Jan 15, 2022

Tachographs Explained

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Tachographs are devices used to record and monitor driver activity and it is a legal requirement for commercial and public service vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes, or those under EU or AETR laws to have them installed.

What are Tachographs?

More specifically, tachographs record speed, distance and time and store the data to allow fleet managers to analyse it. With this information, fleet managers are able to gain insight into things such as the hours a driver has been on the road, the distance they have covered and how long each journey has taken them.

Why are Tachographs a Legal Requirement?

The government introduced the need for driver activity to be logged back in 1969 in order to comply with social and road safety standards. By installing a tachograph, fleet managers can make sure their drivers aren’t travelling over the allocated hours set by the UK government and can also ensure they are taking sufficient breaks.

This is because fatigue from overworking can result in drivers failing to notice hazards and react in time, or worse, falling asleep at the wheel. As the government's famous THINK campaign states, tiredness kills.

How Do Tachographs Work?

Prior to starting their journey, the driver slots their unique identification card into the tachograph machine. Throughout the drive, the tachograph records the data and then transfers it onto the card, which can then be used to upload the data onto a PC for the fleet manager to review.

This technology, however, is becoming more and more outdated and many fleet managers have installed GPS fleet tracking devices for more accurate and easy to access results. With Fleetsmart’s advanced vehicle tracking system, you’ll never need to manually download the .ddd-files from your driver cards again as all files are downloaded automatically.

Old tachographs are also much easier to tamper with, meaning drivers can alter the data or the way in which the tachograph records information, providing false results.

Modern GPS tracking systems are much more reliable and cannot be tampered with as professionally installed devices are entirely out of sight within the vehicle and send out the tracking data instantly.

You can also receive much more information from Fleetsmart’s vehicle tracking devices than you can from a tachograph alone, including:

These are metrics that every fleet manager should be tracking as all of this data can be used to improve your operations, efficiency, fuel costs and safety. For example, by improving the way in which your drivers behave whilst driving the vehicle can significantly reduce the fuel consumption, helping your business to be more efficient and save money. According to the Energy Saving Trust, through higher productivity and increased vehicle utilisation, operating costs can fall by 10% every year and fuel use by 15%.

If you notice your drivers behaving irresponsibly by speeding or failing to take sufficient breaks every 4.5 hours, you can take the right kind of action to ensure they are keeping themselves and others safe on the roads.

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At Fleetsmart, we can provide you with the best tracking technology on the market helping your business to save money, boost productivity, increase efficiency and improve safety levels. For more information and tips, why not check out the rest of our help and advice centre, or get in touch with our team by calling 01942 356333 to find out how we can help your fleet.