A forward-thinking Worcester specialist is celebrating its tenth anniversary by helping truck operators gear up for new laws being introduced on digital tachographs.
Blackpole-based Worcester Truck Services (WTS) has invested in a host of special new equipment and staff training to ensure that all new vehicles comply with EU legislation postponed from this year and now likely to be introduced during 2006.
It had been the Government's plan that from August 2005 all new vehicles needing a tachograph - the recording device that is sometimes compared to the 'black box' of an airliner - would have to fit a digital unit, rather than the old paper disk recording unit.
However, digital tachograph suppliers are only now starting to supply the new equipment to commercial vehicle manufacturers, making the August deadline impossible.
Vehicle operators will, however, be able to fit the new digital tachographs on a voluntary basis. It's likely however that fitment will become mandatory in 2006.
Based on Blackpole Trading Estate East, WTS set up its tachograph centre in 1995. General manager Richard Osman says that despite this third delay in making installation mandatory, his staff and workshops are fully equipped to ensure the new equipment can be calibrated and maintained properly.
"The new digital tachographs will mean operators can better manage their truck fleets and control drivers' hours and thus control costs. This has become even more important with the implementation of the EU's latest working time directive for truck drivers introduced last March."
To celebrate its tenth birthday, WTS is offering new customers of its tachograph facility, who sign up for calibration and servicing before the end of September 2005, the opportunity to win a day of hospitality either at Worcester Cricket Club or Worcester Rugby Club.
Worcester Truck Services is a dealer for two of the UK's leading truck franchises, IVECO and MAN ERF and specialises in parts, service and maintenance.
It claims to be the only service centre for both brands within a 20-mile radius of Worcester.
Mr Osman said: "We have ten years experience of working with the existing analogue tachographs that have to be checked or re-calibrated every two years for accuracy. Our new investment enables us stay at the forefront of tachograph calibration and maintenance for the next ten years."
Tachographs - or recording equipment as it is referred to in law - have been in use under current EU legislation for 16 years. The new laws intend to better secure the recording of the driver's duty periods.
Mr Osman added: "The new digital system is less vulnerable to illegal acts by users to distort the data. This will certainly aid road safety and provide a more even commercial playing field between operators."
Unlike the current analogue unit, which records only to a record sheet, the digital units will record to a driver 'smart card' and also hold the information in the vehicle unit.