How tachographs save lives

Strictly recording and monitoring goods vehicle drivers’ behaviour on Britain’s roads is essential, if lorry drivers and other motorists are to be kept safe. By behaviour, we mean how fast they drive, how far, how long they travel for before taking a rest, and other such activity. One way to keep tabs on all this is by using tachograph machines, or ‘tachos’ as they’re more commonly called. The good news for haulage companies is that most lorries come with a digital tacho machine already fitted in the cab.

There’s no escaping a tacho
To stay safe on the roads, drivers must take regular breaks. Fact. Hitting the road feeling well rested is a good feeling, actually, isn’t it? Resting isn’t something that’s optional, or solely at the discretion of the driver. It’s the law. With mobile phones being ubiquitous these days, and with so many drivers texting whilst driving, or even watching videos and other online material on their phones when behind the wheel, it’s hardly surprising that stories of catastrophic accidents are a regular occurrence in the news. Like drinking and driving, mobile phone usage on the roads is of course unforgivable, but so is driving when you’re tired, when you know that you should really take a break

What the law actually says:

  • All commercial vehicles first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with digital tachographs; otherwise, you can use an analogue tachograph.
  • You must use a tachograph if the vehicle you’re driving comes under EU or AETR rules.
  • You don’t have to use a tachograph if your vehicle isn’t covered by EU rules or if it’s exempt from EU rules on drivers’ hours.

Tachos are not usually an extra cost for haulage firms
Tachos are the solution to ensuring that drivers get all the essential rest they need. To recap, they can be used to accurately record and monitor:

  • Speed
  • Distances traveled
  • The number of rest breaks taken
  • The length of the rest periods
  • Other activity

As we’ve seen, what’s great for haulage companies is that most vehicles come with a digital tacho machine built in. Drivers simply need to keep their driver slot cards handy (cards upon which their driving activity is recorded, aka Smart Cards), and to remember to use them each time they go on shift. If a card gets lost all data is usually retained in the machine’s memory, as a handy back up. Drivers can keep a written record until their Smart Card is recovered or replaced.

Stay safe out there.