The forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules should not be taken lightly by fleet decision-makers on the way they work day-to-day, according to Caroline Sandall, vice chair, ACFO.

Sandall was interviewed recently at Fleet Management Live on the GDPR regulations that come into play on 25th May 2018, designed to protect EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world. The new regulations will penalise non-compliant organisations – including fleets – with substantial fines of 2% of annual turnover or 4% of annual global turnover for more severe data protection infringements.

“GDPR has perhaps been a little underplayed in terms of its impact on fleets,” said Sandall.

“A lot of news items have focused on telematics data when actually what is really critical is making sure you can prove that you maintain a robust audit trail of how drivers understand what is happening to their data.

“They need to understand what their obligations are, so having an ‘I have read and understood policy’ tick box will not stand up to scrutiny in my opinion.

“If you are a smaller organisation and somebody comes knocking on your door expecting you to know the answers, you can reach out to anybody in the industry, you can reach out to ACFO, but the magnitude of this is not to be underestimated.”

Earlier this year, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) published its findings from a Fleet Technology Survey, finding that only 52% of BVRLA members and fleet managers felt their business had a clear strategy regarding their collection and use of driver and vehicle data.

The BVRLA has subsequently published guidance on the changes that GDPR brings to fleets here.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive, BVRLA, said: “Connected vehicle data is rapidly becoming the new currency of the fleet sector and will drive many business models in future.

“Our responsibility is clear. The BVRLA will play a lead role in helping the fleet sector work with government and the wider automotive supply chain to ensure that all parties share data in an open, secure and fair way.

“By doing this, we can make sure that businesses and consumers continue to enjoy a competitive choice of suppliers for fleet management, aftermarket and mobility services.”