MCL Transport Consultants

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
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:

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.

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Digital tachographs must be recalibrated:

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.

Key Information
Key Information
International journeys: Although this is the position under EU rules, it is not advisable to start or continue an international journey with a defective tachograph, even if manual records are kept. This is because many countries will not permit entry by such vehicles, since their own domestic laws require a fully functioning system.

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.

Key Information
Key Information
Company cards: Operators can apply for company cards by calling the DVLA at 0870 850 1074 to obtain an application form (form D779B). In Northern Ireland, application forms are available from DVLNI (call 028 7034 1589) and DVTA test centres.

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

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