EU plans changes to tachograph legislation

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The European Commission has proposed revisions to  the tachograph legislation to make use of new technological opportunities such as satellite positioning. It says that this will make fraud more difficult and reduce the administrative burden, which is expected to save companies 515m euros a year.

The proposal include:

* Location recording by satellite positioning system will allow replacing manual recording by automated ones. It will save €349 million per year for road transport undertakings and their drivers. It allows for better monitoring and provides important information for organising the logistics chain.

* Remote communication that increases efficiency of roadside checks that can be targeted on those vehicles which are more likely to be in breach of the legislation. As complying drivers will be stopped less frequently, a reduction of administrative burden by €34.5 million per year can be achieved.

* Specific interface to allow for an integration into intelligent transport systems, while respecting the applicable legislation on data protection.

* Higher standards for workshops entrusted to install and calibrate the tachograph will reduce fraud and manipulation.

* Merging the driving licence with the driver card to be used with the digital tachograph. This will reduce the administrative burden on drivers by €100 million per year. It will also reduce fraudulent use of driver cards, which today are too easily handed over to other drivers.

* Continuous update of the tachograph specifications in order to ensure that a high level of security is maintained and that opportunities for fraud and manipulation are reduced.

Vice-president Siim Kallas said: “The digital tachograph is an excellent control tool to ensure that these objectives are achieved. This proposal is not only very important to maintain the reliability of the digital tachograph but it also constitutes a significant step towards introducing an intelligent, integrated on-board unit on trucks that will contribute to improving the efficiency of the EU transport system.”

The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the proposals saying they would cut down on unintended driver hours errors and the use of new technology would reduce tachograph fraud among rogue operators.

Chris Yarsley, manager of road freight, enforcement and EU affairs, said: “These new proposals introduce some genuinely helpful technological improvements which will improve the way tachographs are used by commercial vehicle operators. The proposed technology will improve targeted enforcement of rogue operators and make it more difficult for tachograph tampering to take place. This is great news for the vast majority of UK operators which operate to the highest levels of legal compliance and safety and it will reduce the need for manual recordings and unnecessary roadside checks for compliant drivers.

“However, FTA does have questions over the Commission’s claim of 500m euros annually in savings and will be demanding answers as to their calculations.”

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