A new state law will have a significant impact on New Jersey vehicle tracking. Fleets operating in the state must now inform drivers when they install GPS tracking devices in vehicles. The new law takes effect April 18, 2022.
Signed in January by Gov. Phil Murphy, the new law requires fleets to provide notice to drivers in writing when they place a GPS tracking device on vehicles the driver uses on the job. Those who do not follow the new law could face a $1,000 fine for the first violation and $2,500 for each violation thereafter.
Fleets enjoy many benefits when using GPS and other telematics devices. They can make fleets more efficient and also play a part in improving driver safety policies. But lawmakers also said drivers deserve to know when companies collect data on them as part of business operations.
Fleet Tracking in NJ Now Requires Written Notice
Employers place tracking devices on commercial vehicles to ensure employees are doing what they are supposed to when driving a company vehicle. These devices also help make routing and dispatch more efficient, allowing fleet managers to know where every vehicle in a fleet is located in real-time. Vehicle tracking devices are considered a common part of modern fleet management.
New Jersey lawmakers wanted to provide protection to drivers by requiring employers to let them know when they install tracking devices. Starting in April, employers who use GPS and other tracking devices must inform current drivers in writing. They must also provide written notice when they hire new drivers.
To best comply with the law, employers should also keep records to verify that they have provided all the appropriate written warnings that GPS tracking devices are in use.
Exceptions to the New Jersey Vehicle Tracking Law
The law does provide an exception. Devices placed in vehicles for the purpose of “documenting employee expense reimbursement” are not considered a tracking device under provisions of the new law, according to the legal site JD Supra. Also, nothing in the new law supersedes federal regulations on interstate commerce, including the use of electronic communication devices mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
It’s worth noting that the mandate to provide written notification on the use of New Jersey vehicle tracking devices applies whether a driver uses a company-owned vehicle or the employee’s personal vehicle.
What’s Happening Elsewhere?
While most states have not yet specifically addressed or adopted statutes regarding vehicle tracking, some states already have rules in place.
- California requires employers to inform any person who is being tracked and to get their consent; failure to do so is an offense that could result in jail time.
- Connecticut prohibits monitoring employees without their knowledge.
- More states will certainly follow in the future. Check with your legal counsel but it seems to make sense that no matter where your fleet operates, you should consider providing an advisory to your drivers if your vehicles are electronically tracked.
Tracking will continue to allow fleets to help drivers. For example, drivers with multiple stops can work with dispatchers on the best routes to make all their stops most efficiently. And dispatchers can immediately inform drivers when they need to make a route change due to weather, traffic accidents or road construction.
Tracking devices also can help managers know which type of driver training program (including virtual training) will work best with individual drivers based on their driving habits.