Smart tachographs must be fitted to all new HGVs sold in the UK from 25th June 2019. Despite the EU regulation being announced in 2014, many drivers and transport companies are unaware of this vital change in legislation.
The technology in these new digital tachographs allows enforcement agencies to read data from them remotely, meaning that there is no need for HGVs to be stopped and their journey disrupted for a routine tachograph reading. The driver is not disturbed and his time is not wasted. Likewise, enforcement agencies such as the DVSA do not waste their time and potentially miss people actually breaking the rules by just doing random spot checks.
Using a Remote Early Detection Communication Readers (REDCR), the DVSA will be able to capture information such as
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 the driver.
You might be thinking this isn't an issue for the UK with Brexit looming, but as this regulation was passed in 2014 and enacted in 2016, it is an existing part of UK law and so will be put into practice despite the post-Brexit deadline of June 2019.
A popular misconception of these new tachographs is that they will track your location all the time. Fortunately, this is not true. They will only take a reading of your location when you start, when you finish and after 3 hours of aggregated driving time (source FTA Logistics).
Existing vehicles with older tachographs may still be subject to roadside inspections, so the correct use of all tachographs will still be of paramount importance.
The future benefits to the industry as a whole should be significant over time as well. It will become more routine for tachographs to be used consistently, compliantly and correctly as the consequences for not doing so will be much more easily detected and more effectively applied. Any temptation to cut corners should eventually disappear. As a result, safety standards and compliance levels will be raised and so will the professionalism and reputation of the industry.