The weight of 3,500kg is extremely important as vehicles with a permitted *Gross Mass in excess of 3,500kg are now required by European Law to obey EU Drivers Hours and Tachograph Law if the vehicle is used in connection with ’hire or reward’ or put simply….commercial use.
Initially this will involve fitting a tachograph unit that will record data around the activities of the driver and vehicle unit to all vehicles exceeding the 3,500kg Gross Train Mass. It is estimated that all of the vans on UK roads with tow bars fitted, less than 1% have a tachograph fitted.
*Gross Train Mass is defined as the weight of the vehicle, the trailer towed behind it and the weight imposed on the two.
In order to comply with the law, a vehicle used commercially that exceeds the Gross Train Mass must obey drivers’ hour’s regulations. Unfortunately, neither the vehicle manufacturers nor the tachograph manufacturers have a solution for tachographs in smaller vehicles. The car manufacturers have yet to produce a unit that can be fitted to their vehicles.Smaller Vehicles we are referring to are:
- Pickup Trucks
Until recently all passenger cars had a Gross Train Mass of below 3,490kg and hence fell below the threshold of 3,500kg. With the advance of technology a lot of these smaller vehicles are being used in commercial settings and if a tow bar has been fitted, then are used for the transportation of goods in trailers. This means that the vehicle falls within *EC 561/2006 regulations.
* EC 561/2006 Article 2“This regulation shall apply to the carriage by road: (a) of goods where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer, or semi-trailer, exceeds 3,5 tonnes”
If you tow trailers in connection with your business you should be raising the issue with your vehicle supplier, if you are using the vehicle commercially and exceed 3,500kg and you do not comply with the law, you will potentially be looking at prosecution. Also remember you will need an O-Licence to operate the vehicle too.
Below are some vehicle types that have recently been included and will require tachographs:
- Almost all the panel vans
- 4 x 4 pick-ups
- Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV)
If you tow for business using any of the above, you need a tachograph unit to document your activities and fall under EU Drivers Hours.