When is GPS Tracking Legal?

While technology has simplified our lives in many ways, consumers must make well-informed decisions before implementing some technologies, such as GPS tracking on a car. Through a GPS tracker on a vehicle, you can discover facts about a vehicle’s location, when it entered and departed a specific area, and even the speed at which the driver is traveling-often, all in real-time. It seems like a lot of information to gather about a vehicle and its driver, and for that reason, there are certain cases where it is illegal to use a GPS tracking device. Users choosing to implement one should do their research to ensure that they are using it safely, correctly, and most importantly, legally.

Key Takeaways

  • Legality of GPS Tracking: It is illegal to use a GPS tracker on a car you do not own in all 50 states. Law enforcement must obtain a warrant to use a GPS tracker on a criminal suspect's car.
  • Uses for GPS Trackers:
    • Private Citizens: Can use GPS trackers to monitor the safety and whereabouts of family members, such as elderly individuals with dementia.
    • Businesses: Can legally track company vehicles to improve delivery services, monitor employee movement, and protect assets.
  • Legal Advice: It's recommended to consult an attorney to understand local laws and best practices regarding GPS tracking.
  • Data Utilization: GPS tracking data can help streamline routes, improve hiring decisions, identify training needs, and prevent theft.
  • Choosing a GPS Tracker: Various options are available, from simple plug-and-play devices to hardwired systems. Consulting with experts can help in selecting the right tracker for specific needs.

Who Uses GPS Trackers?

Who Uses GPS Trackers

Since 2005, BrickHouse Security has served the security and surveillance needs of individuals and businesses who desire the same result-peace of mind. Peace of mind is a commodity that’s in high demand, and for many of the reasons that we read about in our daily news headlines: stories of stolen vehicles, theft of personal belongings, and driving accidents, to name a few. One heartbreaking storyline that has increased in recent years is that of elderly individuals with dementia who drive off without knowing where they're going. As a result, their families spend sleepless nights worrying about their loved one’s health and safety. Whether you are a parent with a child going off to college, a concerned partner, or a patient caregiver, the use of a GPS tracker can offer the invaluable assurance of your loved one’s safety and whereabouts, and because data can often be received in real-time, you can respond quickly in time-sensitive situations.

While private citizens have a personal stake in knowing the whereabouts of their family members, businesses of all sizes and in all industries have a financial stake in knowing the location of their company vehicles. A GPS tracker is more than a tool for revealing behaviours. An effective one can help businesses identify areas of improvement in the delivery of their goods and services while also gathering reliable data to increase their marketing strategies.

Who Can Legally Use a GPS Tracker on a Car?

Who Uses GPS Trackers

Disclaimer:  This article is not intended to replace the legal advice of an attorney. You should seek the advice of an attorney to ensure you understand your local laws as they relate to the use of a GPS tracker on a car.

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement: Although the views and verbiage around the subject are different in every state, what is consistent across the board is that law enforcement must obtain a warrant prior to using a GPS tracker on the car of a criminal suspect. In a previous article in the BrickHouse Security Learning Library, we discussed court cases that have impacted GPS tracking legislation. This can be explored for a greater understanding of the legalities surrounding GPS tracking and law enforcement.

Private Citizens

Private Citizens: The federal laws, state regulations, and consequences vary on the use of a GPS tracker on a car by private citizens. However, we do know that in all 50 states it is illegal to use a GPS tracker on a car that you do not own. So, if you want to track the whereabouts of a person, you should consult with an attorney. The potential consequences of ending up on the wrong side of the law can result in monetary penalties and potentially a blemish on your criminal background.


Businesses: Your decision to protect your investments through GPS tracking devices is your legal right. Whether you have an entire fleet or just a few cars, you can protect your assets without fear of privacy infringement or fear of breaking the law. Nationwide, the law allows business owners to track their vehicles without the need for complicated terms and conditions. This can often become a gray area when employees feel that they are being watched, or when their movements continue to be tracked even after business hours. As with all forms of GPS tracking, it is recommended that business owners seek legal advice regarding best practices for the tracking of their employees.

GPS Tracking Data

How GPS Tracking Data May Be Used

Data has its significant value, particularly to businesses of all sizes and structures. Our GPS trackers gather data that can help you to do the following: 

  • Streamline routes and deliveries
  • Make better hiring decisions
  • Determine the need for driver training or retraining
  • Deter potential shrinkage/theft

Effective use of the data gathered through our GPS tracking devices can monitor employee movement and also help you make smart decisions that impact how you operate and market your business. The more you know, the better you can serve the needs of your valuable customers.

Choosing an Effective GPS Tracker

Now that you’re informed about the legal use of a GPS tracker on a car, our security experts are waiting to answer your lingering questions and to point you to the appropriate tracking device for your specific personal or business needs. Additionally, you can consult our Learning Library to discover more about choosing the right GPS tracker. Your options range from simple plug-and-play to the under the dash, hardwired devices.

We invite you to contact our GPS tracking experts at BrickHouse Security to learn more about the trackers we offer, receive a consultation for the best tracking options available for your needs, and get answers to all of your GPS tracking questions.

Posted by Todd Morris on Mar 7th 2024

Todd Morris

Todd Morris

Todd Morris is the Founder and CEO of BrickHouse Security, a leader in GPS tracking and security solutions since 2005. Featured on the Inc 5000 list, Todd has steered the company from its inception, applying expertise developed at Apple, Adobe, and MapQuest to deliver innovative, reliable solutions for both businesses and consumers. Recognized as an authority in the GPS tracking industry, Todd regularly contributes insights to major news programs. His practical approach includes using his sons as beta testers for products, from stroller tours to monitoring teenage driving, ensuring BrickHouse’s offerings are user-friendly and effective. This hands-on testing reflects Todd’s commitment to real-world application and safety.