The introduction of smart tachographs in new vehicles has been confirmed for June 2019.

Over six million trucks and buses across the EU are fitted with tachographs, and it is hoped that the new smart devices will reduce the administrative process and tampering of current digital tachographs.

Existing digital tachographs became compulsory in 2006 on all newly registered commercial trucks and buses across the EU to address the issue of accidents caused by lorry and coach drivers due to tiredness or speeding, as well as to guarantee fair competition between transport companies and decent working conditions for the drivers. However digital tachographs have been found to still be vulnerable to motion sensor tampering and are a non-secured independent source of information.

As a result, in March 2016 a European regulation laid down the requirements for the construction, testing, installation, operation and repair of second-generation digital tachographs, or smart tachographs, specifically calling for the introduction of security mechanisms to address security threats.

Smart tachographs include a connection to the global navigation satellite system (‘GNSS’) facility, a remote early detection communication facility, and an interface with intelligent transport systems, which will make it easier for authorities to track and identify drivers and companies that are not complying and detect fraud, misuse or device manipulation by enabling data download and remote checking.

The smart tachographs also come with new regulations that will strengthen the enforcement of key road safety rules that apply to larger commercial vehicles and buses. This data will include information about the driver’s hours, break times and whether a driver has exceeded their daily driving limits and cannot be retained for longer than three hours unless it shows a misuse of the tachograph. If issues are detected this is likely to result in a full examination of the tachograph and could lead to further action.

Members of the European Parliament see the smart tachographs as a solution to enforcing cabotage and minimum wage/posting rules, justifying the cost for operators of having to retrofit their tachographs before 2034 by saying that early roll-out of the smart tachographs will bring tangible enforcement benefits to authorities and help fight ‘unfair competition’ in the EU. However some freight associations believe that it would be very costly for the industry.

If you need advice regarding drivers’ hours or tachograph offences call our expert team now on 0800 046 3066