Generally, a digital Tachograph Vehicle Unit (VU) needs to be fitted to goods vehicles with a legal weight of over 3.5 tonnes (including any trailer) and passenger vehicles with more than nine seats (including the driver's) and in either case they were first registered on or after May 2006.
Aim of digital tachograph cards
Generally a digital driver tachograph card must be used in all vehicles fitted with a digital VU. This is aimed at creating a new system which is less vulnerable to fraud.
The biggest difference between the analogue tachograph and the digital tachograph is the use of a smart card instead of the record sheets (often called charts, discs) used in analogue tachographs.
There are four cards (collectively known as digital tachograph cards) that are used by the digital tachograph system:
- driver card - used by drivers
- company card - for use by the operator
- workshop card - available only to approved calibration centres
- control card - available only to Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) enforcement officers and Police for carrying out checks
How to apply for a digital tachograph driver card
The driver card is a plastic card similar in size to a photocard driving licence, with a microchip in it.
As a light goods vehicle (LGV) or bus driver, if you think you will need to drive a vehicle fitted with a digital VU, you will need to apply for a digital tachograph driver card, which are valid for a period of five years from issue.
To apply for one you’ll need to:
- fill in a digital tachograph driver card application D777 (NI)
- send a fee of £32.00, payable by cheque or postal order
- include one colour passport-sized photograph
- send all to DVA, Digital Tachographs, Driver Licensing at the address at: DVA - driver licensing contact page
Further information on digital tachograph driver card applications is available at: Digital tachograph driver cards
Digital tachograph cards have the same photograph criteria as driving licences, details can be found at the link below:
If your name or address has changed, you will also need to send your licence together with your digital tachograph driver card application at the same time.
A change of name needs a DL1 and ID. The link below contains further information on how to change your name or address:
You should not drive a bus or lorry fitted with a digital VU without first obtaining a digital tachograph driver card.
The company card is a plastic card similar in size to a photocard driving licence, with a microchip in it.
Like the driver card it is valid for a period of five years, but rather than being used for driver activities, the company card is only for the control and monitoring of digital tachograph information stored within the digital VUs.
Further information on digital tachograph company card applications is available below:
The workshop card is a plastic card similar in size to a photocard driving licence, with a microchip in it.
The workshop card is only issued to individually nominated technicians based at a particular approved tachograph centre. This card is used to activate, install, calibrate and carry out inspections of digital tachographs and the workshop card is valid for a period of one year.
To apply for a workshop card you’ll need to:
- fill in a D778(NI) digital tachograph workshop card form, which you can only get by calling 028 90254 177 or 028 90254 118
- fill in the form including your workshop address and centre seal number
- send it to DVA at the address on the D778(NI) application form