Category Archives for Tachographs

Defining the meaning of a rest period of 24-hours for tachograph purposes.

Being asked recently about the denotation of the 24-hour period, in the context of tachograph legislation. There is some guidance from the European Commission which is aimed at enforcement officials but is a useful reference point on the meaning of ‘each period of 24 hour’s.

The legislation is found in Article: 8 (2) and (5) of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006.

In line with Article 8(2) of the Regulation a new daily rest period shall be taken within each period of 24 hours after the end of the previous rest period (regular or reduced daily or weekly rest). The next 24-hour period starts from the end of the qualifying daily or weekly rest period taken. The term ‘qualifying’ rest should be understood as a rest

period where a lawful minimum duration is accomplished within the period of 24 hours after the end of the previous qualifying rest. This qualifying rest may end later than 24 hours after the end of the previous rest if its total duration is longer than the minimum required by the legislation.

To determine the compliance with the daily resting time provisions enforcers should look into all 24-hour periods following a qualifying daily or weekly rest.

In cases where enforcers are confronted with periods of activity following a qualifying daily or weekly rest period, during which drivers do not accomplish a qualifying daily rest period, it is recommended that enforcers:

  1. divide the above-mentioned periods of activity into consecutive periods of 24 hours starting from the end of the last qualifying daily or weekly rest; and apply the rules on daily rest periods to each of these reference periods of 24 hours.
  2. Where the end of such a 24-hour period falls within the on-going rest period, which is not a qualifying rest as its lawful minimum duration has not been accomplished within the 24-hour period, but which continues into the next period of 24 hours and reaches a minimum required duration, sometime thereafter, then the calculation of the next 24 hour period shall commence when a driver ends his rest period of a total duration of at least 9/11 hours or more and resumes his daily working period.

Where a qualifying daily or weekly rest period is identified, the assessment of the next 24 hour period shall start at the end of this qualifying daily or weekly rest period taken (from the end of the relevant rest period if the rest taken is in fact longer than the required minimum period of time).

This calculation method should allow enforcers to identify and sanction all infringements of a daily rest provision committed within each period of 24 hours. The analogue calculation method should apply to drivers engaged in multi-manning, and the reference period of 24-hour period should be replaced by 30-hour period as stipulated by Article 8(5) of the Regulation.

Disclaimer: No information within this article; past / future columns shall be constured as legal advice or information.

Smart tachographs: what you need to know

JUNE 2019 will see the biggest change in tachograph regulation in more than 12 years – the mandatory introduction of ‘smart tachographs’ in all new vehicles. With many improvements, such as satellite positioning data and increased security, the new devices are

designed to foster greater compliance with the drivers’ hours rules by making it more difficult to tamper with the devices; they may also reduce administrative processes.

The most important new feature is the introduction of satellite positioning data. The new devices will take a GPS reading at the start and end of duty and every three hours of accumulated driving.

This will expand the enforcement role of tachographs to establishment rules, such as cabotage, in addition monitoring compliance with the drivers’ hours rules. Other security features include a new Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) interface; sealing requirements; and Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).

To facilitate targeted roadside checks, the DSRC will enable authorities to access tachograph data while the vehicle is in motion. This will be used for targeting processes and to address only most the severe infringements.

It cannot be used for automated fines and if no issues are detected, the authorities must delete the data within three hours. The regulation does not require enforcement agencies to have the equipment required to read the signal until 2034; and as far as the FTA is aware, the DVSA does not see this capability as a priority.

It may be a different story in mainland Europe – other member states may wish to install this capability as soon as possible.

As smart tachographs will be mandatory in new vehicles alone, it is down to dealerships to ensure they are fitted at the point of sale; there is no retrofit requirement for domestic operators.

Any vehicles crossing international borders must have a smart tachograph retrofitted by June 2034, but it is unlikely many vehicles in current circulation would remain active by this time.

That said, several MEPs have realised they have allowed a rather long lead time and are looking to bring any retrofit date forward by at least 10 years.

The DVLA has confirmed all new driver and company cards issued from early 2019 will be fully compatible and able to hold the new fields of data collected by the devices.

 These cards will still work with the older tachographs; current cards will also be compatible with the smart tachographs. But it’s not so simple with workshop cards; for calibration purposes, tachograph centres must a hold a smart-compatible card. All workshop cards in Great Britain are re-issued 1 April 2019 and are valid for one year.  

While the statutory introduction date for the new devices is 15 June 2019, tachograph manufacturers expect to have them in vehicles in 2019, so workshops will need to have been issued their new cards in time for this.

FTA is currently in talks with the DVLA to ensure they are taking appropriate steps to address this.

EU Driver Hours Rules


Breaks from driving

Daily driving

Weekly driving

Daily rest

Two-weekly driving

Multi-manning daily rest

Weekly rest

Ferry/train daily rest

A break of no less than 45 minutes must be taken after no more than 4.5 hours of driving. The break can be divided into two periods – the first at least 15 minutes long and the second at least 30 minutes – taken over the 4.5 hours.

Maximum of 9 hours, extendable to 10 hours no more than twice a week.

Maximum of 56 hours

Minimum of 11 hours, which can be reduced to a minimum of 9 hours no more than three times between weekly rests. May be taken in two periods, the first at least 3 hours long and the second at least 9 hours long. The rest must be completed within 24 hours of the end of the last daily or weekly rest period.

Maximum of 90 hours in any two-week period.

A 9-hour daily rest must be taken within a period of 30 hours that starts from the end of the last daily or weekly rest period. For the first hour of multi-manning the presence of another driver is optional, but for the remaining time it is compulsory.

A regular weekly rest of at least 45 hours, or a reduced weekly rest of at least 24 hours, must be started no later than the end of six consecutive 24-hour periods from the end of the last weekly rest. In any two consecutive weeks, a driver must have at least two weekly rests – one of which must be at least 45 hours long. A weekly rest that falls in two weeks may be counted in either week but not in both. Any reductions must be compensated in one block by an equivalent rest added to another rest period of at least 9 hours before the end of the third week, following the week in question.

A regular daily rest period (of at least 11 hours) may be interrupted no more than twice by other activities of not more than 1 hour’s duration in total, provided that the driver is accompanying a vehicle that is travelling by ferry or train and provided that the driver has access to a bunk or couchette.


The rules are:

A maximum average 48 hour working week – this is normally calculated over a fixed 17 (occasionally 18) week reference period which the Government defines. However, reference periods may be extended up to a maximum of 26 weeks and changed to different fixed calendar periods by collective (union) or workforce agreement.

A maximum cap of 60 hours working time in any fixed week – the fixed week starts at 00.00 hours on each Monday and finishes at 24.00 hours the following Sunday.

A maximum limit of 10 hours in any 24 hours period for night workers – for goods vehicle operations, a night worker is someone who works for any time between 00.00 hours and 04.00 hours. This night work limit may be varied by collective or workforce agreement, but all other rules and limits still apply, including tachograph rules.

Breaks from work – You may not work for more than 6 hours without a break. A 30-minute break is needed if your total working time is over 6 but not over 9 hours, or 45 minutes is needed if your total working time is over 9 hours.

Daily and weekly rest as specified in the tachograph rules.

Drivers’ hours and goods vehicles

Within Great Britain (GB), either GB domestic or EU rules may apply. For international journeys, either the EU rules or the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) may apply.

Which set of rules applies depends on the type of driving and the type of vehicle being used, and, in the case of international journeys, the countries to be visited.

Most vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and with a maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) of over 3.5 tonnes are in scope of the EU rules. ‘Carriage by road’ is defined as any journey entirely or in part made on roads open to the public of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods.

‘Off-road’ driving is in scope where it forms part of a journey that also takes place on public roads. Journeys made that are entirely ‘off-road’ are out of scope of the EU rules.

International journeys to or through countries that are outside the EU but are signatories to the AETR are subject to AETR rules.

International journeyAn international journey means a journey to or from another EU member state, including the part of the journey within the UK.

For journeys that are partly in the EU and partly in countries that are neither in the EU nor signatories to AETR, EU rules will apply to that portion of the journey that is in the EU. Countries outside the EU and AETR are likely to have their own regulations governing drivers’ hours, which should be adhered to while you are driving in that country.

Vehicles that are exempted from the EU rules come under GB domestic rules on drivers’ hours while engaged in domestic journeys.

This flowchart will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a goods vehicle.

EU, AETR and EEA countries

EU countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Reminder: Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but follows EUrules.

AETR countries

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kazakhstan
  • Leichtenstein
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

EEA countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Domestic driving limits

Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether it is moving or stationary with the engine running, even for a short period of time.

Daily driving

In any working day the maximum amount of driving permitted is 10 hours.

The daily driving limit applies to driving on and off the public road. 

Off-road driving for the purposes of agriculture, quarrying, forestry, building work or civil engineering counts as duty rather than driving time.

Day: The day is the 24-hour period beginning with the start of duty time.

Daily duty

In any working day the maximum amount of duty permitted is 11 hours. A driver is exempt from the daily duty limit (11 hours) on any working day when they do not drive.

A driver who does not drive for more than 4 hours on each day of the week is exempt from the daily duty limit for the whole week.

Week: Is the period from 0000 hrs on a Monday to 2400 hrs the following Sunday.

Duty: In the case of an employee driver, this means being on duty (whether driving or otherwise) for anyone who employs them as a driver.

This includes all periods of work and driving, but does not include rest or breaks. Employers should also remember that they have additional obligations to ensure that drivers receive adequate rest under health and safety legislation.

For owner drivers, this means driving a vehicle connected with their business, or doing any other work connected with the vehicle and its load.

Drivers of certain vehicles are exempt from the duty but not the driving limit, namely – goods vehicles, including dual purpose vehicles, not exceeding a maximum permitted gross weight of 3.5 tonnes, when used:

  • by doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives or vets
  • for any service of inspection, cleaning, maintenance, repair, installation or fitting
  • by commercial travellers when carrying goods (other than personal effects) only for the purpose of soliciting orders
  • by the AA, RAC or RSAC
  • for cinematography or radio and television broadcasting

The Great Britain domestic rules, as contained in the Transport Act 1968, apply to most goods vehicles that are exempt from the EU rules. Separate rules apply to Northern Ireland.

You must keep written records of your hours of work on a weekly record sheet if you are the driver of a goods vehicle that requires an Operator Licence and you drive for more than 4 hours in that day. 

Suppliers of record books containing weekly record sheets can be found on the internet.

Alternatively, an EU-approved and sealed tachograph may be used to record a driver’s activities while they are subject to domestic drivers’ hours rules.

When recording in this manner, and where domestic records are legally required (see flowchart below), all rules on the fitment and use of the tachograph must be complied with see Section 4

Where a tachograph is fitted to a vehicle subject to the domestic rules but is not used to produce a legally required record, the operator and driver should nevertheless ensure that the tachograph is properly calibrated and sealed.

The tachograph does not have to be recalibrated provided the seals remain intact and the vehicle remains out of scope of the EU rules.

Exemptions from keeping records

Some groups are exempt from requirements to keep records under domestic rules on drivers’ hours.

Follow the flowchart below to determine whether you must keep records.

The GB domestic rules are relaxed in cases where immediate preventative action is needed to avoid:

  • danger to the life or health of people or animals
  • serious interruption of essential public services (gas, water, electricity or drainage), of telecommunication or postal services, or in the use of roads, railways, ports or airports
  • serious damage to property

In these cases the driving and duty limits are suspended for the duration of the emergency.

Tachographs must be fitted and used on all vehicles with a permissible maximum weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes that carry parcels and letters on postal services. Drivers of such vehicles may be exempt from the EU rules on drivers’ hours (see EU rules exemptions) but, if so, must still comply with the GB domestic rules.

Working time rules

The working time rules that apply to you depend on whether you drive a vehicle in scope of the EU or GB domestic drivers’ hours rules.

Working time rules

The working time rules that apply to you depend on whether you drive a vehicle in scope of the EU or GB domestic drivers’ hours rules.

Driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules

If you operate a vehicle in scope of the EU drivers’ hours rules, then you are subject to the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (as amended – ‘the 2005 Regulations’), unless you are an occasional mobile worker (see text boxes at the end of this Annex for definitions).

The main provisions of the 2005 Regulations are as follows:

  • weekly working time must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over the reference period – a maximum working time of 60 hours can be performed in any single week providing the average 48-hour limit is not exceeded
  • night work: if night work is performed, working time must not exceed 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Night time is the period between 00.00 and 04.00 for goods vehicles and between 01.00 and 05.00 for passenger vehicles. The 10-hour limit may be exceeded if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement
    • breaks:
    • mobile workers must not work more than 6 consecutive hours without taking a break
    • if your working hours total between 6 and 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 30 minutes
    • if your working hours total more than 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 45 minutes
    • breaks should be of at least 15 minutes’ duration
  • rest: the regulations are the same as the EU or AETR drivers’ hours rules
  • record keeping: records need to be kept for two years after the period in question

The reference period for calculating the 48-hour week is normally 17 weeks, but it can be extended to 26 weeks if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement.

There is no ‘opt-out’ for individuals wishing to work longer than an average 48-hour week, but breaks and ‘periods of availability’ do not count as working time.

Generally speaking, a period of availability (POA) is waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a POAare accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle.

For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless the mobile worker is taking a break or performing other work ie navigation).

In addition, you are affected by two provisions under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended – ‘the 1998 Regulations’).

These are:

  • an entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave
  • health checks for night workers

If you only occasionally drive vehicles subject to the EU drivers’ hours rules, you may be able to take advantage of the exemption from the 2005 Regulations for occasional mobile workers (see text box below to see if you meet the criteria).

Self-employed drivers were brought in scope of the EU Working Time Directive 2002/15/EC in GB in May 2012, by the Road Transport (Working Time) Amendment Regulations 2012.

DVSA enforces the provisions of the 2005 Regulations and the requirement for health checks for night workers (under the 1998 Regulations).

If you have any questions about matters relating to annual leave, call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) national helpline on 0300 123 1100, for free support and advice.

Smart Tachographs 2019

From 15 June 2019, smart tachographs are to be made mandatory for new vehicles. The new Annex 1C compliant tacho aims to reduce administrative processes and digital tachograph tampering.

These ‘smart tachos’ will use a GPS to record the start and end location of the drivers’ work and record every three hours of driving time.

For operators to use the 1C tachographs, they will need to update their download tools and analysis software. Also, stopping vehicles to check the tachograph will no longer be necessary.

Enforcement officers will be able to use digital devices to check tachos from up to 190m away.

Information recorded by the tachograph will be transmitted. Drivers’ hours and break times will also be sent, to determine if the driver has exceeded daily driving limits.

Digital Tachograph Cards

Digital tachograph card owner responsibilities

All drivers must comply with the following requirements when using their digital tachograph system.

  • Ensure that the recording equipment and driver card are fully functional
  • Only hold one card at a time; apart from during the month before your card’s expiry date
  • 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
  • Do not use a card which doesn’t have your personal details
  • Do not use or possess an altered or forged card, and do not forge or alter statements to obtain a card
  • Do not record any false data on the recording equipment or on your digital data card
  • Do not withhold or destroy any digital data recorded on your card or recording equipment
  • Always carry your card when working and have it to hand for DVSA officer or police inspection, even if it hasn’t been used

As an operator or employer, you must also comply with the following.

  • Ensure that your drivers follow the list of responsibilities above
  • Own a company card in order to download the recorded digital data from the digital tachograph head
  • Download all data from each driver’s card at least once every 28 days
  • Download all data from each driver’s recording equipment at least once every 56 days
  • Examine the data from digital driver cards and recording equipment to check for infringements or drivers’ working hours
  • Make sure that the recording equipment is all fully functional and is being used correctly
  • Make sure that the recording equipment is calibrated once every 2 years
  • Make sure any defective recording equipment in the digital tachograph is repaired as soon as possible
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