“Game changing” tachograph sensing technology that can identify if an HGV driver is flouting tacho laws without the vehicle being stopped is being trialled by the DVSA.
The enforcement agency can use the equipment while travelling alongside a lorry or at the roadside and it is being deployed in an effort to prevent dangerously tired drivers from getting behind the wheel.
The DVSA is still seeing cases of serious and deliberate violations, with 1,317 drivers’ hours prohibitions issued to HGV, PCV and applicable light CV drivers during the 2021/22 financial year.
The technology, dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), pulls data from vehicles fitted with smart tachographs while they are on the move by picking up information from a smart tacho’s antennae.
DVSA traffic examiners will be able to detect violations such as if a tachograph card is not inserted, if the card has been tampered with and also whether it has been correctly calibrated.
They can then read, interrogate and act on this data and stop a truck to verify the information and take appropriate action.
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The agency said it hoped DSRC, already in use in Europe, will provide it with greater capabilities to identify drivers’ hours offences, as well as offering greater agility and unpredictability as the tools can be fixed to a stand, attached to buildings or highway infrastructure, or used on a vehicle.
Caroline Hicks, DVSA head of regulatory services and transformation, said: “We are committed to exploring every available opportunity to help us prevent dangerously tired drivers putting themselves and the everyday road user at serious risk.
“The new technology is a potential game changer in identifying tachograph violations.
“We’re also excited to see where this leads in helping us identify operators who knowingly break all kinds of safety rules.”
Last month, the DVSA also started using a mobile inspection unit, which includes a roller brake tester, under vehicle cameras and tacho analysis equipment, to identify dangerous drivers and take them off the roads.