GPS tracking in vehicles is used by many businesses to ensure that their vehicles can be located in the event that they do not meet their expected arrival times, or to ensure that a vehicle is returned on the appropriate date or that the occupant is safe. In order to lawfully allow for GPS tracking in vehicles, it is important to ensure that the law is being followed correctly and that the proper notification is given to the driver of a tracked vehicle.
From February 2018, the Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA) (the Act) began its operation in relation to businesses in South Australia. This Act imposes obligations on businesses where they wish to install GPS devices on their vehicles in regards to notifying the driver of the fact that it is being tracked.
In order for GPS tracking of a vehicle to be lawful section 7 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2016 will need to be complied with as shown below:
(1) Subject to this section, a person must not knowingly install, use or maintain a tracking device to determine the geographical location of—
(a) a person without the express or implied consent of that person; or
(b) a vehicle or thing without the express or implied consent of the owner, or a person in lawful possession or lawful control, of that vehicle or thing.
(a) in the case of a body corporate—$75 000;
(b) in the case of a natural person—$15 000 or imprisonment for 3 years.
Where consent is not granted the penalty implications can be high.
Due to the above, it is recommended that where a GPS has been installed in a vehicle, proper consent is obtained.
The simplest way to do so would be to get the implied consent of the driver by having a sticker placed in the car that states that the car is being GPS tracked. This sticker however would have to be placed in a noticeable area to ensure that the driver of the vehicle will see it and be aware of the GPS tracking.
Alternatively having a GPS tracking policy or a clause included in a vehicle rental agreement stating that vehicles will be tracked and the reasoning for doing so would allow for express consent being given.Should you have any enquiries in regards to GPS tracking in vehicles or the obligations of implementing other surveillance activities on your consumers or employees please contact the MTA on 8291 2000 or email the WR team by clicking here.