Legally, the card must be downloaded once every 28 days. However, we would recommend downloading more often, perhaps once a week. This way, you are more able to keep on top of any infringements that may occur.
No, only the VU records speed information. Speed data can be accessed by carrying out a full VU download. However, depending on the type and age of the tachograph, you may only be able to access the last 24 driving hours of speed information.
Legally, the VU must be downloaded once every 90 days. However, we would recommend downloading more often, perhaps once a month. This way, you are more able to keep on top of issues such as unaccounted mileage, driving with no card inserted etc.
Across Europe, all digital tachograph records are recorded in UTC time. UTC is the same as Greenwich Mean Time. You can change settings on the VU so it displays the correct local time, but all records in the background will continue to be recorded in UTC. In summer, this can lead to some confusion when looking at printouts as it would appear that the VU is an hour behind.
On digital tachographs, it is necessary to make a manual entry directly onto the card to record any work carried out away from the vehicle e.g. driving a non-tacho vehicle, working in the warehouse, admin etc. It is different to a hand-written entry as these are recorded on the reverse of a piece of printer paper, typically in the event of an emergency, VU malfunction or to record any supporting information.
It is possible to eject the card in the middle of a shift so long as the vehicle is stationary. Ideally, the card should stay in the tachograph as long as that vehicle is in use, but there may be circumstances where it is necessary to eject the card e.g. to download it, DVSA road-side inspections, vehicle changes etc. If the driver does eject the card, they are required to make a manual entry upon re-insertion to ensure there are no gaps in the tachograph trace.
When travelling on a ferry during the course of a Daily Rest, best practice is to set the tachograph onto Ferry Boat Mode. This should be done: a) when starting a period of rest at the port before embarkation, FBT mode should be set as soon as the tacho is set to rest, b) directly after the first interruption, typically involving embarkation of the ferry, the tacho should be reset to rest and FBT mode should be selected, c) if it is necessary to complete a Daily Rest at your destination, the tacho should be set to rest directly after disembarking and FBT mode should again be selected.
Most operators will either send a driver home to pick up their card in the event that the driver has forgotten it! Failing that, the driver may be given non-driving duties to carry out as it is illegal to be sent out on any type of tachograph vehicle without a driver card, even if it is fitted with an analogue instrument. If the DVSA stop you, they will want to see your driver card if one has been issued!
If the driver card is lost, is stolen, or begins to malfunction, it will be necessary to obtain a replacement from the DVLA using form D777B. The replacement must be ordered within 7 days of loss, theft or malfunction but our recommendation is that you do this on the same day if possible. The reason for this is that, under these circumstances, a driver can drive a tachograph vehicle for up to 15 days without a driver card, so long as the driver produces a printout from the VU at the start and end of every journey. If a driver leaves it until day7 to order a replacement card, they are only leaving themselves 8 days for that replacement card to be processed.
A driver can not drive using a Company Card. The Company Card does not record data, but acts a bit like a key, allowing access to the VU in order to download the data from the tachograph. Without a valid Company Card, you will be unable to download any data from the VU. You must also use the Company Card to "lock in" your tachographs whenever you purchase or hire a new vehicle. This means that no one can access your data unless they have a Company Card registered to your operation.
The driver card will record information including time spent working, odometer readings, vehicle registration numbers and anything that has been entered onto the card by way of a tachograph manual entry (manual entries are not recorded on the VU).
The VU will record some information that does not get recorded by the driver card e.g. speed information, instances of the vehicle being used without a driver card, unaccounted mileage and events and faults. The DVSA will look at VU data alongside card data and may look at all of these elements so it is best to employ an analysis solution that will provide a thorough breakdown of your VU files.
The DVSA will ask to see the current day and the previous 28 calendar days' worth of information. If you are driving a digital tachograph, this may typically include information stored on your driver card plus any printouts you may have made in that period. If you are driving vehicles with both analogue and digital tachographs, then you will need to have your card, plus printouts, plus any analogue records you may have for that period.
In some circumstances, it may be necessary to produce a printout from your digital tachograph: when you are driving for up to 15 days whilst awaiting a replacement driver card; if you driver card malfunctions when you are out on the road; to record details relating to unforeseen events or emergencies; upon the request of an enforcement officer.
When you are multi-manning, it is necessary to swap cards slots when you change drivers over. Both drivers must follow the log-off procedure for both of their cards, reinsert their cards into the opposite slot and then follow the usual log-on procedure for each card. This can take some time!
If you exceed either driving time or total shift time due to an unforeseen event such being caught in a tailback following a motorway closure, don't panic. Just carry on to the first safe stopping place such as a motorway service station (not the hard shoulder!). On arrival at this stopping place, the first thing you must do is take a printout from the VU and then write the relevant details on the reverse such as: location of event; approximate time; location of stopping place etc. The more details the better! Never leave it until the end of the shift to record these details!