Digital tachos - on all new
vehicles by May?
October 20, 2005
The Freight Transport Association warns lorry operators that the legislative
process governing the introduction of digital tachographs continues to
remain unclear and that orders for new vehicles must clearly specify
requirements for either an analogue or a digital tachograph. There
are already signs
that some manufacturers only appear willing to supply new vehicles fitted
with digital tachographs.
The tangled EU legislative process means that the consultation procedure
regarding amended drivers’ hours rules ends on 6 December and that,
as such, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are likely
to ratify decisions in January. Translation and publication is likely
to be around late April/early May, making it extremely likely that the
mandatory date for digital tachographs to be fitted to all new vehicles
will be 20 days thereafter – around the middle to end of May.
FTA says that operators need to start planning now and get systems in
place to download and store data. They must make sure they know what
type of tachograph will be installed in vehicles that are already on
order and also be aware that newly registered hired vehicles may be fitted
with digital equipment.
FTA Head of Road Freight Policy, Joan Williams, says, ‘The message
is that depending on the manufacturer, digital tachographs could start
to appear soon, therefore make sure you know what is being installed
in vehicles on order. Always stipulate what type of tachograph equipment
you require in hire vehicles. It will take time to acquire and install
software systems and train staff how to use them. This is quite apart
from the major issue of driver training. It would be wise for operators
to start planning – the only alternative is to delay ordering new
vehicles for delivery after April until you can support use of digital
Some vehicle manufacturers are believed to be encouraging customers
to order digital equipment and FTA has published details of current plans
as declared by each company.
Joan Williams says, ‘In reality, vehicle manufacturers’ supply
policy will dictate the pace of introduction of the new units. But lorry
operators should tailor their purchasing plans in order to meet the needs
of their own digital tachograph introduction schedule and should not
be moving to the new units until their systems and training have progressed
sufficiently to meet their needs.’
FTA has made it clear to UK ministers that the road transport industry
needs sufficient time to prepare, and believes that the European Commission’s
threat that member states must enforce the new tachograph rules from
1 January 2006 can be discounted, at least for UK operations.