Common Rules

There are common rules regardless of whether using an analogue or digital tachograph unit. These rules not only affect the mode switch operation of the recording equipment but equally so, the records that are created by the same. The records - be they digital print outs or analogue charts - are in effect legal documents and should be handled as such.
Where a driver is unable to produce a digital or analogue record, he/she must make a manual entry into a logbook or record sheet where this is a requirement.

Operation of the mode switch or button

Drivers must ensure that the mode switch on an analogue tachograph or the mode button on a digital tachograph is correctly set to record their activities.

Working Time & Rest Periods


Explanatory Notes


This is automatically recorded on most tachographs.

Other Work

Covers all activities defined as work other than driving in the scope of EU/ AETR rules. Includes any work for the same or another employer, within or outside the transport sector

Availability POA

Covers periods of waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a period of availability (POA) are accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle. For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless taking a break or performing other work, ie navigation)

Break / Rest

Covers breaks in work and daily or weekly rest periods. Drivers may not carry out any driving or any other work. Break periods are to be used exclusively for recuperation. During a rest period a driver must be able to dispose freely of their time.

If for any reason the tachograph does not make an accurate record of activities (eg if the driver inadvertently makes an incorrect manual entry in a digital tachograph, or fails to correctly operate the mode button or switch), it is strongly recommended that the driver makes a manual tachograph record to this effect. For digital equipment, the driver should make and sign a printout for the relevant period with a note giving details of the error and reason at the time the error is made. For analogue equipment, the record should be made at the back of the chart.

Multi-manning – second driver record

Some analogue equipment and all digital tachographs will automatically record all time spent as a second driver when the vehicle is in motion as a period of availability and do not allow the mode to be changed to either ‘break’ or ‘other work’. Provided the second driver is not required to carry out any work during this time, enforcement authorities will accept the first 45 minutes of this time as a break from driving. Any periods of other work, however, must be manually recorded on a printout or chart by the driver.

Travelling time

In cases where a vehicle that comes within the scope of EU rules is at a separate location that is neither the driver’s home nor the employer’s operational centre where the driver is normally based but is at a separate location, the time the driver spends travelling to or from that location to take charge of that vehicle, regardless of the mode of transport, cannot be counted as a rest or break, unless the driver is in a ferry or train and has access to a bunk or couchette. Even if the driver is not paid or makes the decision themselves to travel to or from home base the travel time cannot be counted as rest or break. Travelling time must, therefore, be recorded as “other work” or “availability” in accordance with the above descriptions.

Mixed records – analogue and digital equipment

It is possible that a driver may, during the course of a day, drive two or more vehicles where both types of recording equipment are used. Drivers in such a situation must use a driver card to record while driving a vehicle with a digital tachograph and tachograph charts when driving a vehicle equipped with an analogue device. Time away from the vehicle may be recorded on either recording equipment, but there is no need to record it on both.

A driver who is not in possession of a driver card cannot drive a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph.

Recording other work

During a week in which in-scope driving has taken place, any previous work (including out of scope driving) since the last daily or weekly rest period (taken in accordance with either the EU drivers’ hours or working time rules), would have to be recorded as ‘other work’ on a tachograph chart, printout or manual entry using the manual input facility of a digital tachograph chart, or a legally required GB domestic record on a logbook.

‘Other work’ means all activities which are defined as working time in Article 3(a) of Directive 2002/15/EC except ‘driving’, including any work for the same or another employer, within or outside of the transport sector.

The record must be either:

  • Written manually on a chart
  • Written manually on a printout from a digital tachograph
  • Made by using the manual input facility of a digital tachograph or
  • For days where a driver has been subject to the domestic drivers’ hours rules and a record is legally required, it is advisable to make records in a domestic logbook or on a timesheet

Information to operators

A driver who is at the disposal of more than one transport undertaking must provide each undertaking with sufficient information to allow them to make sure the rules are being met.

Rest and other days off

The period of time unaccounted for between successive charts produced by a driver should normally be regarded as (unless there is evidence to the contrary) a rest period when drivers are able to dispose freely of their time. In the UK, drivers are not expected to account for this period, unless enforcement authorities have reason to believe that they were working.

There is no legal requirement to produce an attestation letter but we are currently unaware how the other EU Member States view this issue and some may currently require letters of attestation. We would, therefore, recommend, until the position becomes clear, that drivers carry letters of attestation from the employer for drivers travelling through other countries to cover any sick leave, annual leave and time spent driving a vehicle which is not in the scope of EU/ AETR rules during the preceding 28 days.

Whereas it may not be a legal requirement to carry an EU approved attestation form, we strongly recommend that you do. We are aware of cases, especially in France, where a failure to produce an EU approved attestation form when stopped at a roadside check has resulted in the driver being fined on the spot. It is also advisable to have an EU approved attestation form in various languages.

An EU approved attestation form can be downloaded from the link below in MS Word format: