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15-05-2013

Smart tachographs for road safety and fair competition in road transport

Specifications for a new generation of digital tachographs for trucks and buses were agreed informally by Irish presidency and Parliament negotiators on Tuesday. Innovations include devices that can read on-board recording devices from a distance, will make it easier to enforce driving and rest times. Jim Higgins MEP, Irish member of the Transport Committee said "Our aim was to improve enforcement of social legislation and to verify that drivers and companies respect driving and resting times.  Hopefully this will increase road safety for all road users in Ireland and across the continent."

Under the draft rules, smart tachographs would be fitted to new vehicles within three years once the Commission has set out the technical specifications, so as to put an end to fraud and tampering and ensure that rules apply fairly and equally to all trucks over 3.5 tonnes on EU roads. Within 15 years, they would have to be fitted, or retrofitted, to all EU-registered trucks and buses in international transport.

These devices will automatically record speed and distance, start and final location, making it possible to monitor the driving (or resting) status of the driver. They will also enable easy downloading and even remote checking, via wireless data transmission to control authorities.

This will significantly reduce the number and duration of roadside checks as the authorities will be able to concentrate on vehicles with suspicious data which can then be checked thoroughly. Parliament's negotiators ensured that automatic fines based on such remote checks remain forbidden.

Exemption for local craftsmen and small firms

Trucks of less than 7.5 tonnes will be exempted if they  carry materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and used within a radius of 100 km of the base of the undertaking, provided  that driving the vehicle is not the driver’s main activity.

Applying social legislation fairly throughout the EU

To overcome existing disparities in the interpretation and enforcement of social legislation, control officers will have to be properly trained and equipped in line with common standards to be set out by the European Commission.

Next steps

Mrs Silvia Ticau (S&D, RO), who led the EP negotiating team, will present and discuss details of the deal at the next meeting of the Transport and Tourism Committee, on 29 and 30 May. The consolidated text still needs to be approved by Parliament and the Council to enter into force one day after publication in the EU Official Journal.

Committee on Transport and TourismPress release after first reading adoption in plenary (July 2012)Legislative observatory