Did you know you can disable a Tachograph with a magnet?  If you didn’t, you do now and the UK’s Road Haulage Association is calling for a step-change in enforcement against lorry drivers who use magnets to hide how many hours they are driving.

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“Penalties are nothing like adequate,” RHA Chief Executive Geoff Dunning told Tachoblog. “Magnets disrupt the signal from the truck to the tachograph, allowing them to flout the law by driving for long periods which are not recorded. This creates a real danger to other road users and disrupts the haulage market for reputable firms.

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“It is quite rare for British drivers to use magnets. The consequences are severe for both the driver, who is likely to lose his vocational licence and in all likelihood for the employer, who may lose his licence to operate trucks. In short, they may both be put out of the industry.

“The situation is very different in respect of drivers from abroad. The Central Motorway Police Group has revealed that 30% of non-UK registered trucks subjected to targeted checks in the first quarter of this year were found to be using a magnet.

“It is common for such foreign drivers to get away with a £200 fixed penalty, imposed at the roadside for the lesser offence of failing to keep a record. This is an inadequate deterrent. We understand why fixed penalties are used – it is easier than the alternative, which is to have a police officer arrest the driver and take him to court. That happens in some cases but not nearly enough. Even if the driver is brought to court and found guilty, the penalty from magistrates is often woefully inadequate for such a serious offence. We are urging VOSA and the police to take the driver to court as a matter of course when there is evidence that he has used a magnet; and for the courts to then impose a heavy fine and instant disqualification on the driver if he is guilty.

“We need to send an unequivocal message to foreign drivers and their employers that the use of magnets to cheat the drivers’ hours rules will not be tolerated in the UK,” Geoff Dunning concluded.

And if you want to know how to disable the Tachograph with a magnet, we’re sorry to say that Tachoblog won’t be telling you!

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