New Fleet Legislation Impacts Panel Vans

A new EU Drivers Hours and Tachograph Law has just gone into effect, and it will impact owners of panel vans, 4x4 pickups and sports utility vehicles that use their vehicles for towing for business. The new law indicates that vehicles with a Gross Mass over 3,500kg must be fitted with a tachograph that will record the driver and vehicle’s activities. Gross Mass is calculated as the weight of the vehicle as well as the trailer towed behind it. In order to be in compliance, drivers not only need to have the tachograph, but also obey hours regulations. Unfortunately, not all of the smaller vehicles that now fall under the requirement are able to be fitted with the devices. Both van manufacturers and tachometer manufacturers need to find solutions.

This law was not an issue previously, as until recently vehicles Gross Mass was lower than 3,490kg. But as vehicles have improved in their capabilities and are now able to tow caravans, the change was deemed to be necessary.

Private vehicles being used to tow caravans are not impacted by the law, but if you are a business carrying extra equipment or supplies via caravan behind your van, the requirements apply. The fleet industry, which often uses vans to tow caravans, should note that if a tow bar is being attached to a vehicle then the tachometer needs to be installed as well.

Car manufacturers that have not previously needed to be able to equip these devices onto their vehicles are working to find a fix in order to prevent drivers from being open to prosecution.