An approved tachograph is the required instrument by which the activities of drivers subject to the EU or AETR drivers' hours rules, and the vehicle's speed, distance and time are recorded. There are two main types of tachograph - analogue and digital. The only exception is when driving a vehicle engaged in the collecting of sea coal. In this one case you are subject to the EU rules on drivers' hours but do not need a tachograph.
The resulting record is to be used to monitor compliance with rules on drivers' hours. The rules on using the tachograph are contained in Regulation (EC) 3821/85 (as amended), and these depend on whether the vehicle is fitted with an analogue or digital tachograph. These rules must be observed by both drivers and operators of vehicles that fall within the scope of Regulation (EC) 561/2006 or the AETR rules.
Vehicles first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with a digital tachograph. Those vehicles registered before that date can be fitted with either analogue or digital equipment.
Analogue tachograph recordings are made by a stylus cutting traces into a wax -coated chart. Three separate styluses mark recordings of speed, distance travelled and the driver's activity (known as the 'mode'). The inner part is used by the driver to write details of his name, location of start of journey, end location, date and odometer readings.
The reverse of tachograph chart normally contains an area for recording manual entries and details of other vehicles driven during the period covered.
Drivers are responsible for correctly operating the instrument in order to accurately and fully record their activities. Specifically, drivers must:
► verify, before using an instrument, that it is correctly calibrated via the attached plaques and ensure that the time displayed is set to the official time of the country in which the vehicle is registered;
► carry enough charts for the whole journey, including spare charts in case any become damaged or dirty;
► use a second chart if a chart is damaged while in use and attach this one to the first chart on completion. There are other occasions when use of a second chart in a 24 - hour period is unavoidable, namely when a driver changes to a vehicle with an incompatible tachograph to the chart in use, or he changes vehicle so many times that all the details cannot be accommodated on one chart;
► ensure that the correct type of chart is being used for the specific model of tachograph in use and that enough spare charts are carried;
► not use the charts to cover longer than 24 hours;
►enter centrefield details at the first use of the chart, when changing vehicles and when completing the use of the chart;
► correctly operate the mode switch in order to accurately record their activities;
► make manual entries on the chart in respect of their activities away from the vehicle, where the rules have been exceeded in an emergency, or to correct a recording;
► make manual entries when the equipment malfunctions and report any such malfunctions to the operator or employer;
► return used charts to the operator within 42 days. This requirement must be complied with even when a driver changes employer;
► permit an Authorised Examiner or police officer to examine the tachograph instrument;
► not remove the chart from the instrument before the end of their duty period unless authorised to do so. The rules are not specific on who can authorise removal of the chart, but cases where charts can be removed include:
- a change of vehicle;
- to make manual entries in the event of an emergency, equipment malfunction etc; and
► be able to produce at the roadside:
- charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days;
- the driver's digital smart card if they hold one
Time tips: Make sure the time is correct for am or pm - both times are displayed identically on an analogue tachograph's 12 - hour clock face. Analogue tachographs must continue to display the correct time - which for the UK includes adjustments for British Summer Time.
Activity record: Most analogue tachograph instruments in use are 'automatic'. This means that the instrument will automatically record activity as driving when the vehicle is moving and defaults to the mode switch setting when the vehicle stops.
Driver cards: Drivers who have been issued with a driver card are committing an offence if they are unable to produce this during a roadside inspection, even if they only drive analogue tachograph - equipped vehicles.
A driver is required to enter the following information on the centrefield of tachograph chart that he is using to record his activities:
► surname and first name (the law does not stipulate which order the names are put - but your employer may have a policy on this);
► the date and place where the use of the record sheet begins and ends. The year may be written in full or abbreviated - so both '2007' and '07' are acceptable;
► the registration number(s) of vehicle(s) driven (which should be entered before departing on a new vehicle);
► the time at which any change of vehicle takes place; and
► the odometer readings:
- at the start of the first journey; - at the end of the last journej; and
- at the time of any change of vehicle, recording the readings from both vehicles.
Note that the 'total kms' field does not have to be completed.
It is not acceptable for written entries to extend outside the centrefield area if they might interfere with chart recordings. If, for example, the driver's name or a place name is so long it must be abbreviated in order to avoid any possible interference with the recordings, the full name should be noted on the reverse of the chart.
Tachograph charts are required to provide space on their reverse side to record the additional information required in connection with changes of vehicles.
Drivers must produce a record of their whole daily working period. So when drivers are unable to operate the instrument, have not been allocated a vehicle, or are working away from the vehicle and have had to remove their tachograph chart, they must manually record their activities on the chart. Manual entries may also be needed at other times - for example, if the tachograph develops a fault, or in the event of an emergency. Employers may also ask drivers to indicate on a chart where their duty (or rest) begins and ends, so that they can ensure that a full record has been submitted.
Most analogue charts have a specified place to make manual entries (usually on the reverse). However, manual entries can be made anywhere on the chart provided that they are clear and do not obliterate other recordings.
Digital tachographs work by storing digital data on the driver and vehicle in their own memory and separately on a driver's smart card. Transport undertakings must periodically download this data from the digital tachograph (known as the Vehicle Unit or UV) and from driver cards and analyse the information to ensure that the rules have been complied with.
It is a legal requirement for a digital tachograph - equipped vehicle driven in scope of EU rules that the driver must use a driver card.
If the vehicle is used without a card being inserted, the system will not prevent the vehicle from being driven, but the vehicle has been used without a card.
Drivers may only be in possession of one driver's smart card, and must never use anyone else's card or allow another driver to use their card.
When driving a vehicle that is equipped with a digital tachograph, drivers should:
► ensure that the instrument is calibrated by inspecting the calibration plaque or interrogating the instrument;
► ensure that their driver card is inserted into the correct slot (driver in slot 1, second driver in slot 2) from the moment they take over the vehicle, and that it is ready for use, before the vehicle is moved;
► record the country in which they begin and end their daily work period. This must always be carried out at the time of the start or end of the period, even if the card is not to be withdrawn or inserted (for example if the card is left in overnight);
► carry sufficient supplies of type - approved print roll on board the vehicle so that a printout can be produced at an enforcement officer's request;
► ensure that all duties conducted since the driver card was last removed from a tachograph are manually entered onto the card record, using the manual entry facility on the tachograph;
► ensure that the tachograph is working properly;
► ensure, that through the daily working period the mode button is used correctly to record other work, periods of availability, and rest and breaks;
► take reasonable steps to protect their card from dirt and damage;
► use only their own personalized driver card to record driving and other activities they undertake;
► ensure that the card is not removed from the tachograph during the working day unless otherwise authorised. The rules are not specific on who can authorise removal of the card, but cases where cards can be removed include a change of vehicle, or ehere another driver will be using the vehicle during a break or rest period;
► on multi - manning operations ensure that their driver card is placed in the correct slot (slot 1 when they are acting as driver and slot 2 when co - driver on a double - manned journey), when they take over driving;
► make their cards available for downloading by their employer; and
► be able to produce at the roadside:
- charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days; and
- the driver's digital smart card if they hold one.
Mode switch default: Note that digital tachograph will default to recording 'other work' for driver 1 and 'availability' for driver 2 when the vehicle stops, and drivers must use the mode switch correctly to ensure that rest and break periods are recorded correctly.