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Archive Monthly Archives: December 2018

Smart Tachographs 2019

From 15 June 2019, smart tachographs are to be made mandatory for new vehicles. The new Annex 1C compliant tacho aims to reduce administrative processes and digital tachograph tampering.

These ‘smart tachos’ will use a GPS to record the start and end location of the drivers’ work and record every three hours of driving time.

For operators to use the 1C tachographs, they will need to update their download tools and analysis software. Also, stopping vehicles to check the tachograph will no longer be necessary.

Enforcement officers will be able to use digital devices to check tachos from up to 190m away.

Information recorded by the tachograph will be transmitted. Drivers’ hours and break times will also be sent, to determine if the driver has exceeded daily driving limits.

Digital Tachograph Cards

Digital tachograph card owner responsibilities

All drivers must comply with the following requirements when using their digital tachograph system.

  • Ensure that the recording equipment and driver card are fully functional
  • Only hold one card at a time; apart from during the month before your card’s expiry date
  • Allow your employer to download data from your card
  • Apply for a replacement to lost, stolen, damaged or malfunctioning cards within 7 days, and take printouts at the start and end of each driving day before your replacement card arrives
  • Do not use a card which doesn’t have your personal details
  • Do not use or possess an altered or forged card, and do not forge or alter statements to obtain a card
  • Do not record any false data on the recording equipment or on your digital data card
  • Do not withhold or destroy any digital data recorded on your card or recording equipment
  • Always carry your card when working and have it to hand for DVSA officer or police inspection, even if it hasn’t been used

As an operator or employer, you must also comply with the following.

  • Ensure that your drivers follow the list of responsibilities above
  • Own a company card in order to download the recorded digital data from the digital tachograph head
  • Download all data from each driver’s card at least once every 28 days
  • Download all data from each driver’s recording equipment at least once every 56 days
  • Examine the data from digital driver cards and recording equipment to check for infringements or drivers’ working hours
  • Make sure that the recording equipment is all fully functional and is being used correctly
  • Make sure that the recording equipment is calibrated once every 2 years
  • Make sure any defective recording equipment in the digital tachograph is repaired as soon as possible

AdBlue checks

AdBlue is a highly purified colorless liquid. It contains demineralized water and urea (32.5%).

AdBlue is used with diesel engines and is also known outside of Europe as DEF, ARLA 32 or AUS 32.

The main active component of AdBlue is ammonia. This is chemically formed by hydrolising automotive urea, which is the main raw material for AdBlue.

AdBlue is used with diesel engines using SCR technology. This technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) reduces harmful emissions (NOx). AdBlue is injected into the catalyst of the SCR system,where it triggers a chemical reaction with the ammonia. This chemical reaction converts the toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) into nitrogen (N2) and water vapor (H2O). Water vapor and nitrogen are naturally occurring gasses that are harmless to the environment.

From 2016, most new diesel passenger cars and light commercial vehicles such as delivery vans need AdBlue to be able to comply with the latest emissions legislation.

At the end of 2017, a new regulation required on the road real emission test (RDE). Since September 2017, all diesel vehicles are equipped with SCR technology.

To meet the Euro 6 standards for diesel engine emission the use of AdBlue is required. The Euro 6 standards are into force from September 2014 for new passenger cars.

All commercial vehicle manufacturers have to meet the Euro 6 standards for diesel engine emission. Although Euro 5 emission standards could be met by different technologies, Euro 6 standards require the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction with AdBlue.

AdBlue checks go nationwide

A regional clampdown on the use of AdBlue emulators found high rates of non­compliance. Some 10,000 truck checks between February and August 2018 turned up 388 vehicles with cheating devices fitted (4%). 

This has triggered the rollout of cheat device checks nationwide, as part of Defra’s wider policy to cut emissions.

Drivers could be faced with a £300 fine, and even have their vehicle removed from the road if they are caught with an emissions cheat device or faulty emissions control system that is not corrected within 10 days. 

Commercial vehicle operators will also face follow-up inquiries by the DVSA, who have the power to inform the traffic commissioners.

Vehicle load security pilot

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has begun a vehicle load security pilot in the north of England. Usually, inspectors only check loads when faced with signs of risk; for example, if curtains are bulging.

But in this pilot, all curtain sided vehicles will be inspected for load security by a DVSA examiner. It is also investigating driver culpability for load security if S-marked prohibitions are appropriate (but is not issuing them during the pilot).

Drivers’ cooperation is expected. Because DVSA recognises that pulling the curtains back can be risky, drivers will only be asked to do so when there is no danger to the driver or the examiner.

Assistance from operators will be sought if a driver fails to cooperate, and prosecution will take place if this is unsuccessful.

The pilot will be reviewed after three months. We anticipate an increased number of prohibitions and fixed penalties being issued due to the pilot.

Load security issues

Transport authorities’ decision to target load security a few years ago has led to more roadside prohibitions.

Kevin Swallow asks if mandatory ADR-style training would solve the issue. 

Northumberland-based haulier had its operator’s licence curtailed for three months in 2016 for repeated load security issues.

North East traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney said the unnamed haulier, of good repute, had been let down by its drivers, who had received four load security prohibition notices in two years.

The case came as a direct consequence of the DVSA tackling load security head-on since 2013. That campaign has brought a swift improvement from hauliers, reported Nina Day, senior engineer, Health & Safety Laboratory, at the Health & Safety Event in June 2017.

This highlighted two targeted roadside enforcement activities, four years apart, but in the same place. Half of the vehicles stopped in 2011 had ‘inadequate load securing’ and another quarter had no load securement at all.

Four years later, only a quarter of trucks stopped had ‘inadequate load securing’, with one in ten trucks having an ‘unstable load’.

The effect of HSE campaigns is limited by the fact that load security training is not mandatory. The only compulsory training for load security in road transport is the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009, better known as ADR (see also https://is.gd/xoxini).

In that case, responsibility and accountability follows an auditable trail from the packer via the loader, consignor and carrier, to the unloader.

For general haulage operators, any ‘approved’ load security and loading training is delivered through Driver CPC (DCPC).

However, several DCPC training providers approached for this article say that transport bosses usually prefer drivers to repeat a seven-hour refresher on drivers’ hours rather than attend a separate load security module.

One of the biggest issues with load security is that the tail is wagging the dog. Although third-party hauliers are employed to move goods, customers harbour strong opinions about how their goods are loaded and restrained.

Tim Wigham is the boss of haulier SM&T Wigham in Penrith, Cumbria, which operates about 10 tractors and 20 trailers. “The problem is that supervising loading doesn’t exist anymore”.

The driver must sit in the cab, behind a barrier or in the canteen, while a forklift driver puts the load on the trailer. First access to the trailer is to secure the cargo, but you cannot do much about it if it’s been poorly loaded.”

In general haulage, there is no one restraint for all loads. Lacking a universal system, Wigham’s firm provides multiple alternatives.

“We have three systems: internal van straps, bungee straps and individual straps,” with the latter not permanently attached to the vehicle, unlike the others, he explains.

Using only one isn’t necessarily fool proof, however. “One of our drivers was stopped by DVSA and given a prohibition because a part of the load was only strapped using internal van straps, as instructed by the customer.

DVSA disagreed and said we had to use an individual strap to secure it. Now the customer has gone along with DVSA and reviewed its procedures,” he adds.

Farther south, at Philip Judge International, based at Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, load security is paramount. Training for new drivers lasts three days, and recruits send experienced drivers’ images of any load they’ve secured to make sure it’s done properly.

Driver Will Pringle say: “Load security training should be part of DCPC. We have all seen a strap that’s come free lying on the road. You need to maintain the equipment and replace anything that frays. Most drivers and hauliers turn their nose up at DCPC because it’s not practical, it’s classroom based.”

He adds: “Load security needs to be taught because there are more drivers with less experience than ever before. 

In heavy haulage, everyone does it properly; why shouldn’t that apply to road haulage?”

Providing banksman slinger/signaller qualifications for heavy haulage operators, and for vehicle-mounted hydraulic lorry loaders, is transport training group RTITB.

“Most general haulage training is familiarisation training with the haulier. The question is, who delivers the training?

Is it someone with 25 years’ experience or someone with a professional qualification,” remarks business development manager David Cox.

He adds: “If there is an incident and the police start an investigation, the first question with load security is about what training has been delivered and what qualification does it have. It’s an audit trail.”

Cox suggests that shared responsibility before a load goes on the road – like the system applied to ADR -can be rolled out across the industry.

Load security is often a topic that crops up on the website of trailer and body builder Don-Bur. Richard Owens, group marketing manager, says it’s often drivers asking about their employers’ systems.

The Staffordshire-based company sits on the load restraint steering group involving the Department for Transport (DfT). Don-Bur includes a load security system by default as an optional extra when customers receive a quote for its products.

The majority do fit a load restraint system, for example to EN12640 (pictured, above). Now Don-Bur is considering offering a DCPC course with its products, something Owens said could be a “unique selling point that upskills the industry”.

He adds: “If you sell 200 trailers to a customer, you’d want the drivers to know how they work. Often training relies on the purchaser to ensure their employees are trained – it’s not the responsibility of the manufacturer.”


The most comprehensive guide is from the DfT, which regularly updates its ‘Load securing: vehicle operator guidance’ {https://is.gd/utusus). To ensure load security, the driver should watch vehicle loading from a safe distance and check the load once packed.

Here are five things to look for:

  1. Ensure cargo is against the headboard. Any gap should be filled with dunnage to prevent the load sliding forward. Spaces in between cargo not individually restrained should be filled with dunnage to prevent lateral movement.
  2. Freight should be evenly distributed across the trailer; if a load is stacked or loaded on a double-deck trailer, heavier items should be below lighter items.
  3. Always use straps to secure loads in curtainside trailers; the curtain should not be relied on to hold the load. Loads should be restrained and tied firmly down to the load bed, or contained, so they can’t move around.
  4. If cargo is a positive fit within EN12642-XL-rated curtainside trailers and bodywork – flush to bulkhead and no more than 80mm from the side curtain – then DVSA deems it compliant without the use of internal straps. Still, the rear of the load should restrained.
  5. Where possible, the consignor should ensure the load is secured and meets minimum DfT guidance. EH


EU guidance – https://is.gd/mipama

HSE loading guidance – https://is.gd/ogaxol

FTA loading guidance – https://is.gd/ilovuy

RHA loading guidance – https://is.gd/ofexum

Truck Cab Gym Drives Fitness

An interesting concept to keep drivers fit was introduced into the Stream Space cab of his Mercedes-Benz Actros.  Thanks to an initiative by German haulier Spedition Fehrenkotter, driver Heiko Gebhardt has installed a personal fitness studio in the StreamSpace cab of his Mercedes-Benz Actros.

Gebhardt now uses the TopFit Set (part number B6 626 0350) during breaks to actively combat muscle tension and to strengthen the muscles that are prone to stress.

TopFit comprises a plywood board to which two metal eyelets are attached. Exercise straps, known as tubes, are attached to these with snap hooks. Two pairs of tubes offer different levels of training resistance.

Gebhardt stands on the board between the seats. The set is completed by a pair of flexible, ergonomic handles which rotate to follow the movements and thereby reduce wrist tension, plus a useful carrying bag.

“We specifically developed our Top Fit Set for use in a truck cab,” says Siegfried Rothe, Daimler Trucks customer researcher and developer.

“Using the fitness board, drivers can exercise in the privacy of their cab -which is an important factor for many truckers.”

Training videos, including ‘Basic Fit’, ‘Strong Fit’, Top Fit’ and ‘Power Fit’ workouts, are provided on a DVD supplied with the set. Each workout contains six exercises aimed at the relevant areas of the neck, shoulders, upper arms, abdomen and upper/ lower back.

However, Gebhardt prefers the digital fitness coach via the FleetBoard Driver app, which also has information and tips on health and fitness on the road.

App your truck has become reality. 

With the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal, you are now given the option to equip your vehicles with apps which increase your convenience and efficiency.  

More aps include the following:

Overview of vehicle operation: The digital manual is a digital operation instruction – directly available in the vehicle.

Date and hints: The Fleetboard Driver informs the truck driver in real-time about relevant data on his vehicle and provides hints how to improve his individual driving behaviour.

Overview of vehicle operation: The digital manual is a digital operation instruction – directly available in the vehicle.

Stopwatch for support: The app with integrated timer helps the driver to move his vehicle in the scope of legal regulations – including during breaks.

This is a 3rd party Digital apps which would be useful if available in the UK. 

I have this app on my smart phone at the moment to search for parking space: The community based app offers free parking options including evaluations and also provides further useful information.

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