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Digital Tachograph Card: The Ultimate Guide

The introduction of the digital tachograph card means fleet managers can now monitor and store driver data, in a cost-effective, efficient manner. This article will provide you with the different card types, how to apply and the rules to remain compliant.

What are digital tachograph cards?

Tachograph cards are smart cards inserted into a device to record driving time, vehicle speed and other data for 3.5t and above commercial vehicles. The most known is the digital driver tachograph card. A physical record of a driver’s profile and activity within a commercial vehicle. Data held on the card means a driver is accountable if they do not abide by the scope of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. The digital driver card should be used alongside a DVLA-issued driver’s licence and is not intended to serve as a replacement.

What are digital cards used for?

The digital tachograph card is inserted into the digital tachograph device onboard a commercial vehicle. The digital tachograph records vehicle speed, distance travelled, and driver activity and stores it on the assigned digital tachograph card. As a result, the data gathered is used for compliance checks and accident investigations.

What types of cards are there?

  • Tachograph company cards – A transport company that manages a fleet of vehicles is provided with a smart card called a tachograph card. This digital card, along with a tachograph, enables Fleet Managers to download, store, and manage the data from the tachograph, which includes driving and rest time data. This specific company card is valid for 5 years.
  • Tachograph workshop cards – Valid for one year and only available to authorised personnel. A workshop can use this card to calibrate, install, and repair tachographs when the vehicle is in for regular service. However, regulations state use of the workshop card is only in conjunction with administrative operations.
  • Tachograph control cards – Used by governing bodies and law enforcement to verify driver compliance information on the roadside or collision incidence. Authorised personnel can enforce the tachograph compliance rules by overriding and accessing data through the driver card or the tachograph unit.
  • Tachograph driver cards – A driver who operates a commercial vehicle over 3.5t legally has to have a tachograph installed. Therefore, as mentioned above, the driver tachograph card monitors driving hours and rest periods to ensure compliant safe driving on UK roads. The driver tachograph card stores detailed driver information with a photo ID that is valid for 5 years.

How to apply for a digital tachograph card?

You can visit the UK DVLA website to apply for either a company tachograph card or a driver tachograph card. Here you will find a detailed step-by-step process to support your application. You can either apply for a driver tachograph card by post or online, costing £32 for a new issue or £19 for a renewal. To receive a company tachograph card you will need to apply online.

Since 2019, the DVLA has implemented an online cloud-based service that allows drivers to drastically reduce the wait time when they apply for a new card. Drivers can expect to get their new tachograph card within a day of applying, a significant improvement from the previous 10 days or more when sending paper applications.

Finally, If you own a digital tachograph card that has been lost, damaged or stolen then you must report this to the DVLA within 7 days. Fees for replacing a lost or stolen card is £19 which matches the renewal rate.

Complete your DVLA tachograph card application.

What are the digital tachograph rules?

A set of defined rules ensures businesses and drivers remain compliant and abide by regulations. The scope of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 specifies:

Driving times

  • One-day period – Drivers can drive up to 9 hours (extended to 10 hours no more than twice a week). 
  • Week period – Drivers can legally drive for up to 56 hours. 
  • Two-week period – Drivers can drive up to 90 hours in two consecutive weeks.

Rest periods

  • Daily rest periods – Every 4.5 hours a driver has to take a 45-minute rest at a minimum. In total, a driver should have a minimum rest period of 11 hours per day. 
  • Weekly rest periods – A driver must rest a total of 45 hours minimum for every week of driving, within at least six days from the end of the previous weekly rest period.

It is essential for businesses and drivers to adhere to the rules and regulations to ensure compliance. Transport operators should gather and analyse tachograph data on a regular basis. To remain compliant, data is gathered from tachographs every 28 days for the driver and 90 days for the vehicle.

How do you fill out the digital tachograph printout?

To use the digital driver’s log system, first insert your driver’s card and enter your PIN to access the system. Next, select the appropriate vehicle and confirm the registration number. Then, choose the correct activity mode, such as “Driving,” “Other work,” “Break,” or “Available.” If necessary, add any relevant manual entries, such as location or reason for the activity. When your shift is over, switch to “End of shift” mode and confirm the log entry. Finally, generate and keep a printout of the log for your records. The system is designed to be user-friendly, so follow these straightforward steps to log your driving activities properly.

What should you do before removing the tachograph card?

To successfully remove your digital tachograph card, first start by putting the tachograph Vehicle Unit (VU) into ‘rest’ mode. If you fail to do this, it may result in an incorrect reading. Once you have selected ‘rest’ mode, you can then remove the card using the ‘eject’ button. You should then be prompted to enter your country location (e.g., UK). This option appears to ensure you are following the correct regulations for your country. Finally, the VU will display a message stating the digital tachograph card is being ejected. Now it has been ejected, make sure you keep it in a safe location away from dirt, grease or oil that can damage the card.

When is the tachograph card not used?

The tachograph card is not used when a vehicle is exempt from tachograph regulations, such as:

  • Non-commercial transport
  • Specialised breakdown assistance vehicles
  • The vehicle’s maximum permissible weight does not exceed 3.5 metric tons.
  • Historic vehicles for non-commercial purposes

It is also not used when the vehicle is not in operation or when the driver is not on duty. It’s essential to insert the card only during active driving or work hours to ensure accurate recording of data.

Where can the tachograph card be downloaded?

You can download tachograph card data in several ways to comply with regulations. Options include manual uploads using handheld devices, depot solutions with wall-mounted readers, mobile card readers for on-the-go downloads, remote downloading solutions for automatic data transmission and integration with telematics such as Webfleet.

The tachograph card data can be downloaded using the Webfleet Tachograph Manager. This software facilitates automated remote downloads, allowing you to access and archive your tachograph data without the need for manual intervention. Whether you’re on the road or at the office, the data can be securely accessed and archived in compliance with GDPR regulations.

Digital Tachograch

Webfleet Tachograph Manager

The Webfleet Tachograph Manager is the reliable all-in-one solution to download, analyse and archive your tachograph data. Ensure your business remains compliant without unnecessary administration with automated remote downloading, keeping your drivers on the road. Webfleet securely stores and manages your Company Card data in a GDPR-compliant manner, meaning you do not need to worry about data security. The Webfleet Tachograph Manager is the ultimate way to quickly and easily monitor and store driver data.

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Steven Lewis
As Webfleet Corporate Sales Manager UKI for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, Steven Lewis has more than 14 years of experience in the telematics industry. Working on an international scale, he has supported Webfleet as a Sales Engineer in UKI and later Australia. Back in the UK for five years, he uses his vast knowledge and experience to understand the needs and requirements of our corporate prospects to deliver the ideal solutions. He also works closely with our colleagues at Bridgestone to demonstrate the benefits of the Webfleet suite of products to Bridgestone customers and partners.

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