Telematics: How GDPR Could Affect the Adoption of Dash Cams

8 min read

By Mark Beattie

Consultant

Fleet management helps to deliver improvements across companies with fleets of all sizes, their drivers and end users, largely using telematics technology; the data provided from telematics is used in order to improve reliability, increase efficiency, boost customer service standards, and enhance profitability.

Although the adoption of telematics has already become standard across various industries, such as transport, construction and site excavation, the technology itself continues to evolve in its capabilities.  In recent years, fleet managers have been moving away from basic vehicle tracking to more complex systems that now involve the use of dashboard cameras. In fact, the ownership of dashboard cameras in the UK has risen from 1% to 15% within the last 4 years.

A number of distinct factors have shaped the rise in the use of dash cams across the industry, these include GPS technology for visibility on a vehicle’s location, speed and movement within points of interest, sensors for capturing any in-vehicle activity, and also engine diagnostics for the likes of fuel efficiency. Dashboard cameras allow the management of fleets to monitor driver behaviour that is not captured by other methods. This can include distractions for the driver, such as the use of mobile phones, as well as proof of who is driving the vehicle.

One of the main benefits of dash cams for fleet managers is that they provide a relatively inexpensive way of combating vehicle accident insurance fraud, which can be costly to a business financially and ultimately harm its brand reputation.

Whilst it’s apparent that dash cams have a much-needed use in the safe management of fleets, the personal data captured and how companies comply with the use and storage of this data is still a topic on many organisations’ agendas.

The implications of dashboard cameras and GDPR

Although dash cams allow for reduced insurance premiums and increased safety, there are a number of obstacles that can arise. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018, there are now much stricter regulations with regards to collecting and storing personal data in order to protect such personal data that is identifiable to an individual.

Dash cams store a multitude of different types of personal data. This includes passengers’ or pedestrians’ photos that make them identifiable and vehicle registration plates. Storing this type of data incorrectly means that a business runs the risk of failing to comply with GDPR and subsequent penalties. Depending on the type of consumer buying one of these products, the gravity of risk in storing personal data can differ greatly.

If a company with a fleet of vehicles uses dashboard cameras, then they should ensure they have a clear purpose outlined as to why they are monitoring their employees, and members of the public that the dash cams record on the roads. Companies need to ensure that the processing of personal data is necessary for the purpose it aims to achieve, and this should be outlined across all documentation company wide.

This purpose should be communicated to those operating the dash cams and to those being filmed. This could be achieved by adding a clause into employment contracts for your staff and also putting signage on fleet vehicles to inform members of the public. Although companies that sell dashboard cameras do not have a legal obligation to offer any advice to their consumers, albeit an independent consumer or a fleet, many offer guidance particularly in relation to GDPR compliance.

It is important to be aware that all companies who use telematics for their fleets will have differing purposes for the collection of this data and should seek company-specific legal advice on the correct use and storage of such data.

What does this mean for talent in the industry?

With the rise in adoption of dashboard cameras, particularly for the management of large fleets, the implications that arise from GDPR means an increase in demand for additional personnel to support across compliance and training in this area.

As a specialist consultant who focuses solely on the telematics market, I have seen a rise in the need for specialist training in GDPR company wide. The demand for this is unlikely to decline anytime soon as dash cam usage within telematics will continue to rise. There is also a need for people within organisations who can take ownership of GDPR training, writing new company policies and implementing new processes to ensure their businesses are complying with these regulations.

A Data Protection Officer must be appointed if organisations engage in large scale, regular and systematic monitoring of individuals (ICO.com). The DPO can assist the way in which organisations operate within the law by advising and monitoring compliance. It is key that the DPO appointed within an organisation is a senior-level member of staff as they will play a key role in the company’s data protection governance structure and also help improve accountability.

It is important that the lines of communication are always open between the DPO and staff members at all levels so any data breaches that may occur are dealt with in a timely manner. Staff need to understand the gravity of the consequences if a data breach occurs; this extends further than monetary fines to the damage to a brand’s reputation and subsequently its position in the market.  

Further to appointing a DPO, I have seen companies take one of several approaches, one being external legal advisors brought in on a consultative approach and another is recruiting trainers specifically in GDPR, which benefits organisations looking to give professional training with new staff continuously.

As with the adoption of new technologies, there is likely to be a change in the skills needed within companies. If you are operating within this industry and would like to discuss the future of telematics and its impact on your talent strategy, then please get in touch with me: georgie.rutherford@csgtalent.com

 

References

Teletrac Navman, What is Telematics and How are Telematics Systems Used?

Lawyer Monthly, Are You Legally Covered By Owning A Dashcam?

The AA, Dash Cams and Your Car Insurance

ICO, Data Protection Officers

Rewire Security, GDPR: What Does it Mean for Businesses Using GPS Tracking?