Using a digital tachograph is the best way to keep track of driver’s daily driving hours and ensure that all important tachograph rules are being adhered to. However, there are certain tachograph rules that all operators and drivers should be aware of, and keep in mind during their daily driving time and even during their resting hours.
Tachograph rules surrounding cards
Your driver’s card is a core element of your digital tachograph and there are several rules that are card-centric that you should remember:
- You must always use a card when operating your vehicle. If your card is lost or stolen, then you are required to take a printout at the start of and end of a shift. Be aware that the VU will still record that there wasn’t a card present and continue to record all activities, which could be seen as “undeclared duty”.
- One smart card per driver – One of the most crucial tachograph rules is that you cannot share your smart card with other drivers.
- The DVLA must have correct and up to date contact information for you. If any information is changed (like your address), you need to let them know ASAP.
- Cards should be in the correct slot the moment you enter the vehicle and definitely before you begin to drive the vehicle, with driver 1’s card in the card 1 slot and driver 2’s card in slot 2 where applicable. Do not remove the card during the working day, unless there is a vehicle or driver change during that day.
Always be prepared and organised
It pays to be prepared when operating your vehicle. There are lots of simple things that can catch you out when using your tachograph. So, the following recommendations might help:
- Always record the country where you begin your work period and the country where you end your work period. This must always be carried out at the start or end of the period, even if the card is not taken out or put in.
- Ensure that you use the correct mode button during the working period to record other work, Periods of Availability, Rest and Breaks.
- Always carry sufficient supplies of type-approved print paper on board the vehicle. This is so that a printout can be produced at an enforcement officer’s request.
- If you are stopped by the roadside, You must be able to produce records for the current day (and the previous 28 calendar days). This includes any analogue charts and printouts for this period.
Driving hours and breaks
Avoid exhaustion by sticking to industry regulations when driving your vehicle. Here are some key points:
- The daily maximum driving time is 9 hours. However, you can drive up to 10 hours not more than twice per week. The maximum weekly driving time cannot be more than 56 hours and the two-week limit is 90 hours over any two-consecutive weekly periods.
- For every 4.5 hours of driving, a driver must take a 45-minute break, unless they take a daily or weekly rest period. This could be comprised of a single period of 45 minutes or a single period of 15 minutes, followed by a single period of 30 minutes.
Maximum and minimum rest time
Tachograph rules surrounding rest times are strict. Making sure that drivers get the right amount of rest is crucial, again to avoid exhaustion, which can lead to accidents.
- A driver should try to achieve a regular daily rest of 11 hours of each daily driving period. The rest period could be taken in one period of 3 hours and one period of 9 hours. All daily rests must be completed within a 24-hour window of the previous weekly or daily rest period.
- The minimum amount of reduced daily rest each day is 9 hours. This can only be done not more than 3 times in between weekly rest.
- A regular daily rest period may be taken on a train or ferry journey. However, it cannot be less than 11 hours and may be interrupted not more than twice only, for one hour in total.
- If there are two drivers, each driver should take a new daily rest period of no less than 9 hours. This must be taken within 30 hours of the end of the last rest period.
- Daily rest periods may be taken in the vehicle if there is an adequate sleeping area.
- The minimum amount of rest, per driver, each week is between 24 hours (reduced weekly rest) and 45 hours weekly (regular rest). This must begin no later than 6 days after the driver’s last weekly rest period. In any two-week period, each driver must get at least one 45-hour rest period and one 24-hour period.
- Any weekly rest reductions must be fully compensated for at another rest period.
Tachograph data downloads
There are two types of digital tachograph data downloads: downloads from the vehicle (VU) and downloads from the driver’s card. These operate across two different data download criteria:
- For vehicle data downloads, you must download the data at least every 90 days and immediately before transferring control of the use of the vehicle to another person (for example, when the vehicle is sold or un-hired). It must also be done immediately when permanently removing the unit from service in the vehicle if the unit is malfunctioning and it is still possible to download data and in any circumstances where the data may be fully erased.
- You must download the data from driver cards every 28 days. Data downloads should also be undertaken immediately when any driver ceases to be employed, if the card is damaged or malfunctioning, if there is a possibility that the data could be erased and where it is only possible to download the card via a vehicle unit (for example, if the card is stuck), immediately before stopping the use of the vehicle.
- It is vital to ensure that no data is ever lost. The vehicle can hold up to 365 days’ worth of data and the card will hold 28 days or more of data.
- You can analyse your data using our OPTAC3 tachograph analysis software. With a selection of 40+ driver and vehicle reports, you can instantly analyse your data, and rest assured that our automatic infringement checking will ensure you stay legal at all times. Our software makes tachograph analysis simple.
Should you want some more information, you can head over to the government website to review all the current tachograph rules or get in touch with our friendly customer service team who would be happy to help.