The tachograph

The digital tachograph, which is used to record the driving times of truck, coach and lorry drivers, was born out of the need to replace the previous analogue device, which over time proved easy to falsify, allowing time readings to be tampered and therefore creating serious distortions in the free competition of the road transport market (out of 1 million vehicles checked in 2002, about 70,000 frauds or attempted frauds were detected). In addition, problems around use and reliability, especially in reading the data on the discs used by the analogue tachograph, made checks by the competent authorities difficult.

The digital tachograph consists of two basic components:

  • a vehicle unit: this is a device similar to a car radio or CD player, comprising two smart-card readers, a manual input selector, a screen for displaying data and a small printer;
  • a smart card.

Data control

The digital tachograph is securely connected to the vehicle's sensors and records data on the vehicle’s use for the period of one year. In particular, the identity of the driver(s), driving and rest times, and driving modes (individually or as part of a team) are recorded.

Other functions

The device also records:

  • vehicle identification data (for life);
  • the distance travelled;
  • operating faults and breakdowns (for one year);
  • the speed maintained in the last 24 hours of vehicle use.
Last modified
Wed 31 Jan, 2024