Help Desk – F.A.Q.

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Here below is reported a list of Frequently Asked Questions subdivided in the following categories:

 

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Frequently asked questions

General Issues  
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
What is a Digital Tachograph? A digital tachograph is a control device for road transport.
The digital tachograph is composed of a Vehicle Unit (VU) essentially containing a printer, two slots for the cards and a display. It is connected to the gearbox via a secured sensor. The VU is the brain of the system. It is able to hold data in the mass memory on drivers and their periods of driving and duty for about a 12 month period. It also and among others holds data relating to faults, attempts to tamper with the system, over speeding, calibration details, and when data has been accessed, for example, by the Police.
It functions with smart cards. Drivers, companies (operators), workshops (tachograph calibration centres) and enforcement officers (Police for example) have each smart cards according to their specific needs. These enable them to use and / or give access to the data in the VU.
When will the use of the Digital Tachograph be mandatory? New deadlines have been adopted on 6 December 2005 by the EU Council and the European Parliament within the on-going legislative procedure for Regulation (EEC) n°3820/85.
They will enter into force 20 days after the publication of this Regulation.
Regulation EC n° 561/2006 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11 April 2006 and the digital tachograph will become mandatory from 1 May 2006.
In the meantime, the use of both digital and analogue tachographs is allowed in new registered vehicles.
When will vehicles have to be fitted with Digital Tachographs? After new deadlines have been adopted (around the first week of May 2006), all vehicles applying for registration will have to be fitted with a digital tachograph.
Must all vehicles with traditional analogue tachograph be converted and equipped with digital ones? No. There will be no retrofitting of existing vehicles with the introduction of digital tachographs. This Regulation only applies to vehicles applying for registration for the first time after deadlines have been adopted.
However, in case of breakdown of the analogue tachograph, we recommend you to contact your national authority and check which kind of tachograph you should install in your vehicle.
National authorities are listed under the Points of Contact Section on our website.
On what legal basis is the Digital Tachograph introduced? In the European Union, the use of the digital tachograph is mandatory on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) n°2135/98 that amends Council Regulation (EEC) n°3821/85 and Council Directive n°88/599/EEC.
Commission Regulation (EC) n°1360/2002 introduces all technical requirements for the digital tachograph and tachograph cards.
In the AETR countries, a transitional period has been negotiated by contracting parties in Geneva at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The date of entry into force of the AETR as modified by the introduction of the digital tachograph, is 2010.
What is a Driver Card? It is a smart card to be used every day when taking over a vehicle fitted with a digital tachograph. It stores drivers' activities and has an average meory capacity of 28 days.
You will find full information on all 4 types of tachograph cards on our web site in the section Key Elements, under Tachograph Cards.
What is a Company Card? It is a smart card issued to transport company by the competent authority of the Member State where the company is established to be used to download data stored in tachograph mass memory and to lock the data belonging to this company against any unauthorised access.
You will find full information on all 4 types of tachograph cards in the Key Elements, under Tachograph Cards.
What is a Control Card? A control card is a smart card issued to a control officer or to a control agency giving access to all data stored in digital tachographs. It allows also data download.
You will find full information on all 4 types of tachograph cards in the Key Elements, under Tachograph Cards.
What is a Workshop Card? A workshop card is a smart card issued to, basically, approved workshops and/or their fitters to install, activate, calibrate, check and download digital tachographs.
The workshop card is the only one issued with a PIN.
You will find full information on all 4 types of tachograph cards in the Key Elements, under Tachograph Cards.
How will roadside checks be carried out in the future? Since there will be no retrofitting of digital tachograph for existing vehicles already equipped with analogue tachograph, both vehicles equipped with analogue tachograph and digital tachograph will be controlled on the road by control authorities.
The fact that a digital tachograph records data on a longer period (average of 28 days for the driver card and of 365 days for the vehicle unit) does not change enforcement rules.
Controlled periods remain on a 7-day basis.
Will there be only Digital Tachographs in the future? With the entry into force of the Regulation (EC) n°2135/98, new registered vehicles will only be fitted with digital tachographs.
Since there is no retrofitting of existing vehicles with digital tachograph, for many years companies will operate with mixed fleets of both analogue and digital tachographs.
Within AETR countries, traditional analogue tachographs can installed on vehicles until 2010.
How much does a Digital Tachograph cost? To check the price of a digital tachograph and other features of the recording equipment, please contact tachograph manufacturers.
Tachograph manufacturers contact details are listed in our Links Section.
Can the mass memory data in vehicle unit be downloaded? Yes.
Using the download interface, mass memory data can be transferred to external data storage media.
A company, workshop or control card is necessary for access. Driver cards do not give access to downloading.
Can anyone access the data stored in the Digital Tachograph? Access to the mass memory in the Vehicle Unit (VU) is only possible using a valid tachograph smartcard. The access rights of the various card holders are different.
If the VU memory is accessed by somebody having no card, data may be available thorough print outs and the display, but in which case names and cards numbers will be blinded.
Will it be necessary to convert EU law into national laws?
Responsible authorities in the countries are required to make appropriate rulings in order to create the necessary infrastructure for the implementation of the digital tachograph.
Otherwise, the general principle is that it is forbidden to convert EU Regulations into national laws since EU Regulations are directly applicable.
May differences of implementation throughout Europe exist?
Yes.
EU Regulations specify the exact function of the equipment.
However conditions for the necessary infrastructure are given as frameworks. National laws will then govern more specifically infrastructure.
It is therefore likely to have some differences among Member States.
Which rules apply in AETR countries?
AETR countries apply AETR rules.
For the time being, analogue tachographs with paper record sheets are used.
From 16 June 2010, AETR countries will be required to switch to digital tachographs for new registered vehicles.
What does the Digital Tachograph record? It records drivers' activities, speed, distances, identification data of the vehicle, of the tachograph fitted, calibration data as well as faults and attempts to manipulate the system.
You Are a Driver  
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
What happens when the driver card data memory or the mass memory in vehicle unit is full? With average use, the last 28 working days are stored on the driver card and the last 365 days are stored in the mass memory of the vehicle unit (VU).
The mass memory operates a rolling system in which the latest data automatically overwrites the oldest stored data.
Earlier data is lost if it has not been downloaded or backed up on another data storage media.
Who can apply for a driver card?
All drivers who are subject to Regulation (EEC) n°3820/85.
A driver applicant should check specific conditions and procedures for card issuing in the country where he has his normal residence.
More information is provided on the Key Elements Section, under Card Issuing Procedure.
National card issuing authorities are listed on the Points of Contact Section of this website.
How do I get my driver card?
The driver card is issued by relevant national card issuing authorities in EU Member States.
On the Points of Contact Section of this website you will find the list of national Card Issuing Authorities.
How long is the driver card valid?
The driver card validity is decided by Member States.
However it cannot exceed 5 years.
Can I have more than one driver card?
No.
Driver card is personal and unique.
It is forbidden to hold more than one valid driver card.
What happens if my driver card is faulty, gets lost or stolen?
The driver must apply for a replacement card within 7 calendar days of the driver card being defective, lost or stolen.
The issuing authority must issue a replacement card within five working days of receiving a valid application.
In the meantime, the driver must print out data on his driving and rest times recorded in the Vehicle Unit (VU) at the end of the journey, add his personal details and sign the printouts.
It is forbidden (except in some restricted circumstances) for a driver to continue to drive for more than 15 calendar days without a valid driver card.
Can control authorities find out if I am driving with an invalid driver card?
Yes.
Issuing authorities keep a record of issued, valid and invalid cards and exchange data through TACHOnet (see our web site under Key elements, section TACHOnet).
If you use a card that has been declared as faulty, lost or stolen, you will be detected.
What happens when the driver card data memory or the mass memory in vehicle unit is full?
With average use, the last 28 working days are stored on the driver card and the last 365 days are stored in the mass memory of the vehicle unit (VU).
The mass memory operates a rolling system in which the latest data automatically overwrites the oldest stored data.
Earlier data is lost if it has not been downloaded or backed up on another data storage media.
Can I display, print out or download the information stored on the driver card?
Yes.
Data can be displayed on the tachograph screen, printed out by the Vehicle Unit (VU) or via a card reader using a printer connected to a laptop and can be downloaded via the VU or via any other other dedicated equipment.
In case of roadside check, what documents shall I provide?
A - When driving and using a analogue tachograph
When a driver drives a vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph but has driven a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph during the previous 28 days, the driver has to produce the following materials, if requested by the police officer:
� Record sheets for the current week and the sheet for the last day on which (s)he drove during the previous week,
� The driver card if (s)he holds one,
� Print-outs from the Vehicle Unit of the digital tachograph if (s)he drove a vehicle fitted with such recording equipment during the previous 28-day period.

B - When driving and using a Digital Tachograph
If a driver drives a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph but has driven a vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph during the previous 28-day period, (s)he has to produce the following information, if requested by the police officer:
� His/her personal driver card,
� Record sheets corresponding to the period during which (s)he drove a vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph.
When does the driver must print out data?
A print out must be done with mixed operations, when driving and using both mechanical and digital tachographs during the previous 28 days.
As driver, you should keep and archive the data available on paper discs, from the driver card and in the VU (or on any other means in case of malfunctioning tachograph or driver card).
A print out must be made at the end of the journey and signed when driving without a driver card because it is lost, stolen or malfunctioning.
All these documents must be ready to be produced to any control officer in case of roadside and company checks.
How much does a driver card cost?
Prices are determined by national Card Issuing Authorities.
On the Points of Contact Section you will find contact details of national Card Issuing Auhtorities.
How will roadside checks be carried out in the future?
Since there will be no retrofitting of digital tachograph for existing vehicles already equipped with analogue tachograph, both vehicles equipped with analogue tachograph and digital tachograph will be controlled on the road by control authorities.
The fact that a digital tachograph records data on a longer period (28 days for the driver card and 365 days for the vehicle unit) does not change enforcement rules.
Controlled periods remain on a 7-day basis.
Does the driver card replace the driving license?
No.
The driving licence and the driver card are separate documents that the driver must, in case of control, provide at any time.
You are a Road Transport Company  
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
How do I prove to my boss that I had to stop because of a roadside check?
If the control officer inserted his card in the VU, the roadside check will be recorded in the mass memory of the Vehicle Unit (VU) and on the driver card with date and time.
Who gets a Company Card? A company should check specific conditions and procedures for card issuing in the country where it has its headquarters registered.
More information is provided on the Key Elements Section, under Card Issuing Procedure.
National Card Issuing Authorities are listed on the Points of Contact Section of this website.
Can a company get more than one Company Card?
Yes.
Companies can apply for more than one company card according to the procedures and conditions set up in each country by competent national authorities in charge of card issuing.
Do I have to fit Digital Tachographs in all vehicles so far equipped with analogue tachographs?
No.
There is no obligation for retrofitting existing vehicles with digital tachographs.
Only vehicles registered for the first time after the entry into force of the deadlines, which will take place on 1 May 2006, will have to be fitted with digital tachographs.
When can I start equipping my vehicles with Digital Tachographs?
Yes. Digital tachographs have been type approved, and are already fitted by vehicle manufacturers. They are therefore available on the market.
Three manufacturers have been approved so far. Their contact details are available on the Links Section of this website.
Does the Vehicle Unit (VU) have to be checked regularly?
Yes.
Digital tachographs have to be checked every 2 years at least by approved workshops.
Will there be an obligation to archive data from Digital Tachograph?
Yes.
Companies must keep a copy for at least one year (check the exact duration with your national authorities since this can be regulated differently by Member States) of both drivers cards data as well as those from Vehicle Units (or mass memory) and therefore regularly download data.
How will company checks be carried out in the future?
For the time being, there is no ruling at EU level that, unlike storage obligation for diagrams charts, prescribes regular downloading and saving of mass memory data and/or driver card, printout archiving or similar. However it is highly recommended to voluntarily proceed to regular data downloading and printing.
Furthermore, downloading could have been made mandatory in your country by national law. Member States are responsible for enforcing social legislation and we therefore recommend you to contact the competent authority in your country.
How will company checks be carried out in the future? For the time being, there is no ruling at EU level that, unlike storage obligation for diagrams charts, prescribes regular downloading and saving of mass memory data and/or driver card, printout archiving or similar. However it is highly recommended to voluntarily proceed to regular data downloading and printing.
Furthermore, downloading could have been made mandatory in your country by national law. Member States are responsible for enforcing social legislation and we therefore recommend you to contact the competent authority in your country.
You Are a Control Authority  
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
What does the Digital Tachograph record? It records drivers' activities, speed, distances, identification data of the vehicle, of the tachograph fitted, calibration data as well as faults and attempts to manipulate the system.
To get more information on this issue, go on the Key Elements Section of this website, go to How to Use It part that has a page on What Does the Digital Tachograph Record.
How will roadside checks be carried out in the future?
Since there will be no retrofitting of digital tachograph for existing vehicles already equipped with analogue tachograph, both vehicles equipped with analogue tachograph or digital tachograph will be controlled on the road by control authorities.
The fact that a digital tachograph records data on a longer period (28 days for the driver card and 365 days for the vehicle unit) does not change enforcement rules.
Controlled periods remain on a 7-day basis.
Data can be accessed via the display, via printouts or can be downloaded. It is strongly recommended for control officers to be equipped to get access to download data. If not, they have to be trained to be able to deal with printed data. Checking drivers' activities through the display is possible but should, as far as possible, be avoided.
In case of roadside check, what documents shall the driver provide?
A - When driving and using a analogue tachograph
When a driver drives a vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph but has driven a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph during the previous 28 days, the driver has to produce the following materials, if requested by the police officer:
� Record sheets for the current week and the sheet for the last day on which (s)he drove during the previous week,
� The driver card if (s)he holds one,
� Print-outs from the Vehicle Unit of the digital tachograph if (s)he drove a vehicle fitted with such recording equipment during the previous 28-day period.

B - When driving and using a Digital Tachograph
If a driver drives a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph but has driven a vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph during the previous 28-day period, (s)he has to produce the following information, if requested by the police officer:
� His/her personal driver card,
� Record sheets corresponding to the period during which (s)he drove a vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph.
Can all Digital Tachographs be checked with a Control Card?
Yes.
All cards must function in all Vehicle Unit, everywhere in European Union and AETR countries.
Control card gives access to all data stored in the vehicle unit, without limitation. It also gives access to data download.
You Are an Approved Workshop  
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
Who gets a Workshop Card?
Only workshops (or their fitters) that have been approved for digital tachographs will receive a Workshop Card.
More information is provided on the Key Elements Section, under Card Issuing Procedure.
National Card Issuing Authorities are listed on the Points of Contact Section of this website.
Can the workshop receive more than one card?
Yes.
In a workshop, each technician in charge of digital tachographs can be issued with a Workshop Card if duly trained.
How do I get a Workshop Card?
Only approved workshops can apply for Workshop Card.
Procedure and requirements are set by the competent national authorities in each country.
In Points of Contact Section of this website you will find the list of national authorities in charge of approving workshops and issuing cards.
What data are stored on the Workshop Card? Mainly the details of the card's owner and the data relating to the last 88 calibrations performed with this workshop card.
To get full details, go on the Key Elements Section of this website, to Recorded Data part.
What does a Digital Tachograph record? It records drivers' activities, speed, distances, identification data of the vehicle, of the tachograph fitted, calibration data as well as faults and attempts to manipulate the system.
To get more information on this issue, go on the Key Elements Section of this website, go to How to Use It part that has a page on What Does the Digital Tachograph Record.
What happens when my Workshop Card is full?
The mass memory operates a rolling system in which the latest data automatically overwrites the oldest stored data.
Data from the last 88 calibrations are stored on the Workshop Card.
Does the current authorisation of my workshop cover also work on Digital Tachographs?
No.
The introduction of digital tachographs will require new skills, new trainings for the fitters, new equipments as well as new technical and administrative procedures for workshops.
However already approved workshops for analogue tachographs have the possibility to apply for the digital tachograph approval.
How do I get Workshop Approval for Digital Tachograph?
Workshop approval is a procedure that Member State Competent Authorities carry out.
Criteria to approve workshops in the country and national requirements for approval under the framework of digital tachographs are defined by national Competent Authorities.
Please check competent authorities in our Points of Contact Section and contact the authority in your country.
Can the existing test equipments still be used to check digital tachograph?
No.
Since digital tachographs bring new technical procedures, the existing equipments for service diagnosis systems need to be upgraded in order to meet technical requirements, such as mass memory download.
Will there still be mandatory checks for Digital Tachographs?
Yes.
Digital tachograph has to be checked at least once every two years.
What happens to VU mass memory when the Digital Tachograph is replaced?
The workshop has to download mass memory data from the replaced unit and give it to the appropriate transport company on a suitable data storage media.