From 15 June this year, smart tachographs must be fitted to all new Large Goods Vehicles sold in the UK.
Yet despite this being enshrined in UK law for over four years, the industry still seems largely unaware that this change is coming, according to transport training and compliance expert, Novadata. And while it may seem like a major change in industry best practice, the company believes it will ultimately have positive outcomes for the industry and general public.
Writing in Commercial Motor, the FTA’s Head of Road Freight Regulation Policy, James Firth, noted that “the most important new feature is the introduction of satellite positioning data. The new devices will take a GPS reading at the start and end of duty and every three hours of accumulated driving. This will expand the enforcement role of tachographs to establishment rules, such as cabotage, in addition monitoring compliance with the drivers’ hours rules.”
He added: “The DVLA has confirmed all new driver and company cards issued from early 2019 will be fully compatible and able to hold the new fields of data collected by the devices. These cards will still work with the older tachographs; current cards will also be compatible with the smart tachographs.”
Enforcement vehicles will be fitted with a Remote Early Detection Communication Reader which will be able to read data remotely from a passing digital tachograph. It will no longer be necessary for LGVs to be stopped for basic tachograph data to be read.
Using a REDCR, enforcement authorities such as the police and DVSA will be able to capture information such as security breaches, the absence of a valid card and the speed recorded by the tachograph while the LGV is still in motion. They will be able to detect and time adjustment data, the most recent calibration date and a host of other details. The smart tachograph itself will be able to tell if the driver card inserted is the most recent card issued to that driver.
Because the EU regulation (165/2014) was passed in 2014 and enacted in 2016, it is an existing part of UK law and, as such, will be put into practice regardless of what happens with Brexit.
“It will be more important than ever that transport operators ensure their drivers are properly trained to operate tachographs compliantly, and that there are robust policies and processes in place to manage and record tachograph data,” Novadata Chairman Derek Broomfield said. “We also recommend that holders of a Management CPC qualification undertake some refresher training, and Restricted Operator Licence holders attend an Operator Licence Awareness Course before this legislation comes into force.
The future benefits to the industry should be significant over time as well, Novadata believes. It will become more routine for tachographs to be used consistently, compliantly and correctly as the consequences for not doing so will become more immediate and more strictly imposed.