Better enforcement not tachograph technology needed to prevent fraud

Brussels, Belgium: The EC digital tachograph review must adopt effective but cost-efficient security enhancements and focus on reducing operational and administrative burdens for road transport says the IRU.

Responding to the European Commission proposal to amend the current EU Tachograph Regulation (3821/85/EC), the IRU calls for proportionate security enhancements at a reasonable cost to prevent tachograph fraud, as well as better-targeted enforcement linked to tougher sanctions for those found guilty of genuine tachograph fraud.

Beating tachograph fraud is essential for the future sustainability of road transport services the IRU says.  “The EC is relying too much on increasingly complex and costly technology, such as compulsory satellite positioning, which does not automatically deliver the required security results, and does not reduce the growing administrative burdens hampering efficient and safer road transport,” the IRU said in a statement.

The Freight Transport Association, a UK trade body, welcomed the new tachograph proposals and says the focus on making tachographs more driver friendly will cut down on unintended driver hours errors and the use of new technology will reduce tachograph fraud among rogue operators.

Chris Yarsley, the association’s manager of road freight, enforcement and EU affairs, says: “These new proposals introduce some genuinely helpful technological improvements which will improve the way tachographs are used by commercial vehicle operators.

“The proposed technology will improve targeted enforcement of rogue operators and make it more difficult for tachograph tampering to take place. This is great news for the vast majority of UK operators, which operate to the highest levels of legal compliance, and safety and it will reduce the need for manual recordings and unnecessary roadside checks for compliant drivers.

“However, FTA does have questions over the Commission’s claim of €500m annually in savings and will be demanding answers as to their calculations,” Yarsley says.

President of the IRU Commission on Social Affairs, Georges Causse, says: “Without a tamper proof tachograph, we cannot achieve the safety and efficiency objectives which the digital tachograph was meant to deliver.

“Moreover, the lack of effective enforcement distorts competition in the single market for the vast majority of transport operators who work hard to drive the EU economy and abide by the law. The EC should thus concentrate its efforts on targeting the small minority of operators who break the rules and tamper with the tachograph in order to eliminate the risks they pose to road safety.”

The IRU strongly opposes the compulsory fitting of every device with satellite positioning, as it will fail to make the digital tachograph tamper proof. “If the will and capability exists to manipulate the digital tachograph, the same defrauders will not hesitate to block a satellite signal,” Causse says.

“The switch from analogue to digital brought about more complex technology, yet did not deliver security. More complex and costly technology will not stop determined rule breakers but rather more targeted enforcement and tougher sanctions for those found guilty of tachograph fraud will,” he says.

IRU Head of Social Affairs, Damian Viccars, says, “The industry has long called for measures to reduce the operational and administrative burdens caused by the digital tachograph. The IRU welcomes some of the steps made by the EC proposal in this direction.”

These include the elimination of any need for paper letters of attestation to record drivers’ activities, creating a standardised ITS interface enabling the voluntary and cost efficient integration of the tachograph into an open telematics platform, and laying down a requirement that should lead to common training standards for control officers to increase the consistency and effectiveness of controls.