Improvements to on-board recording equipment (digital tachographs) should make life easier in future for truck drivers and haulage companies that obey EU rules on driving and rest times. They should also make it much easier for properly trained and equipped officers to detect and punish fraud and tampering, says a report adopted at first reading by the transport committee on 31 May.
The Commission proposed in July 2011 to update the "spy-in-the-cab" rules with new technical standards for digital tachographs, which have been mandatory in all new heavy goods vehicles (HGV) since 2006. Detailed provisions for usage, type approval, installation and inspection should make them much more fraud-proof and user-friendly for companies - and for police officers.
Silvia Ticau (S&D, RO), who is steering the legislation through Parliament, says "smart" tachographs connected to global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) should be compulsory in all HGVs by 2020 as they offer new opportunities for integration with other intelligent transport system applications and allow the wireless transfer of data. Moreover, traffic authorities could run remote checks without stopping the vehicles and target only vehicles with "bad records" for in-depth road-side inspections.
While Member States would have to provide training and the necessary equipment for rapid downloading and analysis of tachograph data for their controlling agents, the Commission has to ensure that the same method is used across the EU to analyse the data.
The committee says the Commission should draw up a common list of offences to be deemed "very serious" in all member states and punished accordingly, to ensure that driving and rest periods are respected uniformly. It should also assess the feasibility of combining the driver's card and driving licence into a single document to prevent fraud, say MEPs.
In the chair: Dominique Riquet (EPP, FR)
Vote in plenary (1st reading) is scheduled for 2 July 2012.