Tachograph Offences

Fatigue in drivers is a serious matter. A tired driver can kill which is why both EC and Domestic regulations exist to govern driver's hours.

Fatigue in drivers is a serious matter. A tired driver can kill which is why both EC and Domestic regulations exist to govern driver's hours.

EC rules apply to drivers of most vehicles, used for the carriage of goods, where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle (including that of any trailer or semi-trailer) exceeds 3.5 tonnes. They apply to all journeys made entirely in the UK and the EC. There are exemptions which depend on the type of vehicle, or the type of work being done.

 Any vehicles exempt from EC regulations are covered by UK domestic rules when operating in the UK (unless exempt).

 Whilst these regulations primarily exist to maintain road safety, they are also designed to ensure fair competition between Transport Operators.

Drivers Hours Rules

i.                    European: EC Regulation 561/2006


Daily Driving Shall not exceed 9 hours with an exemption of twice a week when it can be extended to 10

Weekly driving Shall not exceed 56 hours

Fortnightly driving Shall not exceed 90 hours

Daily Rest Shall be at least 11 hours which can be reduced to 9 hours 3 x a week. (Daily rest can be split between two periods of at least three hours rest followed by at least nine hours rest)

Daily Rest Breaks of at least 45 minutes should be taken after 4 ½ hours of driving (this can be separated into two breaks of at least 15 minutes followed by a break of at least 30 minutes)


ii.                   Domestic Law: Transport Act 1968 - Section 96


Daily Driving Shall not exceed 10 hours

Daily Duty Limit: Shall not exceed 11 hours in any working day

Daily work: Shall be recorded on a weekly record sheet or on a tachograph


How do people falsify records?

1.       Casual deceit - simple manipulation of hardware or documents

2.       Removal - removal of the Card and either driving without a card in the head or entering a manual entry to show a ‘break’

3.       Second Card – use of another driver card to record some of the work undertaken

4.       Tampering with the supply – use of an interference device


Who is responsible for compliance with drivers’ hours rules?

 The Driver is responsible for correctly operating the instrument in order to accurately record their activities. If using a digital tachograph, the driver must carry his digital tachograph card and any manual records and printouts made. If using an analogue tachograph, the driver must have any analogue charts for the current week and the previous 28 calendar days.

 The Operator is responsible for maintaining tachograph equipment, monitoring drivers’ hours and working time records and ensuring their drivers are fully trained. They must not give drivers payments which could encourage breach of the regulations including bonuses related to distance travelled, or the amount of goods carried. Driver cards should be downloaded every 28 days (as a legal maximum) and vehicle units every 90 days (as a legal maximum).  

 What Can happen in the event of discovery by DVSA / Police?

 When drivers’ hours offences are detected, drivers are either:

•       Issued with a fixed Penalty

•       Summonsed to court

•       Reported to the Traffic Commissioner

If the Operator is Investigated and prosecuted for permitting the offences then, as a summary only offence, they risk an unlimited fine.

If DVSA can prove that the owners and/or management of a transport company have been aware of driver’s hours offending by drivers, then they and the drivers can be prosecuted for the more serious offence of conspiracy which could result in a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.

For a full explanation of EU Tachograph Rules and GB Domestic Rules please visit Drivers' hours: EU rules - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The criminal courts and the Traffic Commissioner take drivers hours infringements very seriously.  If you are being investigated for tachograph offences, then contact us for advice and our team of specialist solicitors will help you navigate what will undoubtedly be a difficult and stressful time.

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