The tachograph is the device that records driving times and rest periods as well as periods of other work and availability taken by the driver of a heavy vehicle. The purpose of the tachograph is to prevent driver’s fatigue and to guarantee fair competition and road safety.
It is mandatory to install a tachograph in new vehicles having a mass of more than 3,5 tonnes when they are intended for the transport of goods, or new vehicles carrying more than 9 persons including the driver, when they are intended for the transport of passengers.
Regulation (EU) N° 165/2014 on recording equipment in road transport sets out the basic constructive characteristics of the tachograph and lays down the main elements of the system that must be put in place and maintained in order to implement the tachograph across the EU.
Digital tachographs are able to record and store the activity of the driver and the co-driver in an accurate and secure manner, thanks to the implementation of forefront technology and strong anti-tampering measures. The driver must insert into the tachograph a personal card incorporating a microchip before starting to drive. This personal card stores the driving activity from the driver for at least 28 days and ensures that the information can be easily retrieved by inspection authorities.
Since 15 June 2019 a new generation of tachographs, so called smart tachographs, are being installed in newly registered trucks and buses. The smart tachograph features the same functionalities as previous generations of the digital tachograph, complemented with additional communication tools, such as GNSS positioning and transmission of real-time information to enforcement authorities by means of a short-range communication channel. It also incorporates enhanced anti-tampering measures such as encryption keys generated with the most advanced algorithms.
Following the recent amendment to Regulation (EU) No 165/2014, a new version of the smart tachograph (smart tachograph version 2) will be deployed in 2023. Version 2 will incorporate new functionalities for the purpose of enforcement of the EU legislation on cabotage and posting of workers, such as the recording of border crossings or the detection of the position of the vehicle when a load/unload operation is being carried out. Additional information related to the activity of the driver shall be transmitted to enforcement authorities through the short-range communication channel.
Smart tachograph version 2 will enhance the anti-tampering resistance of the current tachograph by means of new features, such as its capacity to authenticate satellite signals or the fitting of an internal sensor which is independent from the external motion sensor.
The smart tachograph version 2 will be fitted in newly registered vehicles as of August 2023 and in already registered vehicles engaged in international road transport operations by August 2025 at the latest (by 31 December 2024 for vehicles equipped with an analogue or digital non-smart tachograph, and 18 August 2025 for vehicles equipped with a smart tachograph version 1). In addition, as of 1 July 2026, vehicles above 2.5 tons in international road transport or cabotage operations will be equipped with a smart tachograph version 2.
Detailed questions on the implementation of the recording equipment can be addressed to the Helpdesk on Digital Tachograph.
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1228 of 16 July 2021 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/799 as regards the requirements for the construction, testing, installation, operation and repair of smart tachographs and their components
Other relevant documents
Euro Côntrole Route - Group of national road control authorities collaborating to improve the quality of enforcement