The New Jersey State Senate recently voted unanimously to approve Assembly Bill 3579 (the Bill). Under the Bill, those who are not the owner of a motor vehicle that contains a recording device may not collect or use the recorded data without the owner’s consent (with a few exceptions).

The definition of “recording device” under the Bill is broad, with a few specific exceptions (e.g., personal mobile telephones with recording capabilities). The “owner” of a vehicle refers to the person with the incidents of ownership or the purchaser or lessee under a security or lease agreement, respectively.

Given that vehicle fleet services are commonly outsourced and that collection and analysis of recorded vehicle data is typically a valuable aspect of such services, the Bill raises a few important issues, including the following:

  • When drafting a fleet services contract, parties should consider whether to expressly include the customer’s consent to the vendor’s collection and use of the vehicle data (and the permissible scope of such collection and use).
  • If passed, the Bill would provide yet another reason why customers should consider whether a vendor’s compliance with law obligations under a contract are adequate.
  • If a customer uses independent contractor drivers for its fleet, the drivers may be the “owners” of the vehicles, and both the customer and the vendor would need the owners’ consent to collect and use the recorded data.

The Bill will head to the New Jersey Assembly for a final vote before being sent to the governor for signature.