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How to use GPS vehicle tracking to protect your drivers on the road

Activity management, which relies among other things on GPS vehicle tracking data, makes it easier to supervise teams on the road. It offers a map of your vehicle fleet, provides information about vehicle use, enables schedules to be optimised, contributes to greater productivity and better cost control of your fleet.

The introduction of GPS tracking, however, is often met with reluctance from drivers. Winning their support requires good communication on the benefits it provides, as well as the provision of robust guarantees about its use. Here are some suggestions for making it a success:

Explaining the benefits of GPS vehicle tracking for drivers on the road: safety and improved daily work schedules

Sales reps, maintenance technicians, construction plant operators: drivers on the road are particularly affected by road risks and are generally more isolated in their daily work. Technology provides added value in both of these areas: it can keep them safer and help them feel less alone. Clearly explaining these advantages for drivers is the first step towards winning their support for this approach.

What if your fleet management solution helped your drivers on a daily basis

Greater safety on the road

Improving risk prevention on the road

Drivers who spend large amounts of time on the road and travel long distances are particularly exposed to road risks. Based on data collected from vehicles, onboard telematics give better visibility of their risky behaviour. They can provide a detailed analysis of driving habits and risky behaviour (speed, sudden braking, manoeuvres) enabling you to identify the areas to focus on with prevention actions.

Telematics can also reduce risky behaviour while driving by automating actions that could create risks: route mapping, automatically sending customer reminders while driving, etc.

Better protection for drivers, remotely

Onboard telematics can also monitor vehicle condition and carry out remote checks of safety equipment (e.g. airbags). Combined with a fleet management software, it can optimise maintenance and prevent risks of wear in service vehicles.

In the event of an accident, it gives the driver peace of mind that it will be dealt with more easily. A GPS tracking system can detect the vehicle's position, immobilise it if there is a problem, or even locate the nearest partner breakdown and repair service.

For construction companies, machinery can be immobilised remotely, for security and to carry out checks, sometimes directly within an application, as is the case with the Ocean solution’s Ocean Mobility app. This feature is ideal for machinery hire companies, in the event of a dispute, for example.

Better working conditions for those on the road

Time saving

With GPS fleet tracking, managers can identify the position of drivers on the road and track vehicles and activity on the ground in real time. This enables them to organise assignments and team schedules more efficiently: e.g. construction site rounds, breakdown repairs, customer appointments. For drivers, this means a reduction in time spent on the road.

GPS tracking also helps them to reduce their daily journey times: fastest route detection, suggestion of alternative routes if there is heavy traffic, pre-saving of addresses for each round in order to save time.

Less stress, greater comfort, more support

Onboard telematics not only save time but help to make life easier for drivers and give them less stressful working conditions.

Automation of schedule and route planning, easier access to useful procedures and information through the Car Policy available in a mobile app, and computerised management of maintenance and safety operations all provide reassurance for isolated drivers, who often find the lack of communication with management difficult.

GPS tracking and telematics tools also enable drivers to adopt eco-driving  behaviour, which helps to reduce stress at the wheel. The boxes installed in the passenger compartment provide drivers with driving behaviour indicators to help them to learn to drive more smoothly. Fleet managers can use the fun aspect of the tool to organise eco-driving challenges between drivers and create a collective approach.

Inclusive approach, compliance with regulations: important steps 

Supporting the implementation of GPS vehicle tracking with robust guarantees

The use of GPS tracking and harvesting the data collected by GPS trackers can prompt legitimate questions from drivers. Between compliance with the law and the provision of information on the ground, companies have many different ways of offering clarity about what the system entails and reassuring those on the road.

Aim for a clear framework and a transparent approach

Diligently comply with regulatory requirements

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulates GPS tracking of employee vehicles. CNIL (the French Data Protection Authority), which is the regulator in France, lists the instances where it may be used, the uses that are not permitted, and the privacy guarantees to be provided.

Implementing a GPS vehicle tracking system means complying with various regulatory requirements, in particular:

  • Declaration of the system to CNIL, specifying its purpose (data processing purposes and processes).
  • Prior consultation of the works council and staff representatives.
  • Provision of information in writing to employees affected by the system.

Make it an inclusive process based on transparency

Winning the support of employees is also dependent on making it a collective endeavour involving various stakeholders.

At GTIE Telecoms, a VINCI Energies Group company, the project was focused on an educational approach and introduced in stages to allow drivers to familiarise themselves gradually with using the new equipment: “We prioritised trust and the positive use of Ocean, to the extent that it now an accepted part of day-to-day life” explains David Chaptal, Head of GTIE Telecoms.

Communicating with staff about the use of the information collected gives an extra layer of inclusion and transparency: presenting the fuel and CO2 savings made, celebrating the results of eco-driving challenges, or sharing good customer satisfaction scores achieved by optimising rounds.

Provide reassurance on the use of data and facilitate respect for privacy

Provide legal guarantees

The issue of personal data exploitation and the risk of intrusion of the system into employees’ private lives are the main fears linked to GPS vehicle tracking.

In addition to uses that are not permitted, CNIL also manages potential derivation by imposing the following obligations:

  • It must be possible for the driver to disable the GPS tracking device when the vehicle is being used privately.
  • Data may only be kept for a limited time (between 2 months and 5 years, depending on its use).
  • Safety measures must be taken when processing the collected data, and processing is restricted to authorised personnel.

The CNIL declaration procedure assists in ensuring compliance of data use. However, it does not exonerate the company from providing education around these issues. In particular the employer may:

  • provide a detailed memo about the information collected and its use;
  • make the privacy policy available within the Car Policy;
  • present the system during service meetings and respond openly to any questions;
  • inform employees that they have a right to view the personal data held on them.

Use onboard telematics tools to facilitate respect for privacy

Managers can also use the features offered by GPS tracking and onboard telematics solutions which, in the case of the most advanced, are based on the ‘Privacy by Design’ principle. In this way, with Ocean:

  • the privacy calendar, available in the mobile app for drivers, allows employees on the road to plan their working week and identify privacy slots when GPS vehicle tracking will be disabled.
  • The Driver Connect connected box, installed in the passenger compartment, has a privacy button that can be pressed to disable GPS tracking and suspend data transmission.
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