A recent news article caught our eye. It concerned an employee driving a company vehicle on her way to work. According to the media report the employer thought the employee wasn’t taking the right route to the workplace (the employee was responsible for transporting workers to a local vineyard, but had stopped on the way to get a drink from a petrol station). The employer then remotely disabled the vehicle via a GPS immobiliser unit.
While it was moving.
Through a roundabout.
Obviously we don’t know whether the report is accurate, or whether there is more going on. However this incident (if it occurred in the way it was reported) would have provided a few hair-raising moments for the driver and occupants of the vehicle!
There are a bunch of interesting legal issues here, including the potential for charges of “remote” dangerous or careless driving. The post Pike River Health and Safety at Work Act also contains significant (and frankly scary) penalties for employers that do unsafe things.
However, we think it shouldn’t take a lawyer (or legal threats) to convince anyone that remotely disabling a moving vehicle is almost never going to be a good idea, particularly if the employer hasn’t taken any steps to ensure it is safe to do so. GPS technology is certainly a useful tool for businesses (employers rolling out this technology have to ensure they’re not breaching privacy laws, but that’s normally easily done). However we’re hoping this particular “use” won’t catch on.