Digital tachograph: A cross-border achievement for enhanced road safety in Europe


​​​​​Tachograph

A cross-border technical achievement

 Analog tachograph, the concept to log driving activies, dates back to 1953, became compulsory in Europe for commercial vehicles from 1986.

Today, the tachograph system is digital and based on a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). 

It is the only European project so far guaranteeing full interoperability within the countries of the EU and AETR (European Agreement concerning the work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport) and a clear technical success. 

Offering an exceptionally high level of security, the digital tachograph is the first cross-border interoperable project of its kind.​

Enhancing road safety in Europe

A European study showed that fatigue of truck drivers has been identified as the main cause of 6% of accidents, 37% of which were fatal. The total cost of accidents for all commercial vehicles above 3.5 t would amount to € 2.8 billion.

The introduction of the digital tachograph can be considered a success, certainly bearing in mind the large variety of stakeholders involved in the system as expressed by the European commission's IMPACT ASSESSMENT​ on measures enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the tachograph system Revision of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 of July 2011. 

So what are the benefits here?

The digital tachograph serves as both an important part of national and international road safety and a valuable tool for freight and passenger transport fleet operators.

The digital tachograph allows better enforcement of the social legislation, as it is much harder to commit and conceal fraudulent manipulation of the system. 

​The introduction of the digital tachograph has therefore contributed to achieving the aims of the social legislation (EC impact assessment):

  • improved road safety by drastically reducing fraud linked to excess driving time and speeding.
  • better working conditions for drivers
  • fair competition between transport companies.​​

Let's see more technical aspects.

What is a digital tachograph?

The digital tachograph system encompasses :

  • a motion sensor and a controlling vehicle unit installed in trucks and busses 
  • and four types of tachograph cards.

These fours cards are:

  1. a card with photo for commercial drivers to store all individual driving activity over the previous four weeks, 
  2. card for the company operating the vehicle for fleet management, 
  3. card for approved workshops responsible for installing and calibrating motion sensors
  4. card for the authorities performing roadside checks.

Tachograph cards are used by one million transport companies and more than six million professional drivers.​​​​

First introduced in the EU, since 2010 the system has also been mandatory in the AETR countries.
Today, 50 countries, comprising all of Europe plus Turkey and the CIS states (Russian Commonwealth of Independent States) have the system deployed. 

Tachograph

March 2016 regulation 

Gemalto welcomes the new tachograph regulation (EU) n° 165/2014, coming into force in March 2016, which mandates enhanced features for digital tachograph systems. 

The new regulation on recording equipment in road transport will support satellite-linked technology (connection to Global Navigation Satellite System (​GNSS), remote roadside checks via wireless Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) and enhanced security with cryptology in particular.​

Where do we fit in?

Gemalto is proud to contribute to 34 successful tachograph implementations​ and believes one of its mission is to collaborate with its clients to report and share best practices from around the world.

More on Gemalto tachograph solutions​