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Tachograph Infringements, and How to Avoid Them.

Tachograph Infringements.

Tachograph infringements, what exactly are they? Unless you are an HGV Driver you may not know what a tachograph infringement is. A tachograph is an electronic device that is fitted in the cab of all commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonne GVW and is used to record driving hours.

A typical tachograph chart as viewed in computer software.

If those driving hours are exceeded then the driver will incur an infringement on his or her tachograph driving record and may be asked to take retraining and sign a letter from his or her employer.

Examples of infringements are;

  • Exceeding 4hrs 30 minutes of continuous driving.
  • Insufficient breaks.
  • Insufficient daily rest.
  • Insufficient weekly rest.
  • Exceeding working time directive or WTD.
  • Exceeding 56hrs total driving in one week.
  • Exceeding 90hrs total driving in a fortnight.
  • Driving over 90kmph.

Digital Smart Card.

The drivers hours are recorded on a digital smart card that is held and used by the driver, it looks similar to the driver’s licence except that it is white in colour and has a smart chip attached to it.

It also contains sensitive data about the driver such as his or her photograph, drivers name, date of birth and driving licence number and is valid for a five year period.

The digital smart card is inserted into a vehicles tachograph unit usually at the start of the drivers shift or working day, it will then record what the driver is doing such as, work other than driving, driving periods and breaks taken. At the end of the day, the card is usually removed from the vehicle and downloaded into a computer, via a card reader, for scrutinisation by the driver’s employer.

If any infringements are found by the computer software, the employer is notified and will issue an infringement letter and may offer re-training. Any infringement could lead to the driver being fined. Repeat offences and too many infringements could cost the driver his livelihood.

Avoiding Tachograph Infringements.

Avoiding infringements is pretty much straight forward, you just need to work out how long you have been at work, i:e you need to remember what time you inserted your digital tachograph card and the time that you started your shift. These should marry up as you should carry out a manual entry when you insert your card into the tachograph recording equipment.

Manual Entries.

If you started work at 08:00hrs and you went to your truck and inserted your card at 08:11hrs, the display on the unit will show the time and date that card was last used, so you need to enter in manually what you have been doing since. For example; If, the day before, you removed your card at 17:51hrs and then clocked off at 18:00 hours, you will need to show a period of other work using the cross hammers symbol from 17:51 to 18:00hrs.

A manual entry being entered on a digital tachograph.

Then you will need to show a period of rest from 18:00hrs to 08:00hrs the next day and a period of other work from 08:00hrs to the time of insertion i:e 08:11hrs. Once this is done you are then ready to start your working day, you need to remember in your head the exact time that you started work as entered on your digital tachograph.

The Six Hour Rule.

The reason you need to remember your start time is so that you can work out when your break is due, for example; if you started work at 08:00hrs then you should aim to take a 30 minute break before 14:00hrs, six hours after you started your shift. If you reach four and a half hours driving time before your six hours is up, then you need to take your break when this occurs.

You can take a fifteen minute break break before you have reached 6 hrs duty time, but then you must take a 30 minute break before you reach 9hrs duty time.

You then also need to remember the exact time you finished your break because you will be starting another six-hour period, for example, if you finished your break at 11:30hrs then you need to take another 30-minute break or be finished working before 17:30hrs, otherwise, you will incur an infringement because you would have broken the six-hour rule.

A typical tachograph with manual entries as seen via computer software.
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