Phillips & Ingrum

GPS tracking of cars

By Jay Ingrum

Phillips-Ingrum-Headshots-5_finalIf you are about to get a divorce or if you don’t trust your significant other, and you want to try your hand a playing detective by placing a GPS tracking device on a car, then you might want to read this blog post first. If you don’t, then you might find yourself in a bit of trouble.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-606 Electronic tracking of motor vehicles became effective July 1, 2014. This statute makes it “an offense for a person to knowingly install, conceal, or otherwise place an electronic tracking device in or on a motor vehicle without the consent of all the owners of the vehicle for the purpose of monitoring or following an occupant or occupants of the vehicle.” A violation of this statute is a Class A misdemeanor which carries up to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail.

This law only requires the consent of the owners of the vehicle. Therefore, it may be possible for an owner to track the movements of a person who does not own the vehicle. Also, this statute does not apply to parents who want to track their children’s cars or to law enforcement that place a tracking device on a car, so long as law enforcement follows all state and federal statutes.

A car owner may place a tracking device on their own car for the purpose of tracking it if it is stolen. Further, this statute does not apply to a tracking system such as On Star that is installed by the manufacturer of the car.

So, you may really want to know where your spouse or significant other is going, but remember this statute.  As they say, “curiosity killed the cat.” Don’t let yourself end up arrested for the illegal GPS tracking of cars.