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Background To Tachographs

Filling In The Centre Field On A Tachograph Chart

  • Name, surname and first name written in full (no abbreviations or initials)
  • Place of start of duty: written in full (no abbreviations)
      Note: in larger conurbations, for example London, it is advisable to use a more precise location name ie Acton, Canning Town, London NW10
  • Place of finish of duty: written in full (no abbreviations)
      Note: in larger conurbations, for example London, it is advisable to use a more precise location name ie Acton, Canning Town, London NW10
  • Date of start of duty
  • Date of finish of duty
      Note: the date of finish of duty should be entered even if it is the same date as the start of duty date
  • Registration number: written in full (no abbreviations, no fleet numbers)
  • Odometer reading at start of driving
  • Odometer reading at finish of driving
  • Odometer subtraction
      Note: it is recommended the odometer subtraction is entered on the chart

Keeping Tachograph Charts - Up to 30th of April 2006

Drivers are required to keep the following tachograph charts available for inspection:

  • all charts for the fixed week (*) currently being driven in
  • the last chart from the previous fixed week.

(* the fixed week starts at 00:00 Monday morning, and finishes at 24:00 Sunday evening) For example, if a driver drives and / or undertakes other work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the current fixed week, all three charts will be required. In addition to this, the driver will also need to have the last chart from the previous fixed week (this is usually Friday's or Saturday's chart). The number of charts a driver has to keep will depend on how many days in the fixed week have been driven and / or worked on.

Example 1

    Driving Monday to Friday each week, how many charts should the driver have by Wednesday of the second week? All the current weeks charts (Monday's, Tuesday's and Wednesday's charts) and the last chart from the previous week (Friday's chart).

Example 2

    Driving Monday to Saturday each week, how many charts should the driver have by Wednesday of the second week? All the current weeks charts (Monday's, Tuesday's and Wednesday's charts) and the last chart from the previous week (Saturday's chart).

Example 3

    Driving Monday to Friday each week, how many charts should the driver have by Friday of the second week? All the current weeks charts (Monday's, Tuesday's, Wednesday's, Thursday's and Friday's charts) and the last chart from the previous week (Friday's chart).

Keeping Tachograph Charts - From the 1st of May 2006

From the 1st May, 2006, following the publication of the new Regulations:

 ... drivers will have to be able to produce, whenever an inspecting officer so requests:

  1. the record sheets (tachograph charts) for the current week and those used by the driver in the previous 15 days;

  2. the driver card if he / she has one; and

  3. any manual record and printout made during the current week and the previous 15 days.

 Also, from the 1st May, 2006:

 “other work” must be recorded under the symbol ;

 “availability” must be recorded under the symbol ;

Use Of 'Automatic' Tachographs

An automatic tachograph will record a driving trace on a tachograph chart when the vehicle is being driven. Driving is recorded, on an automatic tachograph, automatically, what ever the mode switch (for driver 1) on the tachograph itself is set to. For example, if the tachograph mode switch is set to other work, and the vehicle is being driven, the tachograph will automatically record a driving trace on the tachograph chart, even though the mode switch is set to other work. Automatic tachographs are driving automatic only. They are notother work or break / rest automatic.

Use Of Mode Switch(es)

The tachograph only records driving automatically. It does not record periods of other work, break or rest automatically. Whilst working (loading / unloading etc) the mode switch must be set to other work. When working, it is illegalto record break / rest on the chart.

Recommendations

As it is:

  • Illegal to record break / rest on the chart whilst working
  • (loading / unloading / undertaking other duties etc)
  • Usual to undertake some other work at some time during the working day
      The following recommendations are made:
      • The mode switch should be set to other work at the start of the working day
      • The mode switch should be changed to break / rest only at those times when a break / rest is being taken
      • The mode switch should be changed back to other work after finishing a break / rest
      • If the chart is to be left in the tachograph head at the end of the working day, the mode switch should be set to break / rest when all driving and other work has been completed.

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Awareness Survey

The Survey

Digital tachographs were originally scheduled for introduction in the European Union in August 2004. Due to technical delays, preparations are being made for an introduction in the UK of March 2006. This survey was commissioned by the United Road Transport Union (URTU) to determine the transport industry's awareness of digital tachographs.

People at Truckfest events in Peterborough, Drifield, Shepton Mallet and Edinburgh in the year 2000, who visited the URTU stand were asked a series of short questions. The survey population was biased as it represented interested people who were attending trade event(s) perhaps in order to gain more information about developments within the industry. As a result it could be concluded the following results are a "best case" view and that if awareness levels were to be assessed randomly through the transport industry, on average they would be lower than the statistics in this report.

This survey was a repeat of one undertaken in 1999. In this report the statistics for 2000 are compared with the 1999 results. However, comments are only made in categories where there was a notable difference.
  
Who Answered The Survey?

In total 136 people visiting the URTU exhibition stands were interviewed. Survey responses were categorised according to occupation, that is: driver, manager, owner-driver and other (including owners, fitters, mechanics, etc). As expected at a Truckfest event, the majority of people interviewed were drivers, representing 89% of survey responses (figure 1). 

 

 
Level Of Awareness

Overall, 73% of those interviewed had heard of digital tachographs, which is exactly the same level of awareness found by the survey at 1999 Truckfest events. However, it should be noted that in the year 2000 results, 75% (slightly higher than average) of the driver group showed awareness, whereas in 1999, drivers were the least aware group with only 68% having heard of digital tachographs.

Of the 136 people interviewed, 99 had heard of digital tachographs. These were then questioned on their knowledge of digital tachographs.
  
Timescale Of Awareness

Approximately half (49% [figure 2]) of those interviewed had gained their knowledge within the last six months (73% in 1999). This represents a significant decrease in recent awareness and may be influenced by the amount of current media coverage.


 
Sources Of Information

The most common sources of information were trade publications / news letters and word-of-mouth, bringing awareness to 79% of those interviewed (figure 3). Trade journals most commonly cited were "Wheels" and "Truck and Driver", with "Trucking International", "Truck Stop News" and "Commercial Motor" also being mentioned.

Other sources of information included Trade Shows such as Truckfest, truck manufacturers, Trades Unions (URTU specifically), ferries, German Police, etc, as well as wider media coverage including the Internet.


 
It may be significant that only 2% of those interviewed had gained information through their company or a training seminar, which is largely consistent with the 4% observed in 1999.
  
Why Introduce Digital Tachographs?

More than half (56% [the same as 1999]) of those interviewed believed digital tachographs were being introduced by the EU to target cowboy operators and improve road safety (figure 4). However, approximately one quarter (24%) thought it was to increase bureaucracy and red tape for drivers.

Between 1999 and 2000 there was a shift in opinion about digital tachographs, in that fewer people (16% in 2000, 27% in 1999) believe they take advantage of developments in technology, with a corresponding increase in the number of individuals who perceive them as an increase in bureaucracy (24% in 2000, 15% in 1999).
   

 
Further analysis revealed peoples' opinion on digital tachographs was influenced by their source of information. Figure 5 compares the responses of those who gained their information from trade magazines with those who heard by word-of-mouth. (When tested with the chi-squared statistic the data was found to be significant at the 90% level of probability.)


 
Resulting from this it is suggested word-of-mouth is having a negative effect on the introduction of digital tachographs.
  
What Does A Digital Tachograph Do?

The digital tachograph will provide more information than a conventional analogue tachograph and information from it will be available virtually instantaneously for both the driver and operator. 22% of the survey knew this. 41% thought the digital tachograph was simply a digital electronic replica of the current analogue instrument (figure 7).


 
The Digital Tachograph System: An Improvement?

The final question was whether people thought the overall digital tachograph system would be an improvement over the current conventional analogue tachograph system.


 
Even though many people did not know how digital tachographs were different, the majority (70% [figure 8]) believed they would be an improvement over the current system. This closely reflects the figures for 1999, were 68% thought it would be an improvement over the current system. In 2000, 20% did not know if it would be an improvement and 11% said it would not be.
  
Summary Of Key Findings

In summary, the principal findings were as follows:

  • There was approximately 70% level of awareness of digital tachographs in both 1999 and 2000;
  • 49% had only become aware of digital tachographs in the last 6 months in 2000, compared with 73% in 1999;
  • Trade magazines / newsletters and word-of-mouth were the major sources of information;
  • Word-of-mouth appears to be increasing anxiety and negativity regarding digital tachographs;
  • 10% have changed their minds from digital tachographs being a technological advancement in 1999, to being an increase in bureaucracy for drivers in 2000;
  • The majority are poorly informed about what digital tachographs will do, though believe they will be an improvement over current analogue tachographs;
  • Only 2% had been given information by their company;
  • 56% said digital tachographs were being introduced to target cowboy operators and improve road safety.
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