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Drivers of buses and trucks are required by law to use a digital tacho card. A driver card stores data about the drivers, including break and rest times. Find out how to apply for driver card and what to do if you lose your card

Driver card

The personal driver card is a credit card-sized plastic card that contains a microchip. The card can store all relevant driver data required for EU Drivers’ Hours regulations including break and rest times.

The driver card:

  • Is unique to the individual driver and valid for five years
  • Can store information for 28 days
  • Can only be used by its owner, ie the driver authorised to use it
  • May be suspended or withdrawn by an enforcement officer if the card has been falsified, if the person using the card is not the legal holder of the card, or if the card has been obtained by false declaration or forged documents
  • Must be made available to enforcement officers on request

Vehicle unit (also known as VU)

Before a journey begins (eg, when loading/unloading or driving) a driver must insert the driver card into the appropriate slot in the digital tachograph unit.

Where a vehicle is double-manned, both driver and co-driver slots are used.

Similar to an analogue tachograph, a digital tachograph will record a driver’s activities such as driving, other work, breaks and rest.

When a driver is doing a manual entry of data into the tachograph they will be asked (via the units menu) if they have driven any other vehicle that day and must select whether it was by digital or analogue-recorded method.

If driving a vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph the driver should have a chart to record his or her activities.

A driver must also make daily printouts when changing between vehicles fitted with analogue and digital tachographs. This guarantees that there is a complete record (printouts and charts) of driving activities for the current week and the last working day of the previous week.

Downloading data

Data must be downloaded from the driver card every 21 days. This can be done by the driver themselves or by their employer with the driver’s permission. Regardless of who downloads it, the data should be retained for inspection by enforcement officers for a period of at least 12 months.

Agency drivers

In the case of a driver working for more than one company, he/she should download data every 21 days from the driver card and retain it for inspection.

Tachograph card application