Skip to main content

Do you use a digital tachograph?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Operator licence, Safe driving

Digital tachograph inside a vehicle

We have seen several recent cases at Public Inquiry where operators have been running vehicles fitted with digital tachographs, but with no idea how to use them. These are usually operators who hold restricted licences, who may not have a transport manager, and so the responsibility to make sure that the rules are followed sits with them.

The infringements we’ve seen include failing to get a company tachograph card and digital download equipment after buying a vehicle with a digital tachograph.

So, to help operators – particularly those without transport managers – stay on the right side of the law, here’s a checklist of your responsibilities around digital tachographs.

Drivers must:

  • use a driver card to digitally record all your work and driving under EC rules
  • make sure the recording equipment and driver card are functioning correctly and use them properly
  • only hold one card - the only exception to this is during the month before your card is about to expire, when you may also hold a replacement card
  • allow your employer to download data from your card
  • apply for a replacement to lost, stolen, damaged or malfunctioning cards within 7 days, and take printouts at the start and end of each driving day before your replacement card arrives
  • not use a card which does not bear your own details
  • not use or be in possession of a forged or altered card
  • not record any false data on your card or any recording equipment
  • not suppress or destroy any data recorded on your card or any recording equipment
  • not make a false, forged or altered statement to obtain a card
  • carry your card when working and produce it for DVSA officers or the police when asked to do so, even if it has not been used


Operators must:

  • make sure drivers do all of the above
  • have a company card to download the recorded data from the recording equipment
  • download the data from driver cards at least every 28 days
  • download the data from the recording equipment at least every 56 days
  • analyse data from the recording equipment and driver cards to check for breaches of drivers’ hours rules
  • make sure the recording equipment is functioning correctly and is used properly
  • make sure the recording equipment is calibrated every 2 years
  • make sure defective recording equipment is repaired without delay


We check drivers’ hours and tachograph records, and those who are found to be in breach of the rules can be fined or, in the most serious cases, imprisoned for up to 2 years, and have their operator licence revoked, suspended or curtailed. As recent Public Inquiries show.

If you’re not sure about the rules for tachographs or how to use them, visit GOV.UK for more information.

Sharing and comments

Share this page