Analogue Vs Digital Tachographs

Tachographs - Paul Barton

There are two different types of Tachographs – Analogue and digital. In 2006 EU regulations stated that all vehicles registered in 2006 onwards would require to have a digital tachograph, rather than an analogue.

So what’s the main difference?

An analogue tachograph requires wax paper sheets. At the beginning of every shift, the driver would manually write their details in the centre of the paper sheet. They would then physically put the paper into the back of the machine. After this is done they can then begin their working day. They will select their work mode. There are 3 modes available; Other work, Availability and Break/Rest

  • Other work – Jobs included in job role that don’t involve driving this could be duties such as loading and unloading goods.
  • Availability – This mode is used for when there is a delay in production so you are waiting for the goods to become available to load and drive away.
  • Break/Rest – Taking a break from driving for example, pulling in at the motorway services for a sleep or having something to eat.

Once the vehicle is turned on and moving, the tachograph will recognise the change in mode automatically and start to record the miles and time. At the end of the shift the driver would manually remove the paper and give the recorded information to their admin team or supervisor to store.

A digital tachograph requires a smart ID card, similar to a driving licence. The ID card will display the drivers name, date of birth, expiry date and also a photo of them. The card has a chip that also holds this information. As they collect the vehicle keys to start work their card will be checked by a staff member on the computer that will show if the driver is suitable for work. Once checked and authorised the driver then enters the card into the tachograph in their cabin to begin recording the information. Again, they have the same 3 work options to choose from. Just as the analogue model, the tachograph will automatically recognise when the vehicle is moving and start recording the data digitally. All of the data is stored on the driver’s personal ID smart card or can be printed instantly from the machine in a receipt style. By law, only at the end of the shift can the card be removed.

Therefore, the main difference is that the analogue requires the driver to manually enter his details and the data is recorded directly onto paper. Whereas the digital tachograph has the benefit of all the information being stored on one card, meaning less work for the driver! The smart ID cards are un-forgeable and therefore the data recorded is more reliable. The digital tachographs are also easier with regards to roadside checks carried out by police as they present the information quickly and easily. Both machines record the same information and are both still currently used on the roads. The digital tachograph just has a few added bonuses!

How often do the tachographs need servicing?

Both analogue and digital require a check over every 2 years

What happens if my vehicle is registered before 2006 and my analogue tachograph needs replacing? Would it be changed to a digital tachograph?

No, the vehicles tachograph would be changed like for like unless specified otherwise

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