Van owners and fleet operators may decide to install cameras in their vehicles for a variety of reasons. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your use of cameras is legal, ethical and worthwhile.
Installing cameras in your van or fleet of vans can lower your insurance premiums, raise driving standards and help you during accident-related legal disputes. Often, commercial vehicle insurers will even offer discounts for their use. Since dashboard cams are cheaper and easier to operate than ever, installing them could be the right step for your van-based business.
But is it legal ?
When talking about cameras and filming, the most important issue involved is that of privacy. In the case of vehicles, no special concerns apply to front-facing cameras as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on public roads.
Van cameras and employee privacy
It is important to be as transparent as possible with employees about the use of dashboard cameras. Employers should make sure employees are clear on the possibility that they might be recorded, the use of the cameras, and their specific purpose. As in any case when information is recorded, employees should also be told how long this information will be kept. This should be written out in their contract or employee manual, as well as indicated in the van by a clearly visible sign. Secretly monitoring employees can constitute a violation of privacy and using the cameras for an undisclosed purpose – like monitoring productivity – could be illegal.
Finally, inward-facing cameras that record drivers or cabin activity are potentially invasive. If you find the need to install such cameras, employees will need to know about them and you must let the Information Commissioner’s Office know why you are using CCTV in mobile workplaces. Some dashboard cameras have microphones, but recording sound is not advisable. Grabbing the conversations of employees could constitute a breach of personal privacy and may be subject to legal penalty.