addressing unwanted driver behaviour may also result in direct savings on insurance premiums through safety performance improvements.

The data is also attractive for leasing companies who may be interested in technical data generated by the vehicle in terms of emissions, faults and systems issues measured over time. This helps to determine leasing rates and expected residual values and provides focus on accident information, early fault indicators, breakdowns, servicing and repairs. 

Data from connected vehicles can also be used to repudiate speeding charges, tickets collected by ‘cloned’ vehicles and identify ‘crash-for-cash’ scams. 

But there are concerns surrounding the use of this information and the right to privacy, particularly because it could lead to the dismissal of an employee, prosecution or other disciplinary measures.

Ownership of this data is fraught with legal issues that at an individual driver level, raise issues of privacy, consent and data protection. It also brings into play wider issues of health and safety, environmental policy, management of the economy, transport and the promotion of fair competition.

There appears to be general consensus that driver consent to the specific use of data is paramount. Regarding the ownership question, there is no definite answer. It will depend upon the circumstances in each case – the parties collecting the data and the use to which it will be put.

What it might actually boil down to is how a contract is worded and whether the driver has properly consented to this use.

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