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Road transport: The new smart tachograph will help improve road safety and will reduce administrative burden

Brussels, 14 January 2013

Two and a half years after the Commission made its proposal to update the EU rules on digital tachographs, the final text of the new tachograph regulation has been agreed between European Parliament and Council. The vote in the Parliament's Plenary on 14 January 2014 endorsed the Council position at first reading and concluded the ordinary legislative procedure on this file.

As highlighted by Vice-President Kallas, "a good overall balance between the interests at hand has been reached, in terms of road safety, undistorted competition, working conditions for drivers and the interests of the manufacturing and haulage industries".

The new tachograph regulation will increase road safety by reducing the possibility for tampering with the tachograph. Higher standards for workshops entrusted to install and calibrate the tachograph will also help to reduce fraud and manipulation.

This will ensure better compliance with rules on driving times and rest periods. Drivers will thus be better protected, road safety increased and undistorted competition be assured.

The proposal introduces a number of technological improvements such as a satellite positioning function (GNSS) and an optional interface for Intelligent Transport Systems. Furthermore, the new tachographs will allow control authorities to access it through remote communication, for the purpose of roadside controls. This will help reducing the administrative burden created by random checks on transport undertakings and make enforcement more effective.

Certain vehicles will be excluded from the scope of the Regulation. The exemptions have been carefully balanced with the need to ensure road safety. Notably, craftsmen, for which driving is not the main activity, will not have to use a tachograph within a 100 km radius from the base of their undertaking. This as well will contribute to smarter legislation, to the benefit of SMEs.

Facts about Tachograph:

The tachograph is a device that records the driving time, breaks, rest periods as well as periods of other work undertaken by a driver. It is obligatory to install a digital tachograph in all vehicles having a mass of more than 3.5 tons (in goods transport) or carrying more than 9 persons including the driver (in passenger transport).

Since 1985, the tachograph legislation has been modified and updated to technical progress at many occasions, and most notably in 2006, when the digital tachograph was introduced, replacing the previous analogue tachograph.

Digital tachographs allow for a more secure and accurate recording and storage of data. This device records all the vehicle’s activities, for example distance, speed and driving times and rest periods of the driver. The system includes a printer for use in road side inspections and the driver has a card incorporating a microchip, which the driver must insert into the tachograph when taking control of the vehicle. This personal driver card ensures that inspections remain simple. In 2009, the digital tachograph was upgraded to increase its resistance to magnetic manipulations and in order to better account for the driving time records during multi-stop transport operations.