New data protection rules have been adopted by the European Parliament with the aim of protecting the privacy of drivers. Predictions are that by 2020, 90% of new cars will be connected, sharing real-time information on a massive scale.

Companies will inevitably need to gain driver consent for data-sharing, writing into employment contracts how data will be gathered and used, opening up another challenge for fleet managers to wrestle with, but I won’t even attempt to touch on every facet of the data sharing debate.

Focusing on safety, I believe the more data we can gather from a driver and their vehicle the better. Insurers are putting black boxes in young drivers’ cars for a very valid reason, to make them safer – and the same can apply to company drivers too.

I’m also in favour of protecting people’s privacy, and there being restrictions on the data that can be used and shared if it’s not relevant. In our social media world, I’m sure we all have examples of times we have found the use of our details to be worryingly intrusive.

But lets focus on the issue of how a person drives (not where they are, which is another big debate). Why would a driver object to having data pulled from their company-provided vehicle about how they are driving?

By knowing how they are driving helps their employer identify potential driver training requirements, which could stop them having an accident. Knowing their driving is being monitored also deters employees from driving dangerously, using excessive or inappropriate speed, braking or cornering too hard and so on. It’s the old adage that measured behaviour creates changed behaviour.

Certainly that’s part of the theory with youngsters who temper their driving because they know everything they do is being monitored – which ultimately stops them driving badly in the first place.

I appreciate the importance of having data protection rules for connected vehicles. After all, what we do and where we go in our spare time is entirely up to us. Yet, surely if the individual is driving an expensive company asset, insured by the business, both at work and in their spare time it should be okay to at least know howthey drive it.

Lets take the scenario of someone who drives sensibly at work but turns into a boy racer when the working day is over, or hands the company car keys to their partner or spouse who drives like a lunatic in the evenings. I’m sure most fleet managers would feel entitled to know about this.

And if we decide it’s up to them how they drive outside of work, who is to determine when the data sharing gets switched off? Is it at a specific time? Is it when they get home? What if they leave an appointment at 6pm but decide to go to a hotel in readiness for the next day’s meeting. Are we in work time or out of work time?

My view is that if they are not willing to share how they drive their company-provided vehicle, perhaps they should use a private car in their own time.