Smart tachograph provisions come into force
Published: 21 Jun 2019

As of 15 June, the operators of all heavy vehicles registered in the European Union for the first time will have to install a smart digital tachograph to track and record the driving and resting time of drivers.

The new requirement should help enforcement authorities reduce cases of fatigue and speeding, which are the most common causes of accidents. The digital device will identify potential offenders and any fraud without the need for the vehicles to be stopped.

The system includes a printer for use in road side inspections and the driver has a card with a microchip, which they must then insert into the tachograph when they take control of the vehicle. The card is designed to make sure that any inspections are simple and straightforward. The vehicle’s position can be tracked from a satellite and the tachograph’s Bluetooth connection means data can be sent to mobile phones or tablets.

The move to reduce fatigue and speeding amongst professional drivers was made in 2006, when digital tachographs became mandatory on all newly registered commercial vehicles across the EU. It aimed to strike a balance while guaranteeing fair competition between transport companies and good working conditions for the drivers.

Before things went digital, data was stored on analogue tachographs - a far less secure and less accurate recording.

The provisions for smart tachographs were introduced in Regulation (EU) 165/2014, with the technical details established by Regulation (EU) 799/2016.

For more information, see:

  • Regulation (EU) 165/2014 on tachographs in road transport;
  • Regulation (EU) 799/2016 implementing Regulation (EU) 165/2014 laying down the requirements for the construction, testing, installation, operation and repair of tachographs and their components.