DVSA: new tachograph smart check tech “too costly”

Published: 25 September 2019

DVSA: new tachograph smart check tech “too costly”
The DVSA was set to begin frequent Tachograph checks in an effort to prevent drivers from exceeding their authorised hours. These plans could be delayed by years, considering it would also need additional investment in the technology that monitors the tachographs – as well as the time to monitor those drivers. When requested, the DVSA declined to invest in the updates to tech that read smart tachograph data.

As of 15 of June, under EU law, all operators were required to have their vehicles fitted with up-to-date smart tachographs which thoroughly monitor their progress out on the job.

Smart tachographs have more advanced features, with the ability to send data to roadside enforcement – enabling officers to remotely see the tachograph info without bringing the drivers to a halt on their journey.
This would mean roadside checks would be cut by many hours, allowing for more regular checks. In 2018, the DVSA performed 89,568 drivers’ hours checks, with a total of 4,759 prohibitions. The DVSA has declined to invest and begin developing the technology to remotely monitor tachograph data, saying at this moment in time acquiring those results does not justify the expense at present.

Legally, they do not need to develop this technology until 2034. Speaking on the matter was DVSA’s head of enforcement policy, Gordon MacDonald who said: “Our enforcement staff already have a number of tools to very effectively target tachograph manipulation and drivers’ hours offences.

“These tools mean it’s not currently effective or proportionate to invest large sums in developing the technology needed to communicate with smart tachographs from the roadside for enforcement purposes.
He continued: “the technology will remain under consideration as smart tachographs enter more common usage".

The RHA’s head of licensing and infrastructure policy gave his thoughts on the decision, calling it: “extremely disappointing.”

He elaborated: “Our members have invested in this technology to become compliant with these new regulations, so why is DVSA not prepared to show the same commitment?”

Speaking on some technical issues the DVSA has been facing over the last few years, including IT issues that meant many drivers were unable to update CPC records, he added: “Clearly DVSA needs to invest much more in their technology rather than rely on outdated systems.”

James Firth, head of licensing and compliance at the FTA also responded: “The regulations allow enforcement agencies another 15 years to install this technology, so no one is in a hurry to do that. However, the technology is not entirely wasted as smart tachographs are more secure and its global positioning data and third speed trace will help officers better detect cabotage and driver hours infringements.”
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