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Digital tachos - on all new vehicles by May? October 20, 2005
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FTA Press Release

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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 tachographs.’

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.


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