However, drivers have constantly found ways to overcome tachographs to give them extra driving time. It is somewhat understandable. Most people, if they could drive an extra hour in order to make a ferry that gets them home rather than parking up at a truck stop, would be tempted to do the same!
Original analogue, paper tachographs were notoriously easy to overcome. So legislation moved to enforce the use of digital tachos. But even they could be fudged using something as simple as a magnet. The most recent ones are harder to tamper with, but not impossible. Drivers will go as far as to install manipulated pulse generators that with the click of a button on a remote control, will override the speed signals coming to the tacho so that the unit thinks the vehicle is stationary rather than moving. Known in the industry as the ‘Hungarian Method’, it can carry stiff penalties for the driver and the company in question.
The reality is that tachographs are a hangover from an era before technology could offer a better and more robust solution. But let’s not ignore the issue of tampering, which is becoming less common. Let’s also not forget the many millions of commercial vehicles on the road that don’t use tachographs. So rather let’s look at the physical aspects of the issue.
Humans are fallible. We are not robots, so our performance can be affected. A bad night’s sleep, illness and stress can cause us to feel fatigued to the point of not being fit to drive. Yet a driver presenting themselves for work after a sleepless night is basically seen as ‘fit to drive’. If they are driving a vehicle with a tacho, it’s set to zero and they can now drive for hours before needing to take a break.
Well, that system is available and can be retrofitted to any vehicle of any type. It is part of the CameraMatics ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). So let’s look at how it works:
This article investigates how the mobile detection system works and the key benefits of implementing it in your fleet.
The main element of the fatigue detection system is the ADAS driver-facing infra-red camera. This special camera is mounted in a specific point on the dash that gives it a full view of the driver's face and head, but does not impede their view of the road. Please note this is different to the dome in-cab cameras that many of our customers choose as part of their video safety configuration.
The Infrared camera creates a high-contrast image that is sent to the main ADAS unit to process in real-time. The camera has a very narrow view that focuses solely on the driver's face, with a little margin that allows for their head movement. This minimises intrusion into their workspace.
As outlined above, a yawn, eyes closing or head dropping will cause a verbal alert to be issued to the driver (as shown in the videos below). These warnings can avoid the issue of a driver falling asleep at the wheel and having a serious accident.
However, the most interesting and useful aspect for fleet managers is the ability to receive alerts when one of these warnings is triggered. This is enabled when the ADAS system is installed in conjunction with the CameraMatics system. This means that the fleet manager can ignore 1 or 2 yawn alerts, but if they receive multiple yawn alerts from the same driver, they can then call to make sure the driver is OK and happy to continue. A critical eyes closed alert would require immediate attention - a fleet manager could intervene to check if the driver was unwell, for instance.
Additionally, the related video is also recorded for each alert. This means there is a visual record that can confirm the alert. It also allows the fleet manager to monitor drivers' performance in real-time and take appropriate action, which may include training or similar actions.
To find out more about the CameraMatics ADAS system please do Arrange a Consultation with one of our specialists. You can also contact your local team who would be only happy to help and advise based on your business vehicle safety needs.