The tachograph is an essential tool for hauliers. It records the data relating to the speed and distance of a journey, and its use has been mandatory in heavy goods vehicles since 1986.
There are two types of traditional tachographs: analogue and digital. Use of the latter has been mandatory since 2006 in all newly registered vehicles. However, the new Mobility Package approved by the European Union has established a transition period to gradually replace both the current analogue and digital tachographs with the second-generation smart tachograph, a further development to improve the work of hauliers.
Vehicles used for international transportation must implement smart tachographs before July 2026. After the entry into force of EU regulation 2021/1228 (as of 21st August 2023), all newly registered vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with the second-generation smart tachographs. They must also be updated in all vehicles, whether light or heavy, that will be used in international transportation from 2026 onwards.
The second-generation smart tachograph will record the location where a trip begins, border crossings, loading and unloading tasks, monitoring accumulated driving every three hours, and the location where a trip ends. In this way, the tachograph will transform data into reliable, secure, and uniquely attributable data, facilitating the creation of ‘microservices’ that will optimise the work of fleet operators and many of their service providers.
One of the main objectives of the EU Mobility Package is to guarantee fair competition in the European market. The smart tachograph will play a fundamental role in this objective, as it will provide satellite locations and integrated maps to record border crossings. Authorities will be able to monitor the applicable regulations more effectively, as they will be able to see how many trips a vehicle or a driver has made, when the trips were made, and to where.
The dates established for the introduction of smart tachographs are as follows:
- From August 2023: All newly registered vehicles with a maximum laden weight of 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with the second-generation smart tachographs.
- By the end of 2024: Analogue or digital tachographs must be replaced in all vehicles with a maximum laden weight greater than 3.5 tonnes, if used in international transport. First-generation smart tachographs are excluded.
- By September 2025: Vehicles with a maximum laden weight of 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with a second-generation smart tachograph. *Only applicable to vehicles used for international transport.
- By July 2026: Vans with a maximum authorised weight between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with a second-generation smart tachograph. *Only applicable to vehicles used for international transport.
The tachograph has traditionally been used to control driving and rest times, however the second-generation smart tachograph will also be used to control new activities: domestic transport, loading and unloading, and commuting of workers. It will also incorporate the new GNSS positioning module, which has a security function (OSNMA) that allows the detection of any attempt to manipulate the satellite signal. Finally, this tachograph will include a new DSRC (Dedicated short-range communications) module that will allow more information to be included, and road control to be improved.
Technology companies have a limited time to develop and test the device, as from 21st August 2023, all new vehicles over 3.5 tons registered in the European Union must have it installed.
The second-generation smart tachograph is a tool for improving the working conditions of hauliers, as well as an element to equalise the conditions of competition between countries.