The logistics industry is suffering from a new EU regulation and the mandatory tachographs currently unavailable.

On the 21st of August 2023, the EU implemented a mandatory regulation regarding all newly registered vehicles featuring a +3.5 mass and carrying goods or passengers. It requires the use of second-generation digital tachographs.

The second-generation devices allow for an instant check of the vehicle’s data trip. With the former tachograph, the authorities had to stop the vehicle to download the data from the device, now they just have to be in its proximity. Data acquisition takes place from a distance as long as the user is close enough to the mean of transportation to find out if the driver has violated the rules, the number of hours spent on the road, and the time spent taking a break or resting.

The regulation’s goal is to minimize accidents due to exhaustion, to safeguard the drivers’ health, and to maximize road safety overall. Unfortunately, there is a relevant issue that comes with it.

Even if the law is already in place in the European Union, the limited number of tachographs available in the market is simply not enough to meet the demand for all the vehicles awaiting enrollment. In Italy, the estimated need for approximately 20.000 smart tachographs has no chance of meeting the vehicles’ registration waiting list. This is only likely to happen around spring 2024, while the EU is not planning to extend the past legislation and postpone the latest requirement.

Obviously, any XYZ firm that has invested in new vehicles and might have already paid for them, signed contracts, and planned its activities will have to stop its operations as its vehicles will not be allowed on the road.

Since the law was implemented by the EU, the Italian Ministry of Transportation could not offer an alternative to the country’s firms as it lacks the authority to allow a waiver. If nothing else, on the 10th of August the Ministry asked the Department of Motor Vehicles and the local authorities to be tolerant enough to accept the registration and circulation of vehicles equipped with the old tachograph.

However, the statements that have come from the Ministry of Transportation do not take into account the following, critical points:

  • who will be in charge of paying for the replacement of the old device with the new one when the tachographs will be available?
  • the Ministry has only asked for tolerance until the end of this year, which as predicted will not be long enough.

Furthermore, there is a lack of homogeneity, as every state has chosen to deal with the ordinance differently, making any prediction impossible when it comes to how the EU will ask for compliance across the continent. The vehicles travelling beyond national borders could ultimately meet huge sanctions or face a full stop until further notice.

The international and European traffic circulation is compromised.

We believe that a truly united EU must take into consideration the actual contingencies and challenges faced by every single state, and most of all think of the real impact of the laws before making them effective. The new tachographs are the perfect example, as even the European tachographs’ manufacturers were never going to be able to produce enough devices to meet the requirements defined by the EU. Every country has inevitably decided to proceed on its own, to know more take a look at the following link (last update: Aug. 28th)

From the compulsory security devices that are now required in urban areas to the Euro 5 traffic circulation restrictions and the limitations to cross Brennero (between Italy and Austria), the obligatory use of smart tachographs is yet another sword of Damocles hanging above logistics firms. The businesses working in our industry are constantly being crippled in planning investments, let alone their activities in the medium-long term.