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.
Needing a tachograph
In general, goods vehicles with a maximum allowed 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. If your vehicle was first registered before 1 May 2006 this can be an analogue tachograph. If your vehicle was registered on or after this date, it will need a digital 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 allow for easier analysis, monitoring and control of drivers' hours by operators and the enforcement authorities.
The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) currently checks up to 25,000 tachograph records per year.
There are three sets of rules that could apply to your journey:
- retained EU rules
- European Agreement about 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:
- Drivers' hours and tachographs - goods vehicles - DFI website
- Drivers' hours and tachographs - passenger vehicles - DFI website
- Drivers’ hours and tachographs – Weekly record sheet
Changes to the retained EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules
The EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules changed on 20 August 2020.
Key changes include:
- a necessity for drivers’ to ‘return home’ every 4 weeks
- a ban on taking regular weekly rest periods in the drivers’ vehicle
- a new definition of ‘non-commercial carriage’
- more flexibility on the scheduling of the rest periods for some drivers on international carriage of goods
- new rules for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by ferry or by rail
- a new necessity to keep a full record of all other work
If you are an operator or driver, you should review the changes to the current rules - EUR-Lex website and prepare to comply.
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 proper 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