FAQ on the proposal to modify Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 on tachographs


What is a digital tachograph? Professional drivers and vehicles involved in carrying goods or passengers must respect maximum driving time and minimum rest periods to reduce accumulated fatigue and accidents and to ensure fair competition. These rules are harmonised at European Union level by Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. The tachograph is an instrument that makes such controls possible. The digital tachograph became compulsory in all professional vehicles in 2006, which reduced fraud and improved reliability. It was also easier for undertakings than the previous analogue tachograph, which used paper charts (record sheets).


What will change?


For drivers, the new digital tachograph will be more user friendly, allowing for the reduction of manual entries, thanks to the integrated satellite positioning system. Another simplification for drivers but also for control officers is integrating driving cards into driving licenses.


Transport undertakings will also benefit from the new equipment, which will allow them to better manage their fleet (thanks to the new ITS standard interface). Given that the new device will reduce the number of manipulations, a much fairer competition will be ensured. The proposal provides for roadside checks targeted by remote control, which will lead to fewer frequent stops. Thus transport undertakings will be even more encouraged to comply with rules on driving time and rest periods.


The proposal will also facilitate the work of control officers, as they will have the possibility of filtering “suspect” drivers. The new device will also provide them with more precise location data and more reliable and trustworthy information.


How will the new satellite positioning functionality of the tachograph be used?


The location of the end and start of the driver’s working day will be automatically recorded instead of having to be manually entered in the tachograph by the driver as it is the case today. However the location of the detailed route of the vehicle will not be recorded. This technologically neutral functionality of the digital tachograph will therefore be in full compliance with data protection legislation. Only information necessary for enforcing driving time rules will be used.


New rules on workshops


The workshops install and calibrate the tachograph and therefore have a special responsibility as regards the enforcement of rules on tachograph. The purpose of the regulation is to increase the trustworthiness of workshops and to reduce the risk of manipulation and fraud by strengthening the legal framework for the approval of workshops, with a system of regular and unannounced audits and prevention of conflicts of interest.


Will the new tachograph mean extra cost for road hauliers and bus operators?


No. On the contrary, it will allow them to save more than half a billion euro per year in Europe, for example by reducing the number of manual recordings to be performed by drivers, by avoiding unnecessary roadside checks or by issuing a single document replacing the current driver card and driving license.


What is the link with the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens, chaired by Mr Edmund Stoiber?


The High Level Group proposed to widen the existing exemptions from the obligation to install and use a tachograph for certain craftsmen. The impact assessment carried by the Commission concluded that these exemptions could be streamlined by using uniformly a radius of 100 km instead of the current 50 km. The reduction of the administrative burden is estimated to be €53 million.


When will the changes be introduced in the field?


The Commission expects that the European Parliament and Council adopt the proposed regulation by 2012, in order for the technical specifications to be developed in 2013 and 2014. The actual industrialisation of the new tachograph could take place in 2015 and 2016, so that the product is put on the market in December 2017.

Source – European Commission.


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