Calibration stations will struggle to cope with an estimated 10,000 HGVs requiring the mandatory retrofit of second generation smart tachographs before the end of this year, software compliance and fleet management specialist Convey is warning.

From 21 February, all newly registered HGVs, regardless of the type of journey they make, will have to be fitted with either a full or transitional second generation smart tachograph. 

In addition, by 31 December 2024, all in-scope vehicles with an analogue or digital tachograph that undertake international journeys must be retrofitted with a full second generation smart tachograph or a transitional second generation smart tachograph, which is estimated to affect over 10,000 trucks.

The difference between a full and transitional second generation smart tachograph is that the former uses the Galileo Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA) which allows position verification via the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The transitional tachos will require a software upgrade to OSNMA at a later date.

Furthermore, by August next year, a compulsory retrofit will begin for any in-scope vehicles operating internationally with an existing first generation smart tachograph, affecting more than 5,000 vehicles in the UK.

And by July 2026, all new vehicles over 2.5 tonnes that operate internationally will need to have a second generation smart tachograph fitted, affecting an estimated 48,000 vehicles in the UK.

Karen Crispe, Convey director, said: “We have real concerns about the capacity of the calibration stations to handle this level of additional demand for retrofits. Even if all affected operators started booking their vehicles in now, it’s unlikely they will all be upgraded in time.”

Convey is warning that this situation may be exacerbated by demand for second generation smart tachograph’s outstripping supply. Although manufacturers are saying that they will be able to meet current requirements, any disruption in the supply chain could have serious repercussions.

Crispe said: ”This is not just a UK issue – these tachos are needed across Europe – we have seen manufacturers projections to show that the potential demand for tachos across Europe could be 40m over the next 2 years.

”This is why we are now actively trying to raise awareness of the situation and would urge anyone who operates internationally to get their vehicles retrofitted now to avoid any issues.”

Crispe said international operators should also note the cost involved, with retrofitting of the Smart 2 tachos costing circa £1,000. However, the cost of not being compliant could be much higher.

“After speaking with the DVSA on this, it is expected that any non-compliant vehicles crossing into the EU will be fined and probably escorted to the nearest calibration station where they will have to wait for a Smart 2 tacho to be fitted at their expense,” she said. 

Convey is calling on any operators that need to know more about theses changes to attend its webinar on the 20 February, featuring key speakers from DVSA and Stoneridge.