The new requirement, which came into force on 15 June, is designed to help enforcement authorities reduce the incidence of fatigue and speeding, the most common causes of accidents. The digital tool will enable enforcement bodies to identify potential offenders and detect fraud without stopping vehicles.
The system includes a printer for use in road side inspections and the driver has a card incorporating a microchip, which they must insert into the tachograph when they take control of the vehicle. The card is designed to ensure that inspections are simple.
The vehicle’s position can be tracked via satellite and the tachograph’s Bluetooth connection means data can be sent to mobile phones or tablets.
In a move to reduce the incidence of fatigue and speeding among professional drivers but also to guarantee fair competition between transport companies and decent working conditions for the drivers, digital tachographs became mandatory in 2006 on all newly registered commercial vehicles across the EU.
Before 2006, data was stored on analogue tachographs, but the digital replacement provides more secure and accurate recording and storage of data.
Regulation (EU) No 165/2014, which updates regulation (EEC) No 3821/85, introduces the smart tachograph and requires that all vehicles registered for the first time as from 15 June must have the following new and advanced features:
- better security mechanisms to make fraud more difficult and reduce the administrative burden, which is expected to save companies €515m (£460m) per year
- an interface with the satellite navigation systems, especially Galileo and EGNOS
- a remote communication facility to communicate the tachograph data to a police enforcer on the roadside when the vehicle is moving, thereby avoiding unnecessary stops for checking
- an intelligent transportation system (ITS) interface to link the tachograph with other ITS applications.