Analogue VU’s & Records Management

In Europe, the digital tachograph succeeded the analogue tachograph as a result of EU Regulation 1360/2002 that made digital tachographs mandatory for all relevant vehicles manufactured after 1st August 2005. Digital tachographs would be required as of 1st May 2006 for all new vehicles for which EWG regulation VO (EWG) 3820/85 applied.

Whereas it is rare these days to find a vehicle older than 2006 on most modern fleets, there are vehicles still in operation that can be found with an analogue VU still installed and in use.

Analogue tachograph recordings

Analogue tachograph recordings are made by a stylus cutting traces into a wax-coated chart. Three separate styluses mark recordings of:

  • Speed
  • Distance travelled
  • The driver’s activity (known as the ‘mode’)

The inner part is used by the driver to write details of their name, location of the start of the journey, end location, date and odometer readings – see example below.

Tachodic Chart

The reverse of a tachograph chart normally contains an area for recording manual entries and details of other vehicles driven during the period covered.

Charts and records

Drivers are responsible for operating the tachograph correctly in order to record their activities accurately and fully. Specifically, drivers must:

  • 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.
  • Ensure that the correct type of chart is being used for the specific model of tachograph in use.
  • Carry enough charts for the whole journey, including spare charts in case any become damaged or dirty.
  • Enter centrefield details at the first use of the chart, when changing vehicles and when completing the use of the chart (see ‘Centrefield entries’ section).
  • Correctly operate the mode switch in order to record their activities accurately.
  • 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 the 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 they change vehicle so many times that all the details cannot be accommodated on one chart.
  • Make manual entries on the chart in respect of their activities away from the vehicle (see ‘Manual entries’ section), 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.
  • Not use a chart to cover a period longer than 24 hours.
  • Not remove the chart from the instrument before the end of their duty period unless authorised to do so. The rules do not specify who can authorise the removal of the chart, but cases, where charts can be removed, include:
    • a change of vehicle
    • swapping charts or cards on multi-manned journeys
    • to make manual entries in the event of an emergency, equipment malfunction etc.
  • Return used charts to the operator within 42 days. This requirement must be complied with even when a driver changes employer.
  • Be able to produce at the roadside:
  • Charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days.
  • The driver’s digital smart card if they hold one.
  • Permit a DVSA examiner or police officer to examine the tachograph instrument and inspect charts.

Time tips

Make sure 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’. This means that the instrument will automatically record activity as driving when the vehicle is moving, however, it defaults to the selected mode switch setting when the vehicle stops so drivers need to ensure it is set to the appropriate mode for the activity being carried out when the vehicle is stationary.

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.

Centerfield entries

A driver is required to enter the following information on the centrefield of a tachograph chart that they are using to record their activities:

  • Surname and first name (the law does not stipulate which order the names are put in – but your employer may have a policy on this)
  • The date and place (nearest town or city) where the use of the chart begins and ends. The year may be written in full or abbreviated – so both ‘2015’ and ‘15’ are acceptable - if the start and finish places are the same, both must be written on the chart – ditto marks are not acceptable
  • The registration number(s) of the vehicle(s) driven (which should be entered before departing on a new vehicle)
  • The time at which any change of vehicle takes place
  • The odometer readings:
  • At the start of the first journey
  • At the end of the last journey
  • At the time of any change of vehicle, recording the readings from both vehicles

Note that the ‘total km’ field does not have to be completed.

 It is not acceptable for written entries to extend outside the centerfield area if they might interfere with chart recordings. If, for example, the driver’s name or a place name is so long it must be abbreviated in order to avoid any possible interference with the recordings, the full name should be noted on the reverse of the chart.

Tachograph charts are required to provide space on their reverse side to record the additional information required in connection with changes of vehicles.


Analogue tachographs must be inspected every 2 years and recalibrated every 6 years.