A Practical Guide to Using Digital Tachograph Tools!

Digital Tachograph

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Having an excellent business fleet is one of the secrets of highly successful companies. Transportation of products for deliveries and staff for meetings is smoother with fleets. A functional digital tachograph can measure significant metrics like speed, driving time, and driver’s activity

Transportation can result in higher company expenses if you don’t track them well. The increasing cost of fuel, car maintenance and purchasing of vehicles can drain a company’s resources.

The digital tachograph download (DTD) helps record driver and vehicle information, including travel distance, speed, driving time and activity. As such, it allows you to be compliant with relevant regulations and ensure that drivers are not doing more than their legally-mandated hours behind the wheel.

These tools require both the vehicle unit memory and the driver cards. Digital tachographs have a wide range of advantages over the traditional analogue ones. Fleet managers will profit significantly from this technology because it avoids driver mistakes, missing tachograph cards, and the paperwork that comes with keeping old data records.

Requirement For Using Digital Tachograph Download 

Before using a digital tachograph download, you must have your driver’s card. The driver cards make it easy and legal to save and retrieve driving data securely. The law makes it inevitable that drivers without licenses aren’t eligible to operate vehicles with digital tachographs. 

To obtain your driver’s licence, you must submit an application to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) using this form and send it to the address listed on the application. You may also use this form to get a replacement if you’ve had your card stolen, lost, or expired.

When driving your vehicle or one owned by your employer, you’ll be able to use a digital tachograph if you have a valid personal driver card. When using DTD, you can download all of your car’s tachograph data without requiring the driver or vehicle to be onsite at all times. The tachograph data provides fleet managers with relevant information on the working hours status of your drivers.

Download Digital Tachograph Data 

The correct data is the first step toward using a digital tachograph download. A digital tachograph can record and store data in the driver’s car and the vehicle’s unit. European Union laws compel companies to download the data from the driver cards in tachographs no less than once every 28 days.

Download the driver card and tachograph data regularly to have backup and detect any violation as soon as possible. Also, download driver files at least about once in 10 days. You should also download the vehicle files every 30 days. Daily downloads are also available for more precise data.

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Manually downloading the data can be time-wasting which is why you need digital tachograph data remote downloads. By going digital, you can free up time by automating repetitive tasks. This method implies that you can have real-time access to your tachograph data, even if the driver or vehicle is not close. Daily or weekly downloads allow you to watch for potential problems before they get out of control.

Analysing Digital Tachograph 

The next step toward using digital tachograph download is analysing and interpreting data. It is best to use tachograph analysis software from reliable companies like FleetGO. They’re an excellent tachograph analysis software in the UK that allows you to manage, control and check your company’s digital tachograph files efficiently. You’d also get a clear overview of your tachograph archive and driver infringements.

Here are the steps to analysing data with the device: 

  • Activity Logs: As a starting point, you can print vehicle activity logs directly from the vehicle unit on “tally roll” paper. It’s the last option, but it can come in handy if a driver has lost or forgotten their smartcard or other identification cards. Otherwise, reading data from the vehicle’s computer or the driver’s card will necessitate additional hardware. 
  • VU Download Device: A VU downloader is a device that copies all of the recorded vehicle data to an external memory stick, which you can now transfer to a computer. Each vehicle unit has enough internal capacity to hold a year’s worth of tachograph data, so downloading isn’t necessary very often. The next step is to plug the device into the vehicle unit. 
  • Smartcard Reader: Next, load the drivers’ cards into a smartcard reader, which usually plugs into a computer. Smartcards, as opposed to memory sticks, require special software to transfer data, and digital tachographs have highly particular standards and criteria for downloading and storing data. According to EU regulations, the data file format is standard; therefore, any programme used to receive or analyse the data retrieved from drivers’ cards will work. Please make sure the tachograph card’s chip is face up and pointed at the Tachograph machine before using it for the first time.
  • Tachograph Machine: Insert the digital tachograph card into slot number 1. Check the time displayed on the tachograph machine to ensure accuracy, and if it is wrong, edit manually. To proceed, click “OK.”

Your digital tachograph card will store your driving data as soon as you start driving. It’s hard to differentiate between the first time you put in your digital tachograph card and the second time.

There is a caveat here: these typical files are not “human readable,” as the activity data comes in an electronic format that you cannot change.

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In most cases, a vehicle operator would hire an outside firm or bureau (eg. employer of record) to see and analyse drivers’ activity data to guarantee that they comply with numerous rules, such as the Working Time Directive and the Driver Hours legislation. Many laws still apply to smaller operations, including owner-drivers and the necessity to keep their downloaded smartcard data for a specific time.

Store All Data Safely 

Finally, it’s time to save your data somewhere safe where you can easily retrieve it. You can set up and install small authorisation servers in your office, which helps to get tachograph data from a smaller fleet. On the other hand, larger fleets may not allow tracking of tachograph cards at all times.

With good tachograph software, you can securely house your digital company card and link to your digital tachograph data. You can store all your tachograph cards in one place and manage your DTD file downloads from anywhere. You are rest assured knowing that your server operations are in good hands.

Setup Download Timelines And Service Updates 

Tachograph data download setups are just as crucial as the actual data. As you know, tachograph violations, such as driving and rest time violations, are punishable by heavy fines. You may be fined a considerable sum if you fail to download your driver’s and vehicle’s data on time. Many of these infractions occur daily, and the fleet manager is often unaware of them.

With good tachograph analysis software, you can set alerts for areas like driving duration and tachograph calibration date. You can also configure file download to meet international standards. 

Final Words 

Fleet managers and drivers alike can benefit from Tachogram’s tachograph data reports. You may use these reports to get a summary of a driver’s work time, to check for regulatory violations, to check on the progress of a tachograph file download, and even to use exact data for calculating a driver’s wage.

Analysing your digital tachograph data can cut down several hours of work. Also, remember that gaining a broader perspective on your job might have a substantial positive impact. You’ll also be able to instantly show compliance with driving regulations and make sure none of your drivers work more than the required number of hours. 

Digital tachograph article and permission to publish here provided by Grace Murphy. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on August 4, 2022.

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