Digital tachograph with no stop and go

How the smart tachograph saves you time.

  • A smart tachograph has been mandatory for newly registered trucks since 15 June 2019
  • Check performed when the truck drives past thanks to wireless interface
  • The driver remains in control of their data

The smart tachograph has arrived and constitutes the latest generation of digital tachographs. Thanks to its high-tech specifications and use of satellite navigation, reading out data from the modern-day tachograph has become even easier. This is good news for fleet operators, because with the right behaviour there are fewer checks.

Since 15 June this year, the smart tachograph has been mandatory for all newly registered trucks. Inspection bodies can use it to identify faults or tampering more quickly and more reliably. The aim is to increase safety on the roads. Compliance with social standards can now also be better verified by the authorities. The data checked is vehicle and calibration data. A check is also carried out as to whether there are any malfunctions or there have been attempts at tampering. And the real highlight is that – if everything is OK – having the truck checked from the side of the road avoids time-consuming stops during the journey.

What is different about smart tachographs and how do they work?

Unlike the former digital tachograph, the smart tachograph has a special close-range wireless interface. This enables the inspection bodies to retrieve the truck’s data without physical access. This means they can check that the device is functioning and being used correctly when the vehicle “drives by”. This was previously not possible with the purely digital tachographs. The truck is now only stopped if they suspect there have been malfunctions or prohibited activity – for example, changing the driver card during the trip. And there are of course still stops to read out driving time data. The smart tachograph hinders tampering considerably, and fair competition throughout the EU is ensured.

The following is still being planned:

The functions are to be expanded gradually. By 2021 at the latest, the axle loads must also be recorded and saved. In the future, it will also be possible to transmit the position data to toll recording devices that are in use across Europe. It is still undecided as to when all old tachographs in existing vehicles will have to be replaced.

The following deadlines are being discussed:

  • Analogue tachographs and first-generation digital tachographs are to be replaced in three years at the latest
  • Second-generation digital tachographs (from 2012) in four years at the latest
  • Digital tachographs in accordance with the latest standard (from 2016) in five years

At least this is what the European Parliament is calling for. Currently, the Commission, member states and envoys from the Parliament are discussing the most sensible solution. This solution should neither overwhelm companies – especially small companies – when it comes to the necessary investment, nor hinder progress.

Remember: use the right driver card

It is recommended that you use the new driver cards with the “G2” identifier, although some older issues also still work. But the G2 type of card also allows you to record additional data that is generated by the device. And it has a larger memory chip, which enables more detailed analyses.

But caution is advised. For data protection reasons, the employer may only read out the 18 data sets stipulated in EU law without additional consent. Additional data which is also recorded by the smart tachograph may only be viewed with the explicit consent of the driver.

History in the making; progress being made

The smart tachograph heralds a new era in verifying whether trucks that are deployed within the EU comply with the regulations. Transport companies and truck drivers who comply with the legislation will now be stopped more rarely, and will therefore benefit from this innovation.

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