Fleet Management

Smart tachograph 2: The new tachograph regulations are coming in 2024




Turnkey Solutions

Due to new tachograph regulations as part of the EU’s mobility package, trucks and commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in cross-border traffic will have to be equipped with the new smart tachograph version 2 between 2024 and 2026. With the digital remote readout of your smart tachograph 2, you are able to continuously optimize tachograph compliance with legal requirements and reduce the time and costs of your fleet management at the same time.

Smart tachograph 2: The new generation of digital tachographs

Smart or intelligent tachographs are the latest version of digital tachographs. Like their predecessors, smart tachographs record rest periods, speeds and kilometer readings. Additionally, smart tachographs also offer increased safety and efficiency as well as open interfaces for the integration of additional services.

Since June 2019, all newly registered vehicles have been equipped with the 1st generation of smart tachographs, also known as smart tacho 1. From 21 August 2023, the smart tachograph version 2 will be installed in all new registrations over 3.5 tonnes.

Variants of tachographs in the EU

The EU (still) differentiates between analogue and digital tachographs:

Analogue tachographs: These tachographs allow drivers to select the respective operating mode via a switch when the vehicle is not moving. These modes and their duration are recorded on a paper diagram, a so-called tachograph disc. The installation of analogue monitoring systems in new registrations was mandatory until April 2006.

Digital tachographs: Relevant driver and vehicle data is recorded digitally in the vehicle's memory unit and on the driver card using an electronic device. If you registered a vehicle between May 2006 to June 2019, a 1st generation digital tachograph was standard.

The EU's Mobility Package I: Introduction of the smart tachograph 2

The EU's Mobility Package I was adopted in July 2020 and aims to standardize and improve legislation within the road freight transport in the EU.

The main changes include new regulations regarding market access for transport companies, minimum rest periods and maximum working hours for drivers as well as the introduction of new tachograph regulations, specifically the smart tachograph 2.

EU regulations relating to the smart tachograph 2

An important part of the EU’s mobility package is the introduction of the newest generation of intelligent tachographs, the so-called smart tachograph 2.

The EU Regulations No 165/2014 and No 2021/1228 provide the legal basis for digital tachographs in this regard. Regulation No 165/2014 introduced intelligent tachographs that include a GNSS connection (Global Navigation Satellite System), several options for remote early detection and an interface to intelligent transport systems.

The implementing Regulation (EU) No 2021/1228 eventually updated the technical requirements for these devices and introduced a second version of the smart tachograph. New functions include the automatic recording of border crossings and loading or unloading operations, an extended storage capacity and improved security features such as the authentication of GNSS signals and more secure radio transmission for remote enquiries.

Regulation (EU) No 2021/1228 also defines the legal deadlines for upgrading to the smart tachograph 2.

Timeline for the transition to smart tachograph 2

The deadlines are crucial to ensure conformity with current traffic regulations and the new tachograph rules from 2019 and 2020 to fully utilize the advantages of the smart tachograph 2.

For cross-border traffic, the obligation to convert to smart tachograph version 2 is as follows:

A1 Smart Tacho 2 Timeline v2

New functions of the smart tachograph 2

From 21 August 2023, all newly registered trucks and commercial vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more must be equipped with smart tachograph 2 to fulfill the new tachograph laws. This upgrade not only serves to improve vehicle monitoring, but also safety, protection against manipulation and efficiency in the transport sector.

Smart tachograph 2 differs from previous digital tachographs in terms of the following key functions:

  • Automatic recording of location data: Location data is automatically recorded every time the vehicle is loaded, unloaded or crosses borders. This function is intended to ensure fair competition and prevent illegal practices such as undeclared cabotage journeys.

  • Purpose of the journey: It is noted whether the vehicle is being used to transport goods or passengers.

  • Remote transmission of data: To support roadside checks, smart tachograph 2 transmits data that could indicate possible manipulation or misuse of the tachograph.

  • Information on exceeding driving times: The recording of data on exceeding the maximum permitted driving times has been newly introduced. Fleet managers can now track working and rest times and breaks more easily.

With the introduction of smart tachograph 2, all relevant vehicle and driver data as well as data to ensure safety are collected automatically and can be accessed quickly if required.

Legal exemption from the smart tachograph 2

EU Regulation No 561/2006 defines certain exemptions from the obligation to use a recording device such as the smart tachograph 2.

These include:

  • Goods transport vehicles with a permitted total weight up to 3.5 tonnes (new from 2026: vehicles up to 2.5 tonnes for cross-border journeys).

  • Passenger transport vehicles with up to 9 seats including driver.

  • Vehicles with a maximum speed of 40 km/h.

  • Specialized breakdown assistance vehicles within a 100 km radius of the location.

  • Vehicles on test drives or for technical developments.

  • Private non-commercial transport vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes.

  • Vehicles over 2.5 tonnes but under 3.5 tonnes for non-commercial purposes if transport is not the driver's main activity.

  • Historic vehicles for non-commercial purposes.

The new smart tachograph 2 with telematics from A1 Digital

The telematics device from A1 Digital was specially developed for the remote reading of tachograph data and for digital fleet management. At the same time, the data is archived in accordance with legal requirements. This eliminates the need for costly garage callbacks to manually read out the data as well as developing processes more efficiently and makes violations of legal requirements a thing of the past.

More about telematics for the remote reading of tachograph data from A1 Digital.

Smart tachograph 2: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1. What is a smart tachograph?

The smart tachograph is a digital device for commercial vehicles that automatically records and stores drivers' driving times, breaks and rest periods. In addition, a smart tachograph supports the fulfilment of the monitoring and safety requirements of the legislator.


2. What is the smart tachograph 2?

The smart tachograph 2 is the new smart tachograph for commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in cross-boarding traffic.

3. What are the functions of the new smart tachograph 2?

Smart tachograph version 2 automatically records border crossings, loading as well as unloading processes, checks GNSS signals for authenticity and enables remote interrogation for preliminary checks by the authorities.

4. Which legal regulations govern the smart tachograph 2?

The smart tachograph 2 is governed by EU Regulations No 165/2014 and No 2021/1228, which define the functions and use of smart tachographs.

5. When is the smart tachograph 2 mandatory?

From 21 August 2023, the smart tachograph 2 will be mandatory for all newly registered trucks and buses over 3.5 tonnes within the EU. From 1 July 2026, smart tachograph version 2 will also be mandatory in commercial vehicles over 2.5 t in cross-border traffic. By the end of 2024, vehicles over 3.5 t in cross-border traffic with an analogue or 1st generation digital tachograph must be equipped with a smart tachograph 2. By 21 August 2025, this requirement will also apply to vehicles with a smart tacho 1.