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Ensuring Your PCV Drivers Adhere to Tachograph Rules

As is reinforced from start to finish during bus training, coach training and all forms of PCV training, following tachograph rules is paramount for several reasons. As a transport manager, it’s incumbent on you to ensure that the drivers in your fleet follow tachograph rules to safeguard all road users, operate efficiently, and stay within the bounds of the law.

Tachographs are crucial in ensuring driver hours regulations are followed, as they constantly monitor how long each driver spends behind the wheel and at rest. Rather than being a mere activity tracker, this hardware can also provide users with a wealth of metric data to make your operation more efficient while promoting safety.

This article offers a short guide on ensuring your PCV drivers follow all tachograph regulations and their effect on driving efficiency.

Understanding How to Adhere to Tachograph Rules

The use of tachographs in the correct manner is a legal requirement for drivers of passenger vehicles (PCVs) in the UK, and while there are still analogue devices in use, they’re being phased out soon. As such, current rules on the use of digital tachographs break down as follows:

  • All drivers must be trained on how to use a tachograph correctly. This includes knowing how to log in/out, record breaks, and understand error messages when they appear.
  • The recorded data from the vehicle unit and driver cards must be downloaded regularly (in line with parameters set down in regulations).
  • Maintaining historical records from tachographs is a legal requirement, and they must be kept for at least 12 months, although it’s advisable to keep them for up to 24 months.
  • Tachographs must be checked and calibrated to ensure they can accurately record data, which involves a regular inspection at an approved centre.

While abiding by these guidelines will help you avoid fines and penalties, there’s also the safety of your passengers to think about. Additionally, there are several ways in which your operation can benefit from its regular use.

Insights That Serve to Improve Driving Habits & Efficiency

Naturally, safety and compliance are the main reasons for using a tachograph. However, they also create valuable data that you can use to improve how well your PCV fleet drives.

  • Analysis of Driver Behaviour – tachographs can reveal undesirable behaviours such as speeding, excessive idling and harsh braking, allowing you to address these matters with the driver.
  • Optimising Routes & Schedules – Data relating to journey times and rest periods can help you select optimal routes and schedules, reduce fuel consumption, and improve the service you provide.
  • Performance Benchmarking – when drivers show exemplary performance consistently, they can be recognised and set as a benchmark for others to follow.
  • Analysis of Accidents – should an accident occur, tachograph data can prove invaluable in terms of evidence relating to vehicle speed, road conditions and how the driver behaves to aid insurance claim investigations.

Tachograph Compliance – It’s Not Just About Following the Law

While there is a compliance aspect to following tachograph rules (they’re rules for a reason), that’s not the whole picture. When your PCV fleet drivers embrace this hardware as they should, they help protect themselves and other road users while making you work more efficiently as an operator.

By investing time in training and data analysis, you can gain valuable insights that can transform a company obligation into a strategic advantage that benefits your drivers and the passengers you rely on for profit. As such, you must do everything possible to foster a culture where everyone understands what they need to do and how to do it.

If you’d like to know more about the obligations of PCV operators and drivers, take a moment to view our articles on safety equipment and driver-hours regulations.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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