MPs debate smart digital tachographs and extension to drivers' hours exemptions

digital tachograph

Transport minister Andrew Jones has said the government is now looking at introducing “smart” digital tachographs in 2019 instead of the 2018 target date it was previously working towards.

In a Delegated Legislation Committee debate last week on the draft Passenger and Goods Vehicles (Tachographs) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, which updates the existing domestic framework on enforcing tachograph rules for both goods and passenger vehicles, Jones told MPs that while the smart digital tachographs will come in in 2019, domestic vehicles would not have to be fitted with one until 2034.

Smart digital tachographs will use GPS to record a vehicles’ location, making them more resistant to tampering and relieve the amount of data that a driver has to manually enter. The government also believes they will improve enforcement as enforcement officers will be able to access vehicle and driver data remotely.

Jones said the government will also allow the DVSA to authorise field tests of non type-approved tachographs.

The regulations will also bring UK law into line with EU regulations by extending the exemptions to drivers’ hours and driver CPC rules for those whom driving is not their main activity, as well as strengthen the standards that workshops and fitters must meet in order to install, inspect, and repair tachographs.

In the 10 Februrary debate, Labour MP Richard Burden questioned why the drivers’ hours exemption had been extended for some drivers from 50km to 100km from their base, suggesting that it could undermine road safety. He said driver fatigue was “endemic” in the road transport industry.

He said: “Drivers have long hours. There are not many other professions in which people do not know where they are going to stop for their next meal or where they will be able to go to the toilet next. They do not know whether they will be stuck in a traffic jam that means that they just cannot finish work when they need to, however tired they are. 

“The problem of fatigue affects not only the driver, but potentially other road users; it is a hazard to other road users.”

Jones said the government had a choice of either extending the exemption to 100km when the EU rules changed in 2014, or remove the exemption altogether, which would have been costly to those drivers and operators it would affect.

CV Show 2016: Novadata showcasing Driver CPC courses

Transport training company Novadata will showcase two new driver CPC courses and six new books on operator “O” License obligations at the CV 2016 Show, to be held at the NEC in April this year.

The two new driver CPC courses are Level 2 Manual Handling and Driver Well-being courses which aim to help drivers work safely and legally.

The six new books include the Licence Verification Audit Book, the Agency Driver Declaration Book and the Vehicle Inspection Maintenance Book.

“Demonstrating that an Operator has complied with the law and fulfilled its undertakings can be daunting, which is why we have produced a series of books which, when used together, make up a more comprehensive picture of effort taken to achieve compliance,” Novadata’s MD Su Winch said.

“Using a series of books that track compliance from a number of angles helps to paint a picture of diligence and effort. Part of that compliance concerns ensuring that drivers are all well trained and have completed their 35 hours of periodic Driver CPC training every five years. 

Our Driver CPC courses are carefully tailored to ensure that they provide drivers with information on best practice on the road so that they also help to support a healthy OCRS for the Operator.”