Digitachs from May 2006

19 January 2006 #SMMT News

Digital tachographs will be law from May 2006, according to a letter this week from Jacques Barrot, EU transport commissioner.

M Barrot has just written to all EU transport ministers to say that the Commission accepts May 2006 as the latest deadline for the mandatory introduction of digital tachographs for ‘in scope’ vehicles. In practice this means almost all commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight.

He goes on to say that the Commission had wanted digitachs working in all newly registered ‘in scope’ vehicles from 1 January this year. But as the European Parliament and Council didn’t finally agree the changes to Regulation (EEC) n° 3820/85, which governs digital tachographs until early December, the Commission accepted that it will take a little longer to translate and publish the paperwork.

Barrot says this means old, analogue tachographs can be fitted to new vehicles until the new rules come into force, which will be 20 days after they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

‘This is good news in that it narrows the scale to May,’ said Robin Dickeson, manager, commercial vehicle affairs at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. ‘But sadly and typically, there is still an element of uncertainty, as no-one seems able to put a date on the publication of the Official Journal and that determines the precise date for the new law.’

‘Manufacturers, dealers and operators will be relieved that we have at least got a pretty clear idea of a date to aim for. For those with new vehicles due for delivery from April onwards, this is a wake-up call and probably last chance to change the specification to include a digitach. Once the deadline is passed, you won’t be able to register a new van, truck, bus or coach with an analogue tacho and someone will need to fork out over £1,000 a vehicle to get each one converted.’

‘And of course, operators need to ensure that drivers get the necessary Driver Cards in good time.’

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