Volvo Lorry

Digital Tachograph Rules

Digital tachographs work by storing digital data on the driver and vehicle in their own memory and separately on a driver’s smart card. Transport undertakings must periodically download this data from the digital tachograph (known as the Vehicle Unit or VU) and from driver cards, and analyse the information to ensure that the rules have been complied with.

Driver cards and records

It is a legal requirement for a digital tachograph-equipped vehicle driven in scope of EU rules that the driver must use a driver card. If the vehicle is used without a card being inserted, the system will not prevent the vehicle from being driven, but the VU will record the fact that the vehicle has been used without a card. Drivers may only be in possession of one driver’s smart card, and must never use anyone else’s card or allow another driver to use their card. When driving a vehicle that is equipped with a digital tachograph, drivers should:

  • ensure that the instrument is calibrated by inspecting the calibration plaque or interrogating the instrument;
  • ensure that their driver card is inserted into the correct slot (driver in slot 1, second driver in slot 2) from the moment they take over the vehicle, and that it is ready for use, before the vehicle is moved;
  • record the country in which they begin and end their daily work period. This must always be carried out at the time of the start or end of the period, even if the card is not to be withdrawn or inserted(for example if the card is left in overnight);
  • carry sufficient supplies of type-approved print roll on board the vehicle so that a printout can be produced at an enforcement officer’s request;
  • ensure that all duties conducted since the driver card was last removed from a tachograph are manually entered onto the card record, using the manual entry facility on the tachograph;
  • ensure that the tachograph is working properly;
  • ensure that through the daily working period the mode switch is used correctly to record other work, periods of availability, and rest and breaks;
  • take reasonable steps to protect their card from dirt and damage;
  • use only their own personalised driver card to record driving and other activities they undertake;
  • ensure that the card is not removed from the tachograph during the working day unless otherwise authorised. The rules are not specific on who can authorise removal of the card, but cases where cards can be removed include a change of vehicle, or where another driver will be using the vehicle  during a break or rest period;
  • on multi-manning operations ensure that their driver card is placed in the correct slot (slot 1 when they are acting as driver and slot 2 when co-driver on a double-manned journey) when they take over driving;
  • make their cards available for downloading by their employer; and
  • be able to produce at the roadside:– charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and previous 28 calendar days; and – the driver’s digital smart card if they hold one.

Mode switch default: Note that digital tachographs will default to recording "other work" for driver 1 and "availability" for driver 2 when the vehicle stops, and drivers must use the mode switch correctly to ensure that rest and break periods are recorded correctly.