Making time for drivers

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From May this year, all UK lorry drivers will be obliged to work on Universal Time Co-ordinated (UTC) when the new EU digital tachograph regulations come into force.

The FTA says: “When UK drivers sign on for work at 7 o’clock they will have to enter 6 o’clock and compute records of rest periods and daily breaks on a different time than the one stated by Big Ben or their wristwatch.”

UTC is the standard time used worldwide by the air and shipping industries. It has been adopted by the EU as the appropriate set reference time for the collection and computation of lorry drivers’ hours records. Every new lorry above 3.5 tonnes put into operation in the EU after 1 May will be fitted with the unit and any driver of that vehicle will therefore be obliged to work on UTC.

FTA general manager – development, Robin Sharp, says: “I have absolutely no doubt that we are going to see enormous confusion by lorry drivers across Europe as to what the devil the time is!

“Drivers have to remember to enter a time, different from local time. However we will have an advantage over our European colleagues as we will be working on the right time for at least half of the year – they will be at least one or maybe two hours different all the time. And of course, to add to the confusion, many of our drivers will be working in fleets which contain some digital tachos and some of the older analogue units. Analogue units are run on local time – whatever that local time may be! When it comes to mixing the two records together, there are bound to be muddles.”

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