Tachograph and drivers' hours

Tachographs record information about driving time, drivers' break and rest time, as well as time spent by the driver doing other work.. They’re used to make sure drivers and employers follow the rules on drivers’ hours. If you drive a goods vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle, and the EC Drivers Hours rules apply to you, then you must follow the rules set out in the guides below.

Changes introduced as a consequence of Covid-19
Tachographs installations are required to be calibrated periodically.
Due to the exceptional circumstances linked to the COVID-19 outbreak, that requirement had been previously relaxed.
Under that relaxation, the expiry date of existing tachograph installations had been extended for a further three months. That temporary three month relaxation applied from 00.01 on Friday 1 May 2020 and was expected to run until 23.59 on Friday 31 July 2020. An EU regulation has now superseded the previous relaxation and  provides that tachograph inspections which would be required between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020, must now be carried out no later than six months from their original due date. 

Needing a tachograph

In general, goods vehicles with a maximum permissible weight over 3.5 tonnes (including any trailer) and passenger vehicles with more than nine seats (including the driver's) need to be fitted with tachograph recording equipment. For vehicles first registered prior to 1 May 2006 this can be an analogue tachograph.  Vehicles registered on or after this date need a digital tachograph.

Analogue tachographs have been in use for many years, however, the EU now wants to maximise the advantage of new technology to ensure the security and integrity of the data recorded by the tachograph. The introduction of digital tachographs in May 2006 made the system less vulnerable to illegal acts by users trying to manipulate or suppress the tachograph data.

Digital tachographs will allow for easier analysis, monitoring and regulation of drivers' hours by operators and the enforcement authorities.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) currently checks up to 25,000 tachograph records per year.

Rules

There are three sets of rules that could apply to your journey:

  • EU rules
  • European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) rules
  • NI domestic rules

The rules that will apply depend on a range of factors. Read the following guides for more information:

Tachograph Centres

Tachographs can only be fitted, checked, repaired and calibrated by a tachograph centre approved by the DVA. A list of approved tachograph centres where you can have your tachograph fitted, checked, repaired and calibrated is available below:

Information on how to become an approved tachograph centre and what is required for the correct operation of approved tachograph centres can be found at the link below:

For digital tachograph smart card queries:

  • contact DVA Digital Tachograph Section on 0300 200 7861

For tachograph workshop approval queries:

  • contact DVA Enforcement Section on 028 9025 4127 or 07795 558647.

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