Tachograph compliance


Extension to digital tachograph Vehicle Unit download limit

On 6 April 2015 the maximum legal limit for downloading data from the digital tachograph vehicle unit increased from the current 56 days to the EU maximum of 90 days. The limit for the driver card was unchanged. FTA Freight Council members have welcomed this flexibility. This may now allow operators whose vehicle safety inspections are at intervals of eight weeks or greater to incorporate the download as part of the inspection process, as is common practice currently where the inspection interval is less than eight weeks. This may also aid operators whose vehicles spend significant amounts of time away from base.

New generation digital tachographs

A new regulation from the EU will impact upon various aspects of digital tachograph laws, including specifying a 'new generation' unit which will be required to be fitted in new vehicles registered from around 2019 (specific date yet to be confirmed). The new tachograph units will include a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) source to produce a location stamp at start and end of driving and otherwise at three hour intervals, a wireless enforcement function to communicate to enforcement officers possible manipulation (but not driving and break data), and the integration with Intelligent Transport Systems such as telematics equipment.


You must use EU-approved tachographs to record your periods of driving, work and rest, plus distance travelled and vehicle speed. You can also use tachographs as an alternative to written records of domestic drivers’ hours rules.

Tachographs are either analogue or digital. Digital tachographs must be fitted to all vehicles first registered from 1 May 2006.

Driver responsibilities

Tachograph decision tree for driversDrivers must follow a number of procedures in order to stay compliant with tachograph regulations.

Use the bullets below for information on driver responsibilities.
You can also view our tachograph decision-making tree for drivers.

Drivers using an analogue tachograph must:

  • check the time is set to the official time of the country in which the vehicle is registered
  • make sure the tachograph doesn't need an inspection or recalibration by checking the seal is intact and the plaque is in date
  • compete all centrefield details on every chart. However, the ‘total km’ field is not legally required to be completed
  • use a chart that's compatible with the tachograph
  • tell the operator if the tachograph is faulty or if they are unsure how to use it properly
  • ensure the mode switch is set correctly throughout each shift
  • make written manual entries when working away from the vehicle and unable to use the recording equipment, or if the rules have been broken because of an emergency
  • record the registration number and odometer reading of any new vehicle used on the shift, together with the time of the vehicle changeover
  • be able to produce the relevant records at the roadside
  • return charts, which they are not required to keep, to the O licence holder as soon as possible, but in any case within 42 days

Drivers using a digital tachograph must:

  • check that the tachograph doesn't need a recalibration
  • ensure there are sufficient supplies of print roll on board the vehicle after inserting the driver card, plus complete any data entry manual records in UTC and confirm the start location as instructed by the equipment
  • ensure the mode switch is set correctly throughout their shift
  • tell the operator if the tachograph is faulty or if they're unsure how to use it properly
  • make a printout and provide written manual entries if it's impossible for them to use their card, the rules have been broken due to an emergency, or an enforcement officer requests it (they may also be asked to sign that it's a true record)
  • be able to produce the relevant records at the roadside
  • allow the operator to download data from their card

How can I learn more about tachograph compliance?

Members can download FTA's digital tachograph compliance guide or contact our Member Advice Centre for more expert advice.