Technology used for tachograph fraud is becoming more complex and sophisticated

Published Tue, 02/02/2016 - 07:31

Despite more stringent measures in European legislation to combat tachograph tampering, especially in the field of technology, the Dutch and Belgian traffic services currently detect an increasing number of technologically very refined manipulations. These manipulations of the tachograph systems are such that they can only be realized by technical experts.

Manipulated tachograph systems are used to enable drivers to be on the road for more hours than legally permitted. In short, drivers are moving while the tachographs registers rest periods. It goes without saying that these situations may have serious consequences for traffic safety.

Tired lorry drivers in traffic are undesirable.

Here are some examples of manipulations detected in the past few weeks.

Polish vehicle: if the standard pulse generator – the link between vehicle and tachograph – is disconnected, the tachograph does not receive a speed signal and registers a rest period. In principle, the disconnection is automatically reported in the tachograph, but installation of a so-called dummy in the system can manipulate this function and prevent the report.

Lithuanian vehicle: a dummy – a second pulse generator – operable by remote control had been installed. During a seven-week period, manipulations were detected in four of the same company’s vehicles.

Portuguese vehicle: this vehicle was also fitted with a second pulse generator, which was activated via CanBus. Operation of the ignition lock and the accelerator activated the dummy. During the inspection it emerged that the driver was keeping a written log of the kilometres actually driven. The difference between the kilometres registered by the tachograph in the vehicle and the kilometres actually driven was no less than 22,700km.

Romanian vehicle: manipulated pulse generator (dummy included in the pulse generator), activated by remote control.

Dutch officers drove on the new A4 motorway and saw two men driving a truck. "I gave them a follow-me sign and did a roadside check on the parking. During the inspection I found out the tachograph registered rest for over 14 hours while driving.

"The passenger stated that the police in Germany said the tachograph needed to be repaired. He stated that the tachograph was broken. I asked both men to take a look at me again… Do you see a big red nose??? Do you see huge long shoes??? The answer in both cases was: "No." I shared my conclusion with both men: “That means I'm not Bozo The Clown!”

"After a brief and clear explanation of who I was, the driver spoke the truth to me. He showed me the remote control and stated that by using it he could register rest instead of driving in his tachograph. He showed me briefly how to use it. Striking was that the driver also switched on a button on the dashboard. The driver stated that he didn’t know why, but that this switch was necessary to make the device work properly. The button which was used, is normally intended to switch on or off the light box on top of the car.

"After this we went to the Volvo garage, to find out what was built in and where it was built in. Three hours later we found out this: In the wiring inside the A-pillar at the passenger side of the truck was a chip (receiver) built in that reacted to the remote control. This chip was put in the wire that transmits the speed signal from the transmitter to the tachograph. In this manner, the signal was interrupted. It in fact workes in the same way as using a magnet on the transmitter. When using a magnet, and this chip, an error code is generated in the motor management system.  

"The error code is generated because the tachograph indicates rest/no driving and ABS indicates driving/moving. By turning the switch on the dashboard, the ABS was put offline. This means that both the ABS, as well as the tachograph indicate and register that the vehicle is not driving/moving. So therefore there is no error code generated in the motormanagementsystem. The mechanic told me that this is called the Hungarian method."