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Understanding your Digital Tachograph

Almost 20% of all road traffic accidents are sleep related, many of them occurring on high speed roads. When tired, driving ability decreases dramatically; reaction time slows and judgement becomes blurred.

Despite this, figures have shown shocking statistics; 37% of people who use cars, vans or lorries have admitted to driving when tired and 10% who use their vehicles for work have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.

HGV vehicle drivers are often required to work during unsocial hours, making the risk of fatigue greater. As a result the Government has enforced laws in a bid to protect both HGV drivers and other road users with the hope of decreasing the number of road accidents each year.

The laws established restrict the number of hours a driver can complete without taking a break, so now for every 4.5 hours driven, it is compulsory for the driver to rest for 45 minutes before continuing the journey. The total hours of driving each day is capped to 9 hours, with the fortnightly limit standing at 90 hours.

In 2006, it became compulsory for all commercial vehicles to be fitted with a digital tachograph. A tachograph is used to record information about the driver’s time, speed and distance. They’re used as a measuring device to ensure that drivers and employers follow the government procedures regarding drivers’ working hours. A tachograph will store 365 day’s worth of information that is downloaded on a monthly basis and stored for future reference. It is the size of a radio and has its own memory storage, designed to work in conjunction with a digital tachograph smart card.

A digital tachograph system consists of a sender unit mounted to the vehicle gearbox, the tachograph head and the digital driver card. The sender unit will emit electronic pulses as a reaction to the gearbox output turning. These pulses are accessed as speed data by the tachograph head.

There is a range of modes which detect the driver’s activity as well as speed. ‘Drive Mode’ is automatically activated whenever the vehicle is moving and a ‘rest’ and ‘availability’ mode can be manually selected. Drivers are legally required to accurately record their activities and retain records and produce them as required.

Here at Drivers Direct, it’s compulsory for all our drivers to follow the Government laws, as they are designed to optimise the safety of everyone on the road. All of our vehicles follow protocol and we urge all drivers to be aware of the drivers’ hours rules and to use the Digital Tachograph within the vehicle correctly when driving to make every driving experience safe and enjoyable.

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