Tachographs have come a long way from the traditional, analogue wax coated paper discs. Current digital tachographs consist of an electronic storage device and digital driver card, which store the relevant speed, distance driver activity. The next version of tachograph, known as the 'Smart' tachograph will add additional features for improved driver activity records.
We recently wrote about the importance of current digital tachographs being set correctly on ferries, but the new Smart tachographs will use GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) satellite positioning, short range communication technology and telematic systems for better road enforcement, smarter parking and the ability for operators to remotely access relevant data.
Current digital tachographs record a manually inputed country code. However, next generation tachographs will automatically record the precise location across three points (starting location, every three hours and end location), allowing roadside enforcement officers to easily determine if tachograph data is accurate without stopping a passing vehicle.
Fourth generation tachograph devices will also be able to share data with other on board telematics systems so that all information can be accessed from one place in real time.
Under EU legislation Annex 1C, all new trucks from June 2019 will require smart tachographs as standard. However, it is estimated that existing vehicles will have until 2024 to ensure that they have a retrofitted smart device.
There is also some suggestions that commercial vans may also have to follow tachograph and drivers' hours rules in the not so distant future. Van operators will also require additional licensing. It is likely that commercial vans under 2.4 tonnes and operating domestically will be exempt from this new ruling and it will only apply to 'hire and reward' vehicles over 2.4 tonnes.