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When it comes to commercial vehicle tracking, there are a number of important factors to consider. Whether it’s the tracker you choose or the tracking operation itself, it can differ from the tracking of a personal vehicle. However, there are also some things that run true across the board.

In this post, we take a closer look at personal and commercial vehicle tracking, how they differ and what to consider when you’re tracking commercial vehicles.

Legal implications

One of the biggest differences between personal and commercial vehicle tracking is the legality. When you’re tracking your own vehicle, there’s no need for consent. You simply fit the tracker and see where your vehicle is at all times. Ideally, it will be you – or someone you know – driving it! If not, the tracker puts you and the authorities in the best position to retrieve the vehicle.

However, when you’re tracking employee vehicles, the person in possession of that vehicle needs to be aware that they’re being tracked. While some will argue that they’re simply tracking one of their company’s vehicles – in doing so, you’re also tracking a person’s whereabouts for the day, week, month or year.

Gaining consent doesn’t need to be a lengthy or complex process. But it does need to be something concrete that you can use to prove that employees have been informed. If you’re providing company vehicles, whether it’s a fleet of trucks or just company cars, add a section to employee contracts that highlights how commercial vehicles may be tracked.

On top of that, it’s illegal to track any vehicle outside working hours. In many cases, people may also use their commercial vehicle for personal purposes – dropping the kids off on the way to work or just nipping to the shops. Whatever the case, you can only legally track vehicles within an employee’s contracted hours.

Personal vs commercial tracking technology

Another important distinction comes with the trackers themselves. There are certain things that could be highly useful for commercial vehicle tracking that you might not consider with a personal car tracker.

Changing vehicles

When purchasing a vehicle tracker, you have two options: universal or manufacturer specific. Also known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer), manufacturer specific car trackers have been approved by the car manufacturer such as Jaguar, BMW or Range Rover.

With a manufacturer specific car tracker, you benefit from complete peace of mind that this tracker is purpose-built for your vehicle. However, they might not be the best fit for other makes and models. That can add an unnecessary complication when it comes to commercial vehicles, which may need to be switched around more often than personal cars.

If an individual loves Land Rovers, for instance, they could probably buy a Land Rover tracker – safe in the knowledge that they can use it even when they replace their current Land Rover with a newer model.

Commercial fleets and company cars aren’t always so uniform or brand-loyal. You might choose to switch to a new type of vehicle when circumstances or preferences change. With that in mind, it’s best to go for a universal vehicle tracker.

Tracker installation

In the same train of thought, it’s best to look for a tracker that’s easy to install. With a fleet of multiple vehicles, you’ll need several trackers to be installed and potentially switched between vehicles. Even the smallest complication or delay could become a big issue.

Look for a tracker with a simple installation kit and instructions. Or, even better, buy from a company that offers expert installation as part of their service.

Tracking technology

The majority of car trackers use GPS technology to track your vehicle’s whereabouts. That’s the same technology used by most satellite navigation systems, pinpointing your location using multiple satellites.

However, some other trackers will also use GSM technology. This is the Global System for Mobile communications, used for mobile phone texting and calling around the world.

Other models may even complement this with VHF (Very High Frequency) tracking, which are used for radio and TV. While not as long-distance as other technology, VHF has the advantage that it can’t be blocked by containers, underground facilities or GPS and GSM signal jammers used by some thieves. Essentially, VHF acts as a back-up to GPS and GSM, meaning your vehicles can be tracked even in unusual circumstances.

For personal use, this might seem like an unnecessary luxury. If you’re only using a tracker to keep tabs on your teenager’s use of the family car, for example, you’re unlikely to need VHF technology. However, it could prove invaluable for commercial tracking, retaining your vehicle’s location despite the best efforts of criminals.

Commercial vehicle tracking apps

The final consideration is how exactly you’re going to track vehicles once the tracking technology is in place. For maximum ease of use and flexibility, it’s best to look for trackers that provide access to a mobile app.

With a mobile app, you can check vehicles’ locations and set geofences from your phone or tablet. It also enables instant notifications for unauthorised vehicle movement or low battery warnings, keeping you in complete control of commercial vehicles even when you’re on the go.

Another feature that may be useful here is journey tracking, which is offered by a number of leading providers. While this may not be hugely useful for personal vehicles, it allows fleet managers to see where their staff have been driving on any given day. This enables you to track drivers’ activity without the need for constant real-time monitoring.

One of the biggest issues when it comes to commercial tracking is how exactly you’re going to track multiple vehicles at once. That’s where applications like Quartix come in. Quartix is a purpose-built fleet tracking system that allows you to monitor multiple vehicles whenever required using any web-ready device.

Track your commercial vehicles

At VTA Security, we stock a wide range of state-of-the-art vehicle trackers. With universal compatibility, various signal types and innovative mobile apps, our trackers are perfect for commercial vehicles. Our team provides UK-wide installation for Tracker, Trackstar and Vodafone ranges. We are also Quartix Certified Partners.

To find out more, email or call us on 01489 222980.

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