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Digital tachograph downloads lead to confusion

  • 01 February 2007
  • By Louise Cole

New regulations governing data download from digital tachographs could leave the market awash with confusion as they look unlikely to match operator requirements governing analogue tachos.

There is currently no law governing digital downloading in its consultation document on data download and storage, the Department for Transport offers three options – all of which have drawbacks.

Option A gives no fixed timescale but requires a clear operator policy. Option B involves 14-day downloads from driver cards and 56 days from vehicle units.

However, these proposals clash with the regulations governing analogue data, which require drivers to keep charts for the current week and the previous 15 days. In April this will change to the current day plus the previous 28.

These analogue demands are out of step with the proposed 14-day digital deadline, potentially causing problems for operators and drivers who use a mixture of analogue and digital tachos. It could take five years for the market to move entirely to a digital platform.

The 14-day proposal would also be more stringent than most other EU states, the majority of which have opted for 28-day card downloads and three months (or 90 days) for vehicle units.

The DfT is recommending Option C, which allows a longer period for driver downloads but leaves the operator wholly responsible for ensuring that no data is overwritten an offence which could result in heavy fines.

Joan Williams, head of road freight and enforcement policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has yet to study the document in detail.

But she warns “Imposing too tight a legal requirement might leave operators little room for manoeuvre in the event of difficulties or delays.”

  • To take part in the consultation, visit the DfT website and search Tachographs – data downloading and record retention. The closing date is 12 April.


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