Analogue Tachographs & Records Management
We have broken this into three sections, covering what the operator and drivers need to know regarding charts, the responsibilities of the operator regarding chart management, and a section on agency drivers charts.
As far as your drivers are concerned, it's all very well you (as the operator) knowing the facts relating to tachograph charts, but it's imperative you train your drivers in this area. The benefits to you as the operator are obvious:
The only exception here is when drivers and vehicles are engaged in the collecting of sea coal, in this one case the driver is subject to the EU rules on drivers' hours but he/she does not need a tachograph.
- You receive clean, fully completed charts that are legible
- It assists your analysis company in reading them
- You spend less time going through analysis reports with your drivers
- VOSA will recognise your integrity as an operator
One of the areas within this industry which is long overdue a shake up regarding tachographs concerns Commercial Vehicle Driver Training, or in our view, the sad lack of it. If a company is being paid to train a driver on his/her C1, C or C+E, we fervently believe that the driver should be trained on how to carry out a daily walk round check; the principles of defect reporting and tachograph use, and most importantly how to complete an analogue chart correctly. If a vehicle has equipment fitted to it as standard, the driver should know how to operate and use it.
Surname - first or last?
There is a lot of argument about whether the drivers forename or surname is written first on a tacho chart. In our view - to ensure uniformity - we would advise surname followed by forename. The EC regulation indicates that this is the preferred method of entering a drivers name, and we feel that in the best interests of standardisation it should remain as such. One benefit this does have, is that by doing so, it would remove any confusion where in certain cases a drivers surname and forename are not obvious as such, an example being James John.
Marking start & Finish points on charts
The EC rules state that "When as a result of being away from the vehicle, a driver is unable to use the equipment fitted to the vehicle, the periods of time shall be entered on the sheet, either manually, by automatic recording or other means, legibly and without dirtying the sheet."
Our view is a simple DO NOT enter any manual details on the face of the chart other than the details required in the centerfield. This may differ from others points of view but our reasons are straightforward and logical, because if a driver marks the start and finish points on the face of his/her chart(s), they are by definition:
- defacing the chart which is wholly unaceptable; charts are easily readable without the need for additional marks written in by a driver
- as a result of other legislation - specifically the WTD - drivers are required to complete time sheets noting POA's etc, therefore we cannot see the need for the practice of marking start and finish times
- any time spent on other work - prior to driving, or after completing the chart for the day - should be noted as such on the reverse of the chart which negates the need to draw lines (or mark) start and finish on the chart face
- if you operate internationally, this practice (albeit acceptable within the UK) is wholly unacceptable in some other member states and your driver's may possibly face being fined
Charts in a drivers possession
From 1st January 2008 (if stopped in a roadside check), a driver is obliged to produce that current days chart, plus charts or manual records or his/her digital drivers card to confirm that records carried by the driver cover the previous 28 calendar days ' a maximum of 29 days of records in total.
Regarding the retention of charts by a driver, from 1st January 2008, charts should be returned to the operator within 42 days
The following points are what a driver should adhere to at all times;
- verify, before using an instrument, that it is correctly calibrated via the attached plaques and ensure that the time displayed is set to the official time of the country in which the vehicle is registered;
- carry enough charts for the whole journey, including spare charts in case any become damaged or dirty;
- use a second chart if a chart is damaged while in use and attach this one to the first chart on completion. There are other occasions when use of a second chart in a 24-hour period is unavoidable, namely when a driver changes to a vehicle with an incompatible tachograph to the chart in use, or he/she changes vehicles so many times that all the details cannot be accommodated on one chart.
- ensure that the correct type of chart is being used for the specific model of tachograph in use and that enough spare charts are carried;
- not use the charts to cover periods longer than 24 hours;
- enter centrefield details at the first use of the chart, when changing vehicles and when completing the use of the chart;
- correctly operate the mode switch in order to accurately record their activities;
- make manual entries on the chart in respect of their activities away from the vehicle, where the rules have been exceeded in an emergency, or to correct a recording;
- make manual entries when the equipment malfunctions and report any such malfunctions to the operator or employer;
- return used charts to the operator within 42 days. This requirement must be complied with even when a driver changes employer;
- permit an Authorised Examiner or police officer to examine the tachograph instrument;
- not remove the chart from the instrument before the end of their duty period unless authorised to do so. The rules are not specific on who can authorise removal of the chart, but cases where charts can be removed include:
- a change of vehicle;
- to make manual entries in the event of an emergency, equipment malfunction etc; and
- be able to produce at the roadside:
- a chart for the current day; and
- for the previous 28 calendar days;
- the driver’s digital smart card if they hold one.
Points to note
Time tips - Drivers should ensure that the time is correct for am or pm - both times are displayed identically on an analogue tachograph’s 12-hour clock face. Analogue tachographs must continue to display the correct time - which for the UK includes adjustments for British Summer Time.
Activity record - Most analogue tachograph instruments in use are 'automatic', which means that the instrument will automatically record activity as driving when the vehicle is moving and defaults to the mode switch setting when the vehicle stops
Driver cards - Drivers who have been issued with a driver card are committing an offence if they are unable to produce this during a roadside inspection, even if they only drive analogue tachograph equipped vehicles.
Unless they are also used to record working time, the operator must keep all charts in chronological order and in a legible form for at least one year (we would advocate 15 months) after their use. Where charts are used to record Road Transport Working Time they have to be kept for two years. Keeping photocopies of charts is unacceptable.
Tachograph chart drop files should be (in our view) used for all fleet operations. These are heavy duty (plastic) drop files with pockets set into them marked by Month, allowing each months charts to be retained securely and cleanly. One file should be used for each driver with the drivers name marked clearly in the tab. The best type are those that can hold a tacho chart envelope with the drivers entire months charts inside, which results in charts being kept in pristine condition.
Although there is no regulation requiring an operator to have charts analysed by an outside analysis company, they must be checked periodically to ensure full compliance of the rules. However, we would wholly advocate the practice of having charts sent away for analysis for the following reasons:
- analysis gives an accurate picture of what your drivers are doing
- it enables you to identify driver malpractice and determine whether further training is required
- analysis produces various reports inc:
- missing vehicle mileage - usually associated with missing charts
- driver infringements - notably speed, breaks & rest
- driver Reports - which can be signed off by each driver, thus notes can be made upon the operators copies of the driver reports ensuring VOSA's officers are aware that you're dealing with any issues that are apparent
- copies of agency driver reports can be forwarded to the specific agency, to assist their own training requirements
Who Retains Agency Drivers Charts?
As the operator of the vehicle(s), you are legally obliged to retain all agency drivers charts in exactly the same manner in which you retain your employed drivers charts. Effectively, an agency driver is your employee for whatever length of time he/she is working for your company and being paid by you, regardless of the fact that you're paying for his/her services through a third party.
Obtaining Agency Drivers Charts
It is your responsibility to ensure that you enter into an agreement with the agency you use to enable charts for any drivers supplied by them to be returned to you within the time frame outlined within the regulations.
Agency Drivers and your Compliance
Do not rely on an agency (or their drivers) to give you back your legal entitlement - some will not. This is a difficult area where your CPC and company's operators licence needs to be protected at all times, in the best interests of your company and your own employees. We have put together a document which will go some way to assisting you in enforcing common sense practice here, and will also help support you in the event of a visit from VOSA.
For further information concerning Analogue records management, please use the links below: