Top 5 Tips For Tachograph Management

16th Aug 2022

Tachograph and compliance management can be a minefield for transport businesses, and with good reason. There are regulations around driving time, rest periods and working days as well as vehicle maintenance records. In addition to this there’s also the need to manage your drivers, stakeholders and vehicles themselves. The challenge is how do you manage all of these elements together in one place?

1. Be sure drivers are briefed and aware of their obligations

Drivers must be aware of their obligations prior to any work or journey they take. Drivers must also be trained on the digital tachograph and on the latest tachograph rules, as well as any other requirements that may be in place for the countries/ regions they’ll be driving and operating in. If you are unsure of what these are, we recommend looking at guidance documents on the DVSA and DVLA government websites for more information.

2. Develop a training schedule for drivers and stakeholders

It’s not enough to simply install the equipment and hope that your drivers will figure out how to use it on their own. You need to train them and make sure they know exactly what they’re required to do in order to stay compliant.

This training should include:

  • An overview of the systems and how they work, including operating instructions and relevant setting when recording rest, work, driving and ancillary hours.
  • Rules around drivers hours; what should be recorded and how hours should be recorded for example the inclusion of annual leave and sick days
  • How to run and interpret report data in SmartAnalysis so that you can understand what you are seeing on each device.

All drivers of lorries over 3.5 tonnes or Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) with 9 or more seats must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years. SmartAnalysis has a module which will enable you to track this for each driver and SmartLicence does a Driver CPC check with the DVLA whenever a driving licence is checked.

3. Ensure data is stored in a safe and secure environment

It’s crucial in this day and age for your data and records to be stored securely. Descartes takes data protection very seriously which is why the SmartAnalysis website uses the highest available level off encryption (128 bit SSL) with Descartes servers being held in a secure location with 24/7 security.

4. Schedule downloads in advance to avoid missing deadlines

Downloads are a necessity in the tachograph management process, but they can also be a headache if you don’t plan ahead. When scheduling your downloads, make sure you consider how they will affect your business and driver schedules.

For example, it is best to schedule vehicle downloads at times when the vehicle is not being used for work purposes. This helps to maintain vehicle utilisation.

However, many operators have now adopted wireless downloads which enables automatic remote download of the driver and vehicle tachograph data directly. This enables you to do as many downloads as necessary without infringing on drivers' trips or vehicle maintenance. No matter how you do it just be sure your tachograph data is up to date and in accordance with the DVSA regulations to stay compliant and reduce the risk of timely roadside stops. Although the regulations state that driver card data must be downloaded within 28 days and VU data within 90 days it makes sense to do it daily or weekly to spot any issues that need to be dealt with such as unaccounted distance before they become a bigger problem.

5. Automated analysis & reporting

The fifth and final tip for managing your Tachograph is to automate your tachograph analysis. SmartAnalysis will save you time in analysing the data yourself and give you all the reports and tools you need to manage your fleet and any infringements as well as improve your business in the following ways:

  • Safety - ensuring that drivers are driving safely by analysing tachograph data for infringements such as speed, drivers' hours etc…
  • Compliance with legal requirements - analysing how often drivers operate outside of their permitted periods or exceed their daily or weekly limits whilst being able to digitally log any communications with the driver.
  • It also show the authorities that you have systems and processes in place to manage your compliance.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your transport business and maximise the return on investment, then we can help. We offer a range of solutions that will help you with all aspects of your tachograph management. From hardware to analysis and reporting software solutions, we have everything you need right here at our fingertips!