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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

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Tachograph Common Rules

Operation of the mode switch or button

Drivers must ensure that the mode switch on an analogue tachograph or the mode button on a digital tachograph is correctly set to record their activities.


This is automatically recorded on most tachographs.


Covers all activities defined as work other than driving in scope of the EU/AETR rules. Includes any work for the same or another employer, within or outside the transport sector


Covers periods of waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a period of availability (POA) are accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle. For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless taking a break or performing other work, i.e. navigation).



Covers breaks in work and daily or weekly rest periods. Drivers may not carry out any driving or any other work. Break periods are to be used exclusively for recuperation. During a rest period a driver must be able to dispose freely of his time.

If for any reason the tachograph does not make an accurate record of activities (e.g. if the driver inadvertently makes an incorrect manual entry in a digital tachograph, or fails to correctly operate the mode button or switch), it is strongly recommended that the driver makes a manual tachograph record to this effect. For digital equipment, the driver should make and sign a printout for the relevant period with a note giving details of the error and reason at the time the error is made. For analogue equipment, the record should be made at the back of the chart.

Multi-manning - second driver record

Some analogue equipment and all digital tachographs will automatically record all time spent as a second driver when the vehicle is in motion as a period of availability and do not allow the mode to be changed to either 'break' or 'other work'. Provided the second driver is not required to carry out any work during this time, enforcement authorities will accept the first 45 minutes of this time as a break from driving. Any periods of other work, however, must be manually recorded on a printout or chart by the driver.

Travelling time

In cases where a vehicle that comes within the scope of EU rules is at a separate location that is neither the driver's home nor the employer's operational centre where the driver is normally based, the time the driver spends travelling to or from that location may not be counted as a rest or break, unless the driver is in a ferry or train and has access to a bunk or couchette.

Mixed records - analogue and digital equipment

It is possible that a driver may during the course of a day drive two or more vehicles where both types of recording equipment are used. Drivers in such a situation must use a driver card to record while driving a vehicle with a digital tachograph and a tachograph chart when driving a vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph.

Note: A driver who is not in possession of a driver card cannot drive a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph.

Recording other work

Drivers must record all other work and periods of availability - including work for other employers - on all driving and non-driving days within a week where they have undertaken driving that comes within the scope of the EU rules on drivers' hours.

For example, a driver who works in a warehouse on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and wishes to drive a vehicle within the scope of the EU rules on Thursday of the same week must complete records for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The record must be either:

• written manually on a chart;

• written manually on a printout from a digital tachograph;

• made by using the manual input facility of a digital tachograph; or

• for days where a driver has been subject to the domestic drivers' hours rules and a record is legally required, recorded in a domestic log book.

For the non-driving days, the record may simply show the driver's name, the date, and the start and finish of the shift. These records must be carried on the vehicle by the driver to be produced to enforcement officers for the relevant period

Information to operators

A driver who is at the disposal of more than one transport undertaking must provide each undertaking with sufficient information to allow them to make sure the rules are being met.

Rest and other days off

The period of time unaccounted for between successive charts produced by a driver should normally be regarded as (unless there is evidence to the contrary) a rest period when drivers are able to dispose freely of their time. In the UK, drivers are not expected to account for this period, unless enforcement authorities have reason to believe that they were working. Nevertheless, on international journeys it is recommended that letters of attestation from the employer are provided for drivers travelling through other countries to cover any sick leave, annual leave and time spent driving a vehicle which is out of scope of EU/AETR rules during the preceding 28 days.





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