Smart Tachographs for heavy vehicles: from history to the latest regulations
Smart Tachographs for heavy vehicles: from history to the latest regulations
7 July 2023 - by: Dorina Lisnic

Smart Tachographs for heavy vehicles: from history to the latest regulations

The tachograph is a mandatory device for heavy vehicles as it plays a fundamental role in accurately recording various aspects of the vehicle and driver's work. However, in 2023, new regulations were introduced to enhance road safety and promote fair competition in the transport sector. These regulations aim to ensure even more effective use of the tachograph by improving driving activity recording and introducing new measures. Let's discover them together!

Smart tachograph for heavy vehicles

New regulations for increased safety and fair competition
Starting from August 21, 2023, the installation of the second generation of the smart tachograph will become mandatory for all newly registered vehicles. Currently, a transitional version will be used, which will be subsequently updated to integrate additional functions related to the Galileo Satellite System. In addition to verifying driving times, this new tachograph also allows for recording border crossings and the vehicle's position during loading/unloading operations. With these new features, the tachograph facilitates the work of drivers, operators, and law enforcement, providing comprehensive and integrated support for more efficient management of transport activities.

What is a tachograph and what is it used for?
A tachograph is a mandatory device on board trucks, lorries, and buses, or transport vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes when fully loaded. This tool is essential for the accurate recording of various aspects, such as driving times, driver rest periods, geolocation, and availability communication. Thanks to all these services, the tachograph plays a crucial role in promoting road safety by preventing driver fatigue, ensuring fair competition, and facilitating trip planning.

Evolution of the Tachograph
Over the years, this instrument has undergone several evolutions. The first was the analogical tachograph, also known as a chronotachograph, used to record only a few pieces of information, such as distance travelled, instant speed, and the opening and closing of the housing containing the recording sheet. In the analogical version, the signal was decoded and converted to store the data, requiring the daily replacement of the recording disc and the preservation of the discs related to the last 28 working days.
The digital tachograph was first introduced in 2006 through Regulation (EC) No. 2135/98. They represent a significant advancement in information recording, allowing for a wide range of new data types to be captured, in addition to those mentioned above, such as driver activity, driving conditions, departure and arrival locations, as well as any relevant anomalies or malfunctions. This modern smart tachograph consists of a control device, a data storage card, and a transmitter. The decoded data is recorded in an electronic memory, greatly simplifying the lives of drivers. By inserting the tachograph card and selecting the current activity, the data is automatically recorded, improving both the lives of workers and road safety.

The arrival of the second generation of smart tachographs
In accordance with the latest amendment of Regulation (EU) No. 165/2014, an updated version of the smart tachograph, known as the second generation, was launched in 2023. This update introduces additional features aimed at enforcing EU regulations on cabotage and the posting of workers. Among these features is the ability to record border crossings and accurately detect the vehicle's position during loading and unloading operations. Furthermore, thanks to a series of innovative characteristics, this new generation aims to improve tamper resistance compared to its predecessor, through the authentication of satellite signals and the installation of an internal sensor that operates independently of the external motion sensor.

Other important dates:

  • December 2024: All vehicles used for international road transport with a weight equal to or exceeding 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with the second-generation smart tachograph. This requirement applies not only to newly registered vehicles but also to those already equipped with an analogical or non-smart digital tachograph.
  • August 2025: By this date, vehicles equipped with first-generation smart tachographs must be replaced, and the second generation of this intelligent technology must be installed.
  • July 2026: Starting from this date, it will be mandatory for all new vehicles used in international road freight transport or in cabotage operations, weighing over 2.5 tonnes, to be equipped with a second-generation intelligent tachograph.