Germany prepares for remote control of smart tachographs

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Germany prepares for remote control of smart tachographs

In June, the EU legislation to introduce the fourth generation of tachographs into new vehicles entered into force. The new devices enable European services to carry out remote checks. The German BAG office is preparing the appropriate equipment. 

From 15 June 2019, every new vehicle providing transport services within the European Union must be equipped with a so-called smart tachograph.  This device has a built-in GPS location, which allows for the recording of the exact location of the vehicle at the start and end of the journey, as well as every 3 hours. One of the key functions of the new tachograph is the ability of the inspection services to read certain data more quickly and remotely. 

In Germany, the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) carries out such inspections on a mobile basis – from police cars – but is also preparing equipment for stationary inspections. Appropriate technology is under preparation and will be installed on toll collection columns and gantries. We are talking about DSRC readers that would retrieve data from tachographs of vehicles passing under a gantry or next to a column. This data will then be passed on to the nearby BAG inspectors and a decision will be made on whether to inspect the vehicle. 

Such a system brings benefits for both the services and the drivers. BAG will be able to operate more efficiently and truckers will avoid random checks and the resulting loss of time. 

Which data will BAG read remotely?

As BAG explained, it is not technically possible to check wirelessly the working and rest times recorded in a tachograph. According to Article 9(4) of Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on tachographs in road transport, only data necessary for targeted roadside checks of vehicles for which the tachograph has been manipulated or misused may be transmitted remotely. 

They must relate to specific recorded events or data such as:

– the last attempt at a security breach,

– the longest power outage,

– sensor malfunction,

– speed or route data error,

– data conflict associated with the movement of the vehicle,

– driving without a valid card,

– inserting a card while driving,

– time settings data,

– calibration data (including the dates of the last two calibrations),

– vehicle registration number, 

– the speed recorded by the tachograph.

Such information shall be sufficient for the services to detect a tachograph that has been manipulated. As BAG points out, remote control will not be tantamount to imposing a ticket or a fine on the driver or transport company upon detection of any irregularities. However, on the basis of the data thus obtained, the competent inspection body may direct the vehicle in question to a stationary check. Only after a thorough investigation will BAG be able to start the procedures for imposing appropriate financial penalties.

Photo: Wikimedia/Dg-505 CC A 3.0

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