Tachographs are devices legally required by European Union (EU) Regulation No 561/2006 165/2014 which record information about driving time, speed and distance. You will need a tachograph fitted to your vehicle if you are travelling in regions subject to EU OR European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) rules. There are two types of tachograph devices; analogue and digital. All commercial vehicles registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with a digital tachograph, those registered before that date require at least an analogue device to be fitted.
Analogue tachograph devices record the speed, distance travelled and driver activity by a stylus cutting its recording into a wax coated disc, shown above. Drivers are responsible for operating the tachograph and must ensure:
• That the tachograph is correctly calibrated and the correct time for the region of the journey has been set.
• That they have enough tachograph charts to record their entire journey and have spares in case of damage.
• They use a second tachograph chart if the first is damaged and attach the two together.
• That the correct type of chart is being used for the specific model of tachograph.
• That a single tachograph chart is not used to cover a period longer than 24 hours.
• Enter the details on the centre field correctly when changing vehicles and when finishing the recorded job.
• They manually input any activity carried out away from the vehicle on the chart.
• They make manual entries if the device malfunctions.
• They report any devices malfunctions to the operator or employer.
• They return all used charts to their operator within 42 days.
• They allow for authorised examiners to examine the device.
• They do not remove the chart before the end of their duty.
• They must be able to produce charts at the road side covering the previous 28 days activity as well as their driver’s digital smart card.
Digital tachographs store digital data on the driver and vehicle in as well as on a driver’s smart card. It is a legal requirement that all drivers who have a digital tachograph fitted to their vehicle also have a digital driver card. Drivers can only have one digital driver card for which they are responsible and must never use another driver’s card, or allow another driver to use theirs.
Drivers using a digital tachograph are responsible for it and should make sure:
• The device is calibrated correctly.
• Their digital driver’s card is inserted correctly before the vehicle is moving.
• They record the country they began their journey.
• They have enough approved print roll in the device.
• That the tachograph device works.
• They use the mode button correctly to record different activities throughout their journey.
• On multi-manned journeys that their digital cards are in the correct slot depending on whether they are driving or as passenger.
• They make their cards accessible to their employer.
• They are able to produce charts at the road side covering the previous 28 days activity as well as their driver’s digital smart card.
HGV & PSV Tachograph Penalties
The DVSA (formerly VOSA) has the power to enforce sanctions for breaches of the rules on tachographs and drivers’ hours which allow them to:
• Inspect vehicles.
• Prohibit and direct vehicles.
• Investigate breaches of regulations.
• Start, conduct and appear in proceedings at a Magistrates court.
There are a number of possible sanctions for infringements on the rules on tachographs:
For minor infringements on the rules such as those committed by accident or due to inexperience a verbal warning may be made.
Offence Rectification Notice
These are notices given to HGV or PSV operators for non-safety related infringements which allow for 21 days to rectify the issue, otherwise prosecution may be sought.
This sanction is given for many infringements of the rules on tachographs and driver hours and when issued means the offending vehicle cannot be driven for a specified period until the issue is resolved.
If a serious infringement to the rules has been made and if it is in the public interest a prosecution against a driver or operator may be sought.
Referral to the Traffic Commissioner
An individual driver or operator may have their case referred to a Traffic Commissioner instead of, or as well as seeking a prosecution. The Traffic Commissioner will then decide whether any administrative action is required for the case.