Tachograph crisis clobbers trailer uses

Date: Friday, July 25, 2008

  Many van owners who have bought brand new vehicles with the aim of towing a trailer big enough to bring them within the scope of the heavy truck Drivers Hours regulations are discovering that they can't. That's because their purchases cannot always be fitted with the necessary digital tachograph, says Freight Transport Association head of engineering, Andy Mair.


“The difficulty is that their gearboxes may not have been machined to accept the correct sender device,” he explains.

Mechanical adapters are available and have been approved by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), says Mair, but only for a limited number of light commercials. They include the front-wheel drive Ford Transit, he says, and Ford's Ranger pick-up. The use of electronic adapters is still under discussion.

In Mair's view no attempt should be made to tow a trailer heavy enough to make the Drivers' Hours rules an issue with a vehicle that should be fitted with a digital unit, but cannot take one, until the situation is resolved. While VOSA may be prepared to take a pragmatic approach and view things on a case-by-case basis, there is still the risk that the operator will be prosecuted.


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