The AA recently called for a code of conduct to govern how people share and use dash cam footage, to combat the huge surge in “name and shame” videos on social media.
Dashboard cameras are intended to help prevent “crash for cash” claims and to provide the authorities with video evidence of collisions, near-misses and other dangerous incidents. They help fleets save money by reducing fraudulent claims - and can also help lower insurance premiums.
However, the AA feels that that too many drivers post videos on social media without considering the impact on the motorists shown in their footage. In many cases, drivers are publicly condemned for actions that, in reality, are not their fault.
Time to Act?
The AA points out that some nations have already taken the lead when it comes to protecting privacy. In Portugal and Belgium, dash cam owners require the permission of any other motorists featured in their videos prior to sharing that footage online. In Italy, number plates are private, and must be blurred out in footage.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now flooded with videos uploaded from dash cams, all claiming to show bad driving. Fleet managers should be aware of the data protection issues around their employees sharing and publicising dash cam footage from company vehicles. Indeed, it could be worthwhile drawing up a policy on dash cam usage that covers data protection.
Surveillance cameras have been around for a long time in the form of CCTV; and the Government has recently updated its guidance when it comes to data protection. However, there is some debate as to whether this actually includes fleet cameras. The critical documents covering this topic are listed below, in the References section, for your convenience.
While UK law could certainly do with more clarity when it comes to dash cams, responsible fleets may wish to get ahead of the curve and implement data protection policies now.
One way to avoid any potential data protection issues is to update your policies relating to company vehicles. Legally, there are two considerations to bear in mind. Firstly, like all organisations, fleets have an obligation to comply with data protection laws. Secondly, all footage recorded from a dash cam or multi-cam system fitted to a vehicle in your fleet is the property of your company.
You may therefore wish to remind employees that they should not share any footage from your dash cams, without your full and prior consent. Employees have the right to view footage relating to any incidents that involve them; but they do not have the right to share it without the company’s permission.
This is a quick and easy way to ensure that company car drivers, as well as LCV and HGV drivers, do not post material on social media that could cause issues for your company and even damage your brand.
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice:
A National Surveillance Camera Strategy for England and Wales:
In the picture: A data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information: