Responsibilities of Operators
The following information relates to Operator responsibilities in connection with recording equipment (tachographs). Failure to adhere to the requirements of these responsibilities can lead to the suspension, curtailment or even revocation of your company operator license.
- General Responsibilities
- Tachograph - Calibration and Inspection
- Breakdown of Equipment
- Digital Tachographs - Company Cards
Operators of transport undertakings have legal responsibilities and liabilities for their own compliance with the regulations and that of the drivers under their control. Transport undertakings must:
- ensure that tachographs have been calibrated, inspected and re-calibrated in line with the rules;
- supply sufficient quantity of type-approved charts and print roll to drivers;
- properly instruct drivers on the rules;
- ensure the return of used tachograph charts from drivers. Note that this responsibility continues after a driver has left employment until all charts are returned;
- properly schedule work so the rules are met;
- not make payments to drivers related to distances travelled and/or the amount of goods carried if that would encourage breaches of the rules;
- download data from the Vehicle Unit and drivers' smart cards as frequently as stipulated in national law. (At the time of writing, the Government’s intention is that there will be a requirement for driver cards to be downloaded at least every 28 days and for VU's to be downloaded every 56 days, but in any case often enough to ensure that no data is lost. This requirement will be enacted in forthcoming legislation.) Downloading merely copies the information from the VU and card - it does not delete it. The VU holds 365 days and the driver card holds 28 days of average data, after which their memories are full and the oldest data is overwritten. In certain operations a driver card may hold less than 28 days of data. It has the capacity to record 93 activity changes per day; where more than this occurs the number of days held on the card will reduce;
- make regular checks of charts and digital data to ensure compliance;
- be able to produce records to enforcement officers for 12 months; and
- take all reasonable steps to prevent breaches of the rules.
Tachograph - Calibration and Inspection
All tachographs used for recording drivers' hours, whether analogue or digital, must be properly installed, calibrated and sealed. This task must be performed either by a vehicle manufacturer or an approved tachograph calibration centre. An installation plaque must be fixed to or near the tachograph. Tachograph calibration centres will issue a certificate showing details of any inspection conducted.
Analogue tachographs must be inspected every two years and recalibrated every six years.
Digital tachographs must be recalibrated:
- every two years;
- after any repair;
- if the vehicle registration number changes;
- if UTC is out by more than 20 minutes; and
- after an alteration to the circumference of the tyres or characteristic coefficient.
Inspection and recalibration dates are shown on the plaque and updated by calibration centres. Operators must ensure that these tachograph requirements are complied with before a new or used vehicle goes into service.
For further information concerning the testing and repairs of tachograph units, please visit the Testing and Repairs page within this section of the website.
Breakdown of Equipment
EU legislation requires that in the event of a breakdown or faulty operation of the equipment, it must be repaired as soon as possible. If the vehicle is unable to return to its base within a week the repair must be carried out en route.
UK legislation also provides that a driver or operator will not be liable to be convicted if they can prove to a court that the vehicle was on its way to a place where the recording equipment could be repaired, or that it was not immediately practicable for the equipment to be repaired and the driver was keeping a manual record. Additionally, they will not be liable where a seal is broken and the breaking of the seal was unavoidable and it could not be immediately repaired, providing that all other aspects of the EU rules were being complied with.
For faults and breakdowns involving digital tachographs, operators should ask the repair centre to download any data held on the unit. If this is not possible the centre should issue the operator with a 'certificate of undownloadability', which must be kept for at least 12 months.
For a full (downloadable) list of approved repair and installation facilities for both tachograph units and Road Speed Limiters (RSL's) please visit the Testing and Repairs page within this section of the website.
Digital Tachographs - Company Cards
Company cards are issued by DVLA in the company name. Company cards do not primarily hold data but act as an electronic key to protect and access data from the digital tachograph. A company can hold up to 2,232 cards, which will have identical card numbers but different issue numbers at the end of the card number that enable operators to tell them apart.
Company cards are needed to download data from the VU - they can be placed in either driver card slot. Company cards are not needed in order to access information from a driver card where it is being downloaded separately from the VU.
Operators may also use the company card to lock in (in other words, protect) their drivers' details. Once an operator has locked in, all subsequent data is protected and the full details may only be downloaded by inserting the same numbered company card. Locking in is especially recommended since failure to do so could lead to an operator being unable to download its data if this has been protected by a previous user's card.
The cards can be used to lock out when they have finished with a vehicle - for example, if it has been sold or if operators have used a hired vehicle. This will signify the end of their interest in the vehicle and its operations, although failing to do this will not prevent another company protecting its own data by locking in, as locking in will automatically lock out the previous protection.
Operators who use hired vehicles may need to train their drivers, and equip them with the means, to download VU data from vehicles at the point of de-hire where this occurs away from base.Source - VOSA