Smart tachographs are on the way

'Smart tachographs’ will start to be seen in vehicles within the next six months and will be a mandatory fitment in new vehicles from 15 June 2019. But what are ‘smart tachographs’ and how will they affect the operator, driver and workshop? 

What makes them ‘smart’?

The term ‘smart’ is simply a term that is used throughout the industry. The manufacturers are using the term ‘fourth generation’ and the EU legislation (EU 165/2014) refers to ‘second-generation’ units. 

What are the changes?

Let’s look at what the major changes are between the older tachographs and this newer version. 

i) GPS Tracking

The new tachograph will be fitted with GPS tracking to record the vehicle's position automatically during operation. Drivers will not be required to record their start and end locations as the system will do this automatically. The GPS system will also record the vehicle's position during the journey by recording the position at an interval of every three hours of accumulated driving time.

ii) More ‘Big Brother’

The second feature assists enforcement agencies to filter possible vehicles for road-side checks. This is achieved by the unit being able to transmit a limited amount of tachograph data to a remote hand-aimed or vehicle mounted device. The data that is likely to be transmitted includes the following:

• Vehicle registration number

• Whether a valid driver card is being used

• Whether a second driver card is being used

• Current activity

• Time the last session was closed

• Any time adjustment being made

• Any information relating to any security breaches

• Date of previous calibration

• Current speed

• A time stamp when the data was transmitted

Also transmitted would be any instances of the following that may have occurred in the previous ten days:

• Speeding event

• Driving without valid card

• Card insertion whilst driving

• Motion data error

• Vehicle motion conflict

• Power supply interruption

• Sensor fault

The data transmitted will not allow for a full analysis of the vehicle activities but will provide enough for enforcement to determine whether a full road-side inspection is required.

iii) Telematics

Third, there is an interface to link to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) or telematics. This will allow data to be transferred from the tachograph to the telematics that will in turn provide better fleet and driver management. There are in excess of 70 types of information that could be transferred to the ITS. As most of this would be classed as personal, this feature may raise an issue in relation to data protection. The GDPR prevents any transfer of data that is classed as personal without the owner's, or in this case the driver's consent. With the potential to report all the vehicle's activities including stopping points and route information; data security is a concern. Companies will need to observe the requirements for data security and implement the necessary measures.

What other effects will they have?

Both company and driver cards should be compatible with the new tachograph and valid until the next scheduled renewal. However, the workshop card specification has been changed and as such tachograph workshops will need to obtain the latest generation of workshop cards to be able to work on the new tachographs. These will be in addition to the current workshop cards used for the present versions of digital tachograph in circulation. If your operation gets a vehicle with the latest generation of digital tachograph fitted, make sure the tachograph workshop you use has the latest workshop card in their possession.

CE Transport Law | Specialists in UK road transport law 
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