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GPS tracking of company vehicles: how far can you go?

Can you track any type of information with GPS vehicle tracking? No.

CNIL (the French Data Protection Authority) has for some years set rules governing the collection and use of data associated with the implementation of a company GPS vehicle tracking scheme. The regulatory framework was further strengthened by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2017.

This article explains the limits on data collection, what is permitted, and how the Ocean solution range enables you to manage GPS vehicle tracking in compliance with the data protection rules.

GPS tracking of company vehicles: the boundaries you must not cross

Limits on speed checking

Not permitted: checking an employee’s speed in real time

Using a GPS tracking device to check compliance with speed restrictions is prohibited. The sole exception is if speed is being checked for a study of accidents and the driver is participating voluntarily.

With Ocean, use data on driving behaviour that is compliant with GDPR

Through GPS tracking, the Ocean Conduite app analyses driving behaviour such as taking bends sharply or braking and accelerating suddenly.

This information is made available to fleet manages and the drivers themselves to raise awareness of eco-driving and improve driving behaviours, raising safety and eco practices. Compliance with speed limits is excluded, in accordance with the GDPR.

Limits on vehicle position tracking outside working hours

Not permitted: keeping the GPS tracking device active at all times

The GPS tracking device must not be used for constant monitoring of an employee or to locate a vehicle during:

  • breaks,
  • journeys to and from work where this time is unpaid,
  • parking outside working hours, including to combat theft or check the conditions of use of company vehicles.

Ocean offers modular GPS tracking options as needed

Our Ocean solution features and products are GDPR-compliant:

  • Our geofencing feature, which detects movement outside a defined perimeter, is based on an internal device that can be remotely activated when a theft is reported. This helps the police to locate the vehicle.
  • Our chronofencing feature is triggered when a company vehicle is used outside normal hours. The hours covered are fully configurable.

Limitations on monitoring working time

Not permitted: using GPS tracking to replace an existing method or in the vehicles of certain employees

The GPS tracking system of company vehicles must not be used:

  • to monitor working time if another method already exists or is available for doing so (badge system, clocking in system, etc.),
  • when the employee has freedom to organise their own work schedule (e.g. travelling salespeople),
  • to monitor the travel of staff representatives while they are performing this role.

In the wording of CNIL, it may be used on an ‘ancillary’ basis to ‘monitor working time when this cannot be done by any other means.’

Privacy options built into our Ocean solutions by design

The privacy features ensuring regulatory compliance with the CNIL obligations are included by design in the Ocean solutions:

  • the ‘privacy’ option enables the driver to disable GPS vehicle tracking and suspend data transmission simply by pressing a button on the Driver Connect  box in the passenger compartment. Driver Connect is a box that identifies drivers on the road so that they can be managed remotely while guaranteeing their privacy.
  • The Ocean Conduite driver app can also be used to schedule periods specifically for private vehicle use if this is permitted by your car policy.
  • It also includes a privacy calendar, on which each driver can identify their own time during working and non-working days (specific hours, leave, absences, weekends, etc.). GPS tracking is de facto disabled during these periods.
  • Drivers can also declare journeys as private after they have been made, on their declaration of benefits in kind.

Ocean fleet management solutions are also available without GPS tracking

Ocean also offers onboard telematics solutions without GPS tracking, i.e. with no position readings. These options still provide an overview of your vehicle fleet and its key information (mileage, transmitted maintenance data, fuel cost monitoring, etc.).

GPS tracking of company vehicles: permitted uses

Guaranteeing the safety of people and the vehicles they are responsible for

Telematics solutions can be used to give your drivers more protection on the road: reducing risky behaviour, making it easier to respond to accidents, identifying vehicles more easily in the event of theft.

The data can also be used to optimise vehicle maintenance: use of mileage and vehicle wear information to anticipate services, checks to be performed, or replacement of parts.

Optimising services provided to customers

The data transmitted by your fleet management solution with the GPS tracking option can be used to ‘monitor, prove and invoice for’ a transport service, whether for goods, passengers or services directly associated with the use of the vehicle.

They can also be used to improve the services provided to customers. This may mean optimising rounds to cover more customers or to serve them more quickly, or identifying the nearest repair technician to a broken down vehicle.

Improving employees’ driving experience

The data transmitted by your vehicles can provide less stressful working conditions for your drivers. A few examples:

  • Optimised travel for drivers (reduced number of journeys made and time spent on the road, route optimisation)
  • Raised awareness of eco-driving to support the adoption of smoother driving behaviours and help reduce stress at the wheel.
  • Facilitated access to key information and procedures associated with the vehicle and its use (vehicle technical data, maintenance scheduling, useful contacts, FAQs, etc.).

Checking compliance with the rules on vehicle use

Fleet management solutions with the GPS tracking option can be used
to check that company vehicles are being used in accordance with the company’s internal regulations.

  1. To check working time in order to comply with driver hours and well-being requirements, especially when drivers are isolated and constantly on the road.
  2. To provide procedures to follow in the event of accidents or incidents through the Car Policy (link to article) as well as nearby breakdown repair services.
  3. To monitor fuel consumption to anticipate company expenditure, allowing optimisation via better cost analysis.

Warning: the system must not be activated to locate or monitor employees when they are not working.


Setting rules for the use of your company GPS vehicle tracking system is the first important step for successful implementation. The way you communicate about the GPS tracking system and support its implementation are important criteria for success.

To find out more about the legal formalities and best practices to be followed concerning data protection for implementing your GPS tracking solution, read our article


Reference page on the CNIL website:

GPS tracking of employees’ vehicles https://www.cnil.frr/fr/la-geolocalisation-des-vehicules-des-salarie

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