Digital tachographs

All new lorries registered on or after 1 May 2006 were installed with digital tachograph Vehicle Units (VUs). These vehicles may only be used along with a personal digital tachograph driver card, enabling driving data to be stored and accessed more conveniently and safely.

Aim of digital tachograph cards

The mandatory use of personal digital tachograph cards in all vehicles fitted with a digital VU, is aimed at creating a new system less vulnerable to illegal acts by users to distort tachograph data.

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, tachos) 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 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 LGV or bus driver, if you think you will need to drive a vehicle fitted with a VU, you will need to apply for a digital tachograph driver card, which are valid for a period of five years from issue.

In order to apply for one you’ll need to:

  • complete a D777(NI) digital tachograph driver card form, which may be obtained from MOT test centres or by emailing dva@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
  • submit 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
Castlerock Road
Waterside
Coleraine
BT51 3TD

Further information on digital tachograph driver card applications is available below:

Photograph information

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 submit your licence together with your digital tachograph driver card application at the same time. A change of name requires a DL1 and ID. The link below contains further information on how to change your name or address:

Please note: you should not drive a bus or lorry fitted with a VU without first obtaining a digital tachograph driver card.

Company cards

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 solely 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:

Workshop cards

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.

In order to apply for a workshop card you’ll need to:

  • complete a D778(NI) digital tachograph workshop card form, which can only be obtained by calling 028 90254 177 or 028 90254 118
  • complete the form including your workshop address and centre seal number
  • send all to:
DVA
Driver & Vehicle Agency
Enforcement Administration Section
148-158 Corporation Street
Belfast
BT1 3DH

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