Tachograph compliance


You must use EU-approved tachographs to record your periods of activity (driving, availability, out of scope driving, other work etc), and inactivity (breaks, rest periods, annual leave, sick leave etc). You can also use tachographs as an alternative to written records of domestic drivers’ hours rules. 

Driver cards must be downloaded at least every 28 days, whilst the vehicle units must be downloaded at least every 90 days. 

Smart Tachographs

The UK introduced smart tachographs on 15 June 2019, with new vehicles first registered from this date legally required to have a smart tachograph fitted. Smart tachographs 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. 

20 August 2023 sees the mandatory fitting of Smart Tachograph 2 (ST2) in all new vehicles. From 31 December 2024, all vehicles engaged on international journeys are required to be retrofitted with ST2. From 21 August 2025, vehicles with Smart Tachograph 1 must be retrofitted with ST2 if they operate on international journeys.

However, due to an issue related to problems authenticating the satellite signal used to monitor when a vehicle crosses an international border, new vehicle units from 21 August 2023 are classed as transitional tachographs, until the issue has been rectified. Department for Transport laid legislation to amend the implementation of ST2, which:

  • Allowed for the use of transitional smart tachograph 2 for vehicles undertaking international journeys between the UK and the EU from 21 August 2023.
  • Deferred the requirement for newly-registered in-scope vehicles used exclusively in the UK to be fitted with a smart tachograph 2 (including transitional) until 21 February 2024.

Driver responsibilities

Drivers must follow a number of procedures in order to stay compliant with tachograph regulations.

Use the bullets below for information on driver responsibilities.

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 refer to the Logistics UK Yearbook of Road Transport Law or contact the Member Advice Centre for further information.