Tachographs: rules for drivers and operators

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Tachographs record information about driving time, speed and distance. They’re used to make sure drivers and employers follow the rules on drivers’ hours.

When you need a tachograph

You must use a tachograph if the vehicle you’re driving comes under EU or AETR rules.

Find out if EU or AETR rules apply to the passenger carrying vehicle or goods vehicle that you’re driving.


You don’t have to use a tachograph if your vehicle isn’t covered by EU rules or if it’s exempt from EU rules on drivers’ hours.

Types of tachograph

There are 2 types of tachograph - analogue and digital.

All commercial vehicles first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with digital tachographs. Otherwise you can use an analogue tachograph.

Information from digital tachographs is saved on smart cards so it can be checked later. There are different types of card for:

Further information

Read the guides on drivers’ hours and tachographs for goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs). They include the rules on:

  • analogue tachographs - including proper record keeping and filling in ‘centrefield’ entries
  • digital tachographs - including using drivers’ cards, lost, stolen or faulty cards, setting the time and manual record keeping
  • common rules for all tachographs - including ‘multi-manning’ and keeping 2nd driver records, recording other work, rest-days and days off
  • responsibilities of operators - including calibrating and maintaining tachograph equipment
  • what happens if you don’t follow the rules

There are specific rules for tachographs and horse boxes or trailers and tachographs and recovery vehicles.