Now Govt Wants To Track Everywhere You Drive

Wed 16th Feb 2022

New measures proposed to introduce a pay-as-you drive tax could include technology which monitors everything we do in our cars, including the speed we drive and where we drive to.

We reported earlier this week that the Government is looking at new ways to collect road taxes following an expected fall in fuel duties and Vehicle Excise Duties due to the move to electric vehicles. The Transport Select Committee has called on the government to introduce a pay-as-you drive system to cover the expected £35bn annual shortfall, with telematics expected to be at the heart of the plans.

Some form of telematics will be introduced to most cars in the future, to restrict speeds and ensure drivers don’t go beyond limits, but campaigners are warning that giving the government access to this data will be a step too far.

Speaking to The Express, David Savage, Vice President for Geotab, a telematics and tracking firm warned what kind of data the government could collect.

“[The] Transport Select Committee report shows an innovative alternative approach to our current road tax system,” Savage said.

“Telematics is an often underutilised tool that can reap huge cost and environmental benefits.

“Many UK businesses can already attest to the savings that can be realised by operating a fleet using telematics, and with its widespread introduction, its inherent environmental benefits can also be compounded.

The key to telematics is in its simplicity.

“Through the installation of a small telematics device into a vehicle, a whole host of data can be accurately analysed, including location, speed, idling time, harsh braking and acceleration, fuel consumption and much more.

“All of this allows for optimum route planning, predictive vehicle maintenance and insights to enhance driver performance and safety.”

While the pay-as-you drive tax proposed by the Transport Select Committee is widely accepted as a good idea, with most drivers paying the same or less than currently, the TSC is also aware of the potential data concerns, with their report acknowledging the issues.

“The government must assess the potential effect of telematic technology on changing drivers’ behaviour and delivering its wider policies on air quality, congestion, public transport and public health,” the report said.