Smart Tachographs – what you need to know

The transport industry has been aware since 2016 that Smart Tachographs (i.e. the new generation of on-board mandatory digital recorders to enforce the EU legislation on professional drivers driving and resting times) will be introduced in June 2019. The deadline day of 15 June 2019 is now looming and whilst it might not be the EU deadline that UK hauliers have been focused on this year, there are important changes that operators, transport managers and drivers should be aware of to ensure ongoing compliance.

So what is new?

The obligation to comply with Drivers’ Hours legislation and the Working Time Directive, as well as downloading, storing and analysing digital tachograph data will remain unchanged. There will, however, be additional data that is required to be captured and Smart Tachographs will contain:

  • An ITS interface (Intelligent Transport Systems) – this allows sharing vehicle data or other data with other systems.
  • A GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) – this module automatically records the vehicle location at the start and the end of the journey, as well as at every three hour interval, and also records additional speed data.
  • A DSRC interface (Dedicated Short Range Communication) – this module makes it possible for the Smart Tachographs to remotely communicate with road side inspection officers and to avoid unnecessary roadside inspections where no issues are identified.

How will enforcement work?

Enforcement vehicles will be fitted with a Remote Early Detection Communication Reader (“REDCR”) which will be able to read data remotely from a passing digital tachograph using the DSRC interface.

The REDCR will allow enforcement authorities such as the police and DVSA to capture information such as security breaches, the absence of a valid card and the speed recorded by the tachograph, as well as many other things. The smart tachograph itself will be able to tell if the driver card inserted is the most recent card issued to that driver but no personal driver information can be obtained. It should be borne in mind that the EU Regulation does not require enforcement agencies to have the equipment required to read the signal until 2034, so we will have to wait and see how quickly the DVSA can ready themselves for these changes. However, this system should in theory reduce wasted time as the data can be reviewed whilst the vehicle is in motion and will avoid unnecessary inspections.

Importantly, the REDCR system cannot be used for issuing automated fines and data must be deleted by the relevant agency within three hours of its capture if no issues are detected.

What can you do to prepare?

  • Review your policies and driver handbook (if applicable) to ensure your processes and policies are sufficiently clear and robust regarding the recording, downloading and analysis of your data.
  • Ensure all relevant people within your business are aware of the changes and notify them of any policy changes (e.g. driver toolbox talks, etc).
  • Ensure your download software tool or your tachograph analysis provider can receive the new data set and comply with the new regulations (tip: file any correspondence with your providers in your compliance folder).
  • Ensure your staff are sufficiently trained – provide or undertake any refresher training necessary.

For further advice or assistance, please contact Nathan Taylor-Allkins in our Road Transport team on transport@woodfines.co.uk