What is tachograph analysis software?

Tachograph analysis software will help Transport Managers and road transport operators analyse and manage their tachograph data to ensure compliance with legislation such as drivers’ hours, avoiding hefty fines and potential loss of their operators license.

Tachographs became mandatory for all HGV vehicles in the EU in the 1980s.  By recording speed and distance the tachograph provides an accurate picture of what a driver has been doing and whether or not they have broken the law.  Since 2006, all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes sold in the UK are required by law to be fitted with a digital tachograph.

A tachograph records information about the vehicle and as a transport operator you are legally required to periodically check tachograph records and have an adequate record keeping system in place so that you can track the activity of your drivers. Drivers’ hours law legislation and the Working Time Directive set out the maximum driving, rest and on duty times for drivers. Failing to comply with these laws can lead to hefty fines and potentially loss of license.

In the UK, digital drivers’ card data must be downloaded at least every 28 days and vehicle unit data at least every 56 days. Accurate recording is vital, as driver data must be retained for at least a year and working time records must be kept for at least two years.

Many operators download driver data on a daily basis and vehicle data every week so that they can spot and deal with any infringements.   This is a huge burden in terms of time and administration, which is where tachograph analysis software comes into its own as paper charts, driver cards and vehicle unit downloads produce masses of data which is very difficult to interpret and use.

Using a digital download device, the information held on a drivers’ smartcard can be downloaded into the software product remotely or at the depot.  The tachohraph analysis software then does the number crunching to produce easy to work with reports.

The reports not only show where you have complied with the law – and therefore can be used to demonstrate compliance to the authorities – but also where individual drivers or depots are breaking the law. By having complete and accurate management information, tachograph analysis software products can also provide the information needed to have difficult discussions about non-compliance or ultimately a disciplinary meeting.

Is analogue or digital better?
As all new HGVs are sold with a digital tachograph, analogue systems are becoming less and less common. Tachograph analysis software can work with both analogue and digital data collection devices, although the data analysis is far quicker using the remote digital download tools so operators can have close to real time information.

Do I need to buy the software?
There are a variety of ways to buy tachograph analysis services – there are bureaus who will do the analysis on your behalf or you can buy an off the shelf software product.

Tachograph analysis Software as a service such as Smartanalysis is an increasingly popular way to deliver these services.  This is where you access the software via the web and only pay for the records that are submitted.  This keeps the start-up costs down, scales as your business scales and means that the product is always up-to-date and will never need to be upgraded.

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