What you need to know about Smart tachographs

A new EU law introducing a smart tachograph took effect in June 2019. What does it mean for your business?

Smart tachograph is here. A new EU law requires all goods and passenger vehicles registered on or after June 15, 2019 to be fitted with a new generation of tachograph, the mandatory on-board digital recorders that measure the driving and resting times of goods and passenger vehicle drivers. Those who don’t comply risk heavy financial penalties.

The introduction of the new smart tachograph is designed to make enforcement of the law easier. The aim remains safer driving conditions and fairer competition across Europe among haulage, bus and coach companies.

The new tachograph is called ‘smart’ because manipulating the system is more difficult, there is much more data to process, and there is a series of new features. These include an Intelligent Transport Systems interface that allows sharing vehicle data or other data with other systems, and an enhanced geo-location software in the form of a Global Navigation Satellite System.

Smart tachograph will also allow automatic recording of the start (switching on) and end (switching off) locations of the driver’s journey, as well as every third hour in between. It will enable remote access to some tachograph data via wireless data transmission to control authorities.

Every truck and bus going out on sale to the EU market from now on is legally bound to have a smart tachograph. Without it you’re not able to register your vehicle.

Are there any trucks that do not need to be fitted with a smart tachograph? The legislation only affects the EU and post-15 June trucks from outside the EU but which drive EU roads. The systems in the rest of the world remain unchanged.

EU market-vehicles that were registered before 15 June 2019 do not have to be fitted with smart tachograph and can continue using the previous-generation digital tachograph, even after they are serviced.

But if you bought a new vehicle before 15 June 2019 and haven’t yet registered it, you’ll have to take it to the workshop to be fitted with a smart tachograph.

Can you retrofit a smart tachograph? In some cases, it is possible to retrofit a smart tachograph some recently new (3-4 year-old) trucks. This will not be a big issue in Ireland but some big fleets may well want smart tachographs retrofitted because there is so much more information monitoring through this system.

Is the driver card compatible with smart tachograph? The new version of the driver card works with smart tachograph and with the previous generation digital tachograph, and the older generation driver card is also compatible with smart tachograph.