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New to Digital Tachographs?
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FAQs for Digital Tachograph Frequently Asked Questions
- What are digital tachographs?
- What do I need?
- What are the Regulations?
- What data is stored on the card and the Vehicle Unit?
- Downloading and storage of data
- What equipment do I need?
- Moving from Analogue to Digital Tachographs
- Some more information and useful links
1. What are digital tachographs?
Digital tachographs are the replacement for analogue paper charts and were introduced following the adoption of EC regulation 561/2006. This regulation stated that, from 1st May 2006 the fitment of digital tachographs is mandatory, for all new vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes.
Vehicles currently using analogue tachographs are not required to retro fit digital. Digital tachographs allow data to be recorded and stored to both the driver’s card and the vehicle unit (VU) with downloading requirements for card and VU.
» See our Digital Tachograph products here
2. What do I need?
- Driver card : Driver cards record the activity of a driver when the card is inserted into the digital tachograph unit in the vehicle. The data recorded is very similar to analogue charts, in that it records driving time, rest periods, other work and periods of availability (POA).
- Company Card : Company card acts as a “key” to access the details stored on the VU (Vehicle Unit). It also enables operators to ‘lock out’ data stored on a VU when a vehicle is sold. This card cannot be used as a driver card.
- Workshop card : Workshop cards are issued free of charge to authorised workshops and allows the calibration of digital tachographs. This card cannot be used as a driver card.
Download equipmentYou can buy your Smart Card Reader and other Digital Tachograph products here.
- Driver card reader : allows the data from the drivers card to be downloaded and in conjunction with download software allows the data to be stored for record keeping purposes.
- A VU Download key allows the data from the vehicle unit to be downloaded and when used in conjunction with the correct software, will allow data storage in a suitable format for inspection by the authorities if required.
- Download Software : (Check computer requirements) is required to enable the data to be read by operators and stored in a manner which is accessible and understood by DVSA.
» See our Digital Tachograph products here
3. What are the Regulations?
- Once drivers have applied for and been issued with a smart card from DVLA, there is a legal requirement to carry the card at all times when driving a vehicle, even if the vehicle is fitted, and being used, with an analogue tachograph.
- This is to ensure that a complete record of all the drivers’ activity is available for inspection at the road side. It is important to remember, that if a driver does have a driver card and forgets to bring it to work, they will be unable to operate any vehicle fitted with a digital tachograph.
- Driver cards must be downloaded at least every 28 days and the data stored for 12 months for record keeping purposes. If the driver’s data from the card is used also for the recording of RTD, then the data will need to be retained for 24 months. In the case of a driver leaving your employment, or notification that the card has malfunctioned, the data should be downloaded immediately. This will ensure continuation of records for all vehicle and driver journeys.
- VU data must be downloaded at least every 90 days and stored in a manner which is accessible should the data need to be examined by DVSA. If a vehicle is sold, transferred, or removed from service the VU data should be downloaded immediately.
- All downloaded data should be stored securely and backed up on a regular basis. This will ensure that if data is lost from your computer, it will still be available should a requirement to produce it, occur.
- Driver and company cards are issued for a 5 year period, after which time they will need to be renewed in good time to allow the continuation of the operation.
- Driving a vehicle fitted with a digital tachograph, without a valid or defective driver card, could attract a fixed penalty of up to £200.
- If a driver card fails at any point, a vehicle may still be driven however, the driver must take a printout from the VU at the start and the end of the working day and annotate the driving, other work, POA and rest, on the reverse of the print out. Driver must inform their employer and apply for a new card from DVLA, immediately. This service is normally free.
- If a card is lost or stolen it should be reported to the employer and DVLA as soon as possible, but in any case within 7 days. DVLA must issue a replacement card within 5 working days of receiving a request. In addition, drivers must notify the competent authority in the country where the card was lost or stolen.
You can see our Digital Tachograph products here ».
4. What data is stored on the card and the Vehicle Unit?
- Data stored on the driver card is as follows:
- Driving hours
- Other work
- Rest periods: daily and weekly
- Start/finish data
- Date and time
- Faults and events, such as card faults or speeding events
- Data stored on the VU is as follows:
- All the driver activity data
- Driver details and number
- Any faults recorded, card faults, VU faults
- Any other cards inserted (company, control etc.)
- The VU will store much more data, but this can only be accessed by using a company or control card
5. Downloading and storage of data
- Downloading is the copying of data from one source to another (along with any digital signatures, to show authenticity), to allow data to be stored in a suitable format for future reference. Data is only copied and not removed.
- It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure the data from both the driver card and the VU are downloaded regularly and ensuring the data is stored appropriately.
- Driver cards are downloaded using a simple card reader which is linked to computer software. This should be carried out at least every 28 days. The downloaded data is then stored as a requirement for record keeping and can also be sent for analysis. This will allow operators to ensure that drivers are complying with all relevant drivers’ hours’ legislation, part of your undertaking for operator licencing.
- Vehicle unit data is downloaded using a download key. This is a device, again linked to computer software, which allows the data from the vehicle unit to be accessed (using a company card). The data is in raw form and must be stored in the format it was downloaded. This data is difficult to read, but is stored in a form which DVSA are able to interpret, should the need arise. The VU should be downloaded at least every 90 days.
- Downloaded driver card data is best analysed using an analysis bureau. This will provide infringement reports and working time directive reports, along with many other reports. Data storage and archiving is paramount to maintaining accurate records. Should DVSA wish to inspect records they may ask for them to be provided in e mail format, so the need to be able to access accurate data is important.
- Data may be stored off site, with an analysis bureau for example, so long as the data can be made readily available, on request and that the download equipment is capable of carrying out this function. (Check computer requirements)
You can See our Digital Tachograph products here ».
6. What equipment do I need?
7. Moving from Analogue to Digital Tachographs
Although moving to digital tachographs from analogue, or even starting from scratch, sounds daunting, once the basics are mastered, the technology involved with digital tachographs is easy to understand. In fact it is often said how much easier the digital tachograph is to use and monitor driving activity.
There is lots of information available regarding best practice in relation to digital tachographs, but remember there is no such thing as a silly question. Please feel free to contact the team at GB Tachopak, who will be more than happy to assist with all your digital tachograph and general transport, related queries.
8. Some more information and useful links
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