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.
Digital tachographs allow for easier analysis, monitoring and control of drivers' hours by operators and the enforcement authorities.
The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) 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 Department for Infrastructure (DfI) guides for more information:
A weekly record sheet template for recording driver’s hours under NI domestic rules is available at:
Changes to the retained EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules
The EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules have changed. Key changes include:
- a necessity for drivers’ to ‘return home’ every four 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 and prepare to meet these rules.
More guidance clarifying DVA’s enforcement policy for acceptable records of other work can be found at:
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 needed for the proper operation of approved tachograph centres can be found at the link below:
For digital tachograph smart card queries contact the DVA digital tachograph section, at the number in the link below:
For tachograph centre approval queries contact the DVA enforcement section, at the number in the link below: