Smart Tachographs

1st September 2019

Smart Tachographs

From the 15th June 2019 any newly registered trucks will be legally required to be fitted with the latest generation smart tachograph system. This is the most significant change to tachographs since the introduction of digital tachographs back in 2006.

What is a smart tachograph?

  • Smart tachographs are the new generation of on-board mandatory digital recorders to enforce the EU legislation on professional drivers driving and resting times (social regulation)
  • The new features make full use of advanced digital technologies such as satellite positioning (GNSS), short range communication for road enforcers (DSRC) and interconnection with other telematics applications (such as smart parking or pay as you drive apps), through a harmonised Intelligent Transport System interface
  • It will allow automatic recording of start and final location of journeys and will also enable remote access to some tachograph data via wireless data transmission to control authorities

The smart tachograph systems include all new hardware fitted to the vehicle which include:

  • New tacho head with in built GNSS satellite positioning
  • New higher security KITAS speed sensor in the gearbox
  • DSRC transmitter mounted in the windscreen area

This means that any vehicles that were built with standard digital tachographs and are due to be registered after the 15th June 2019 due to length of time spent in body build etc will require the retrofit of the complete system to enable to vehicle to be registered.

There will be training requirements for anyone who interacts with these new tachographs including workshop technicians who will need training for the initial calibration of the systems, drivers will need training to ensure they are kept updated on the correct operation of the tachograph and any download tools that operators have currently should be checked to ensure they are also compatible with the latest tachograph systems.

The two main tachograph head units that will be fitted are shown below; full details can be found at Continental VDO and Stoneridge Electronics.

Smart Tachograph Examples

Because of the internal GNSS antenna, the tachograph head position is now more sensitive than previously and care must be taken that no other electrical items are positioned near to it which may cause interference as any loss to the GNSS signal for over 3 hours will trigger a fault code/warning.

The dedicated short range communication (DSRC) will mean that in the UK the DVSA roadside examiners will have the ability if they are equipped with the relevant technology themselves to pick up the following faults wirelessly as the vehicle drives past:

  • The latest security breach attempt
  • The longest power supply interruption
  • Sensor fault
  • Motion-data error
  • Vehicle motion conflict
  • Driving without a valid card
  • Card insertion whilst driving
  • Time adjustment data
  • Calibration data, including the dates of the two latest calibrations
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Speed recorded by the tachograph

Driving and rest time information is not transmitted. No enforcement from the authorities will be possible based on the wireless data alone and a roadside stop would still need to be completed as happens now. If no enforcement action is necessary then any data collected via the DSRC needs to be deleted within 3 hours of collection.

The DVSA currently states that it has no plans to equip their roadside officers with the equipment to read DSRC but EU legislation currently says they must have this by 2034 at the latest. It is expected that the DVSA will adopt the technology well in advance of this date however. You can read further information at Commercial Motor Magazine or at the website of the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

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