5 questions answered on the tachograph of transport vehicles

The tachograph is the faithful companion of every haulage contractor. It collects key data on the distance traveled by the vehicle or its speed, both maximum and average. But this device collects a lot of other relevant information. Tachographs also generate many doubts, such as how they work, their regulations or how digital tachographs differ from analog ones. We answer the most common ones in this article.

1. What data is collected in the tachograph?

The tachograph, which is also used in the driving of passenger vehicles and in units running on railroad tracks, gathers the following information:

  • Distance traveled by the vehicle.
  • Maximum and average driving speed.
  • Abrupt acceleration and braking.
  • Period of time during which the vehicle has remained stationary but with the engine running.
  • Resting periods and breaks.

The analog tachograph prints the data as graphs on paper disks, while the digital tachograph automatically collects them in a digital memory and stores them in a database.

tacografo digital

2. Which vehicles are required to carry a tachograph?

All vehicles with a maximum authorized mass (MMA) exceeding 3,500 kg or carrying more than 9 people, including the driver, must be equipped with a tachograph. This measure has been in effect since January 1st, 2006. The regulation allows the use of analog or digital tachographs, but if the device breaks down, a digital tachograph must be installed. EU Regulation 2020/1054 states that the analog tachograph will be valid until December 2024.

The analog tachograph will be valid in the European Union until December 2024, but as of now, if one of these devices breaks down, it must be replaced by a digital one.

3. What regulations does the tachograph comply with?

Driving regulations:

  • Daily driving. It is the one that starts after a rest of at least one day. The device can record a maximum of 9 hours of driving in one day. It is possible to reach 10 hours per day, exceptionally, on two occasions within a period of 7 days.
  • Weekly driving. They may not exceed 56 hours a week, nor may they surpass 90 hours of bi-weekly driving in a row. This includes from 00:00 hours on Monday to 24:00 hours on Sunday.

Break regulation:

  • Daily. After a daily driving of 4.5 hours, it is mandatory either to rest for 45 minutes without interruption, or to take two breaks, one of 30 minutes and a subsequent one of 15 minutes within the four and a half hours of driving. The half-hour break must always be taken first.

Rest regulation:

  • Daily. It is mandatory after a working day. It must be at least 11 hours, although it may be 9 continuous hours in the case of ‘reduced daily rest’.
  • Weekly. Must be taken before the end of six consecutive 24-hour days from the end of the previous weekly rest period. The normal rest period includes any rest period of at least 45 hours, while the reduced rest period is a rest period of less than 45 hours that may be reduced to at least 24 consecutive hours.

Therefore, in the course of two consecutive weeks, the driver has to rest in two weeks, or two normal weekly rest periods, or one normal weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours. If the reduction occurs, an equal rest period shall be taken before the end of the 3rd following week by way of compensation.

4. What are tachograph cards?

When we talk about the tachograph card, we usually talk about two elements: the driver card and the company card; although there are also the control card and the test center card or ‘workshop card’.

Tachograph cards should not be mistaken with the Certificate of Professional Aptitude (CPA) or with the transport authorization, formerly called transport card. The carrier must have a driver’s card, while the owner of the transport company must have a company card. If they are not the same person, they must have both.

The driver’s tachograph card replaces the analog tachograph discs. The driver will place this card, which collects and stores data for 28 days, in the tachograph. This is for the duration of the transport and mandatory breaks. If it is lost or broken, it is mandatory to notify the authorities and request a duplicate within 7 calendar days.

The carrier must have a driver’s card, while the owner of the transport company must have a company card.

5. How often should the tachograph be checked?

The device must be checked at each new installation, after repairs, when the number of vehicle turns is changed and when the tire circumference is changed due to a change in tire size. In addition, periodic checks of the devices must be carried out at least every 2 years to ensure that they are working properly.

It is important to verify that the installation plate and the homologation mark on the equipment are in good condition. The seals must be in perfect condition, as well as all the elements of the installation. Also the effective circumference of the tires.

Compliance with the maximum permissible errors in the use of the recording equipment must be verified at least once every six years, including the mandatory replacement of the installation plate.

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