Smart Tachographs were introduced on 15 June and will undoubtedly aid compliance with the drivers’ hours rules. However, according to a recent FTA press release, any claims of financial benefits to businesses are misguided. The business organisation, which represents the interests of the logistics sector, refutes claims made by the European Commission when the law making the new devices mandatory was made in 2014 that it will save logistics businesses a total of EUR 500 million through increased efficiencies.

James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight Regulation commented: “Smart tachographs will aid enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules; regrettably, enforcement agencies across Europe face a constant battle against those who would try to compete unfairly by driving beyond the legal maximum hours. The next generation tachographs herald a new era in the fight against lorry drivers driving when fatigued, but while they will help with enforcement, but they will not save the industry substantial money.”

Mr Firth continued: “Fortunately for drivers, they will notice little change; the new models look identical to their predecessors and drivers do not need to replace their tachograph cards. Furthermore, the added satellite location data will help authorities to catch non-UK based operators who work illegally in the UK market. The satellite location function does not provide live tracking – a common misconception – instead, it takes a location ‘stamp’ at start and end of duty and every three hours of continuous driving.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. 

In a related story that was published last week in Commercial Motor, leading Smart Tachograph supplier Continental has advised its customers that there will be delivery delays on its DTCO 4.0 and Kitas 4.0 smart tachographs. Apparently these will “normalise after August”.

Continental said in a letter to the magazine that : “In order to ensure high quality on all aspects, especially functionality, materials and production line, we have started the production with a ramp-up phase, during which we optimise processes and parameters. Unfortunately, although having started this process in early 2019, this led us to a situation where we are not able to respond to the unforeseen high demand of orders. We are working hard to solve the issues, but unfortunately, with this situation we foresee delivery delays which we expect will normalise after August. Meanwhile the Continental team is committed to allocate available quantities having regard to all interests involved.”