Tachographs are nothing new to haulage companies. These handy little devices that fit into vehicles and record information about a driverâ€™s time, speed and distance have been mandatory in HGVs since the 1970s. However, itâ€™s been confirmed that by the time June of 2019 rolls around, smart tachographs will be required in any new commercial vehicle.
Read on to discover the differences between the new and the old tachos â€“ and learn what this means for the haulage industry.
Tachographs were created to reduce road accidents caused by tired drivers. However, over the years there have been many cases of operators tampering with them and exceeding recommended driving hours. While the introduction of digital tachographs made cheating the system more difficult, there was still a level of human administration required to ensure hours were logged and monitored effectively.
So how are smart tachographs different and what does that mean for haulage companies?
â€¢GPS â€“ Digital tachos simply log a country code (oftentimes entered by the driver), whereas the introduction of GPS to smart tachos means that a vehicleâ€™s starting and end place, current location and accumulated driving time will be automatically recorded. Operators will be able to see what their drivers are doing and where they are, all in real-time.
â€¢Data Sharing â€“ Smart tachos can share their data (including a driverâ€™s working hours) easily with fleet telematics systems. This means that there will be significantly less manual data entry. Not only that, human error and estimates are reduced, meaning information is far more accurate, everything is kept in one place and data can be viewed in real-time.
â€¢Roadside Interrogation â€“ Law enforcement officers will be able to access these new devices remotely. This means that fewer drivers will be pulled over for no reason and, in turn, save haulage companies money (each unnecessary stop costs pounds).
On the whole, most haulage companies seem to be positive about their introduction. They see the chance to improve visibility and road safety as a positive for the transport industry. Additionally, the reduction of administrative costs and possibility of manipulation or misuse of tachos is attractive to owners.
However, there may be some initial concerns, such as the worry of automatic fines from remotely accessed data. Luckily, this is something haulage companies donâ€™t need to worry about. Transmitted data is only used to decide whether or not to pull a vehicle over and administer a formal check. Information must be deleted no more than three hours after the roadside check occurs (unless, of course, prohibited activity is discovered).
As with all technological advances, there are pros and cons. However, the positives of smart tachographs seem to significantly outweigh the negatives, so much so that predictions have been made that operators will choose to install them in older vehicles (itâ€™s only required for new ones). It looks like it may be a smart idea to hop on board with smart tachos â€“ theyâ€™re the future of logistics, after all.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching <a href="https://haulageexchange.co.uk/member-support/return-loads-eliminate-dead-mileage">haulage companies</a> or self-employed drivers with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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