If you are a truck driver or fleet operator, understanding tachograph regulations can be complicated. To save you from unnecessary fines or driving penalties, we have outlined the rules – from driver’s hours and weekly rest periods, to tachograph downloads and infringements.
This is tachograph rules made easy.
Under EU drivers’ hours rules, truck drivers must use a recognised tachograph to record their vehicle speed, distance and time. By using a digital or analogue tachograph, drivers can prove that they are compliant with drivers’ hours rules.
Due to the UK leaving the EU, there is currently a transition period until the end of 2020, but current tachograph laws will continue to apply during this time.
The rules around drivers’ hours were introduced to maintain road safety by combating fatigue and loss of concentration. Drivers hours regulations state that for anybody driving a goods vehicle or passenger-carrying vehicle, the maximum driving hours are:
- Nine hours per day – this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week
- 56 hours per week
- 90 hours per fortnight
All drivers’ hours must be recorded on a tachograph.
Drivers hours breaks correlate with the maximum driving hours. Drivers hours regulations require that drivers must take:
- 45 minutes break after four hours, 30 minutes driving
If drivers have been on the road for four and a half hours, they must stop and take a minimum 45-minute break. The regulated driver’s hours break applies if it has been uninterrupted driving, or a succession of journeys that total four and a half hours. A regular day for a truck driver would appear like this:
Drivers hours breaks can be split into two sections, the first being a minimum 15 minutes, and the following a minimum 30 minutes – this is known as a ‘split break.’
HGV drivers must also complete their minimum rest each day. The daily rest requirements are:
- At least 11 hours rest every day – this can be reduced to nine hours, three times between any two weekly rest periods
The daily rest period must be completed within 24 hours of the previous daily or weekly rest. The rest rules indicate that drivers can take their entire 11-hour rest period in a stationary vehicle, if equipped with a compliant bunk.
A weekly rest period helps drivers to prevent exhaustion. Drivers can spend this this time however they wish, so long as they are not working. The rules around weekly rest periods are:
- The minimum rest each week is an unbroken period of 45 hours – this can be reduced to 24 hours every other week
- Drivers must take a weekly rest period after six consecutive 24-hour periods of work – this starts from the end of the previous weekly rest period
If a driver had been working for two weeks, their hours could look like this:
The rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs state that drivers must use a tachograph if the vehicle comes under EU or AETR regulations. As we explained earlier, there are two different types of tachograph – analogue and digital.
Gov.UK explains that, “all commercial vehicles first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with digital tachographs. Otherwise you can use an analogue tachograph.”
Drivers must ensure that the mode switch on an analogue tachograph or the mode button on a digital tachograph is correctly set to record their activities.
Although analogue tachographs are a lot less common than their digital equivalents, many older vehicles are still operating with analogue devices. Analogue tachograph calibration rules differ to digital and if you are using a traditional tachograph to record your driving, you must:
- Confirm that it is correctly calibrated via the attached plaques
- Set the official time of the country the vehicle is registered to
- Make sure that the correct chart type is used for the specific tachograph model
- Carry spare charts in case of damage
Any driver using an analogue tachograph is required to write the following information on the centrefield of the chart they are using to record their activity:
- Name details – First name and surname
- Date and location of where use of the chart begins
- Vehicle licence plate number
- Time of any vehicle changing
- Odometer readings at the start and end of the journey and at the time of any vehicle changes.
Drivers may have to manually record their activities, if they are unable to operate the instrument, haven’t been allocated a vehicle, or are away from the vehicle and had to remove the analogue tachograph chart.
The Digital tachograph was introduced as an upgrade to the outdated analogue device and is considered the premier instrument to record drivers’ activities in an HGV. The data from each journey is saved and stored in the vehicle unit memory and on driver cards.
How often do you download digital tachographs?
To follow digital tachograph, download rules, a truck driver has two responsibilities:
- Download drivers card data at least every 21 days
- Download vehicle unit data at least every 90 days
It is also the driver’s duty to analyse the information from any tachograph data downloads and ensure that they have been compliant in the vehicle.
Under the digital tachograph card rules, the card must be inserted into the vehicle unit. The vehicle unit will record any instances when the vehicle has been driven without a card. Tachograph rules surrounding cards also state that drivers can only possess one drivers’ card and must not use another person’s card.
Companies and drivers can both be held liable for tachograph infringements, dependent on the responsibility of the offence. If disobeyed, the rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs can carry heavy fines and driving penalties. The maximum fines – level 5, can be up to £5,000, depending on the severity of the violation. Here is a list of the tachograph infringement fines:
In addition to fines, there are also a number of tachograph penalties: