Problems with smart tachographs. Replacement can cost millions of euros, and Brussels is already planning the next generation.

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Problems with smart tachographs. Replacement can cost millions of euros, and Brussels is already planning the next generation.

Six months after the introduction of the first generation of smart tachographs, Brussels politicians are announcing the next one. There will be many changes (e.g. limiting the number of cards for tachographs), yet the smart tacho currently in use can cause considerable problems for operators.

Smart tachographs were introduced on 15 June 2019 and became mandatory for all new vehicles. They allow more efficient monitoring of transport and working time of drivers and easier detection of manipulations and other violations. This is because, among other things, they record the start and end of the journey and the exact position of the vehicle every three hours.

But it turns out that smart tachographs from one of the three manufacturers of equipment are not working as they should. We are talking about error 035, which is an unexpected and unreasonable sensor fault. During the inspection, it may give rise to the suspicion that the operation of the tachograph is being tampered with. The vehicle must then be sent to a specialist workshop for examination to verify suspicions. 

In the case of an in-depth inspection, the carrier faces a delay in the execution of the order,” explains Mateusz Włoch, Inelo’s expert. Such a delay may have financial consequences. 

This problematic combination of tachographs and sensors was installed, among others, by Scania, which estimated the cost of replacing the equipment at over €14 million.

Mateusz Włoch underlines that the error occurs only in certain vehicles when the smart tachograph of one manufacturer is combined with a motion sensor supplied by another manufacturer. The expert reassures the carriers that both companies are working to eliminate the error and the inspectors are aware of the problem. 

A new generation of smart tachographs

During the fourth Tachograph Forum in Brussels, held on 29 November, discussions on the future of tachographs in the European Union took place. It is already clear that, regardless of the final shape and date of entry into force of the Mobility Package, the introduction of the second generation of smart tachographs is sealed.

In new trucks, they are likely to appear as early as 2023 and in other trucks, the smart tacho 2.0 would be mandatory from 2026. These devices will record, among other things, how many times a truck driver has crossed the border and in which countries. In addition, they will record the loading and unloading points of the vehicle. All this is intended to enable more effective controls of cabotage and to allow verification of the correctness of the minimum wage calculation. 

Additionally, the number of days registered on the driver card will increase from 28 to 56 days, according to

If the Mobility Package were adopted as it stands, a new generation of tachographs would also become mandatory in 2.5 to 3.5 t vans used for international freight transport. 

Limit of tachograph cards

The Forum also discussed the issue of tachograph cards belonging to companies. There are companies in Europe that have up to 400 tachograph cards due to an extensive fleet in many locations. With the introduction of a new generation of tachographs, operators will face a reduction in the number of tachograph cards. 

According to the new proposals, the number of active cards in transport companies with the introduction of smart tacho will be limited to 62,” explains Piotr Żółty from Inelo. 

Photo: Trans.INFO

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