More from: GPS Vehicle Tracking

Tracking Fleet Vehicles & Stealth Surveillance

The Spark Nano 3.0 is one of the most popular GPS tracking devices on the market. It’s used by individuals for a variety of purposes as well as companies wanting to track fleet vehicles. Some companies are small businesses with just one or two cars, while others are large companies with an entire fleet of trucks and sales vehicles.

GPS tracking can be an important tool for managing company fleets in that it helps improve efficiency, lower vehicle costs, and deal with employees who might be using company vehicles inappropriately. At the same time, monitoring fleets this way does raise some concerns that have not yet been addressed in a court of law.

Critics of GPS vehicle tracking claim that utilizing devices like the Spark Nano are a violation of worker privacy. They believe workers should be trusted unless they give sufficient reason otherwise. Proponents of GPS tracking claim that it’s no different than a shop manager observing workers on the floor. The manager who does his job correctly is constantly monitoring what employees are doing, how hard they’re working, and how they are using company equipment.

Tracking Fleet Vehicles

Openness Is the Best Policy

Because of GPS tracking enters a whole new realm of law that hasn’t been adequately addressed, it’s best for companies to be open with their employees about GPS tracking unless stealth surveillance is needed for very specific purpose. In other words, when you first install the tracking system inform all of your workers who use company vehicles of your plans. For new workers, inform them during the interview process that your vehicles are tracked. If that bothers the candidate, that’s the perfect time to decline a job offer.

There’s an added benefit of informing your drivers about the presence of the Spark Nano or other tracking device. That benefit comes by way of an incentive for each worker to be responsible. If the point of tracking is to prevent excessive speed, reckless driving, or wasting time, there doesn’t even need to be one instance if a worker is informed ahead of time his behavior is being monitored. Stealth surveillance may provide you the evidence to confront an employee acting improperly, but it does nothing to change the fact that inappropriate behavior was engaged in.

When Stealth Is Necessary

Certainly there are times when stealth surveillance is necessary. For example, if you suspect your company vehicles are being used in the commission of a crime, it’s more desirable to have evidence needed for arrest and conviction rather than simply trying to persuade the worker to cease and desist. Similarly you may require a certain amount of evidence in order to terminate the employee who is violating company policy. In either case you might need to use a tracking device without informing workers.

The point of all of this is that GPS vehicle tracking is still fairly new in the US marketplace. If you’re planning to utilize it, ward off any potential future litigation by being upfront whenever possible.

Placing a GPS Tracker on a Car

If you’ve purchased a Spark Nano 3.0 and plan to use it to secretly track the movement of a vehicle, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Done correctly the device could be a goldmine of valuable information. Done incorrectly it could yield no useful results and land you in jail.

In terms of federal law the only concrete “regulations” we have come from a Supreme Court ruling sent down earlier this year. But that ruling is very narrowly focused to only include law enforcement agencies and some of the surveillance practices they use. We have no federal guidelines about the private use of GPS tracking systems.

State law is a different matter. As far as we know they’re only a couple of states (Texas is one of them) that regulate GPS tracking. But you should check with your state before you go about planting your Spark Nano on a vehicle.

As a general it is legal to track a vehicle in this way if you or another family member living in your household owns it. In the case of a vehicle not owned by you or a family member you can only install a GPS tracking device if:

  • you are using it to obtain the same information you would through physical surveillance
  • you don’t have to enter the vehicle to install it
  • you don’t have to trespass on private property to install it
  • the vehicle is in plain view during the installation
  • you don’t hardwire it to the vehicle’s electrical system

In a nutshell, you’re allowed to do whatever you want with your own cars. With the vehicles of other people you are limited to a temporary installation on the outside of the vehicle using a battery operated unit. It seems pretty straightforward.

Placing the Spark Nano

If you’re working with your own cars the only thing you need to know is that metal interferes with the device’s signal. Therefore, putting your Spark Nano in the trunk is a bad idea. You might try under the seats, in the glove box, under the carpeting, behind the door panel, or even high up under the dash. If you’d prefer an external installation you can attach it underneath a plastic bumper, behind the plastic in the wheel wells, between the grill and radiator, etc. Just so long as the device is not completely surrounded by metal you’ll be fine.

All-Weather Magnetic Case For Your Nano & Battery

All-Weather Magnetic Case For Your Nano & Battery

If you’re placing the device on a vehicle you don’t own you need to be very careful. The quickest and easiest way to do so is to purchase a magnetic case the Spark Nano can easily be slipped into. You can quickly reach your hand underneath the car and attach it to one of the side rails of the frame. The quicker and easier you can make the installation or less likely you’ll be discovered and the less likely you’ll be in violation of the law for altering the vehicle in question.