A Brief Guide to Tachographs

By Anita Jaynes on 10 July, 2021

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Tachographs are an integral part of life for lorry and coach drivers; that being said, their use is still a source of confusion and trepidation for some. These questions, if unanswered, can sometimes have disastrous consequences. Read on for the lowdown on tachographs. 

What is a Tachograph?

A tachograph is a piece of equipment used to monitor all driving activity for a particular vehicle. The information it records includes driving time, speed, and distance. It is used as a tool to ensure that all drivers and employers adhere to the laws and regulations for drivers. Historically these records were kept by pen and paper, but now all vehicles use a digital system.

As the information is recorded digitally, there was a necessity for the emergence of tachograph analysis software. This software has a plethora of benefits. Take FleetGo’s tachograph analysis software as an example; it helps to keep the company compliant legally. It also highlights any driver infringement as well as having a simple easy to understand dashboard view.

Who is Responsible for the Information?

The business itself is obliged to have an effective system in place to keep a record of compliance. This system relies on the installation of tachographs by the business, although the drivers themselves hold the responsibility for operating the tachographs and recording the information on them.

What is the Tachograph Measuring?

The tachograph is measuring a lot of information relating to the driver to ensure that the laws and regulations are followed as they are paramount to not only the driver’s safety but the safety of other road users too. Firstly, drivers can only drive for a maximum of nine hours a day; however, this can be increased to ten hours twice a week. And so, the weekly limit for a driver is fifty-six hours. 

Drivers are also legally entitled to a certain amount of breaks. After the first four and a half hours of continuous driving, a driver needs to take a forty-five-minute break. This break can be all at once or split up into two smaller breaks during the first four and a half hours. While on a break, the tachograph is put on rest mode and drivers are not allowed to do any other work for the duration of their break.

If the tachograph experiences glitches or becomes faulty at any point during the journey, although this is highly unlikely. Contingencies must be in place for the driver to then make manual entries on the tachograph chart. This scenario applies to other situations where the operation of the tachograph is compromised or if a vehicle is waiting on the installation of one.

In Conclusion

A tachograph is an essential piece of equipment that helps to ensure the safety of all road users. There are penalties for companies or drivers who flout the rules and decide they aren’t necessary. Drivers who breach the rules can receive fines, or if a tachograph is found to have been tampered with, the perpetrator can receive prison time and an unlimited fine.