In the UK, it is mandatory to have a tachograph installed in any vehicle that is being used for commercial purposes where the vehicle’s gross weight —including anything being towed, such as a trailer— is greater than 3.5 tonnes. It is also mandatory for any drivers of those vehicles to have a tachograph card, and it is considered a serious offence to drive without one.
This system exists for a good reason, but it can be a problem for drivers who, for whatever reason, are in need of a replacement tachograph card. For many commercial drivers, losing a tachograph card can mean missing out on work or incurring heavy penalties if they work without their card. That’s why it’s important to know about tachograph card replacements.
What Are Tachographs?
Tachographs ensure that drivers and their employers follow the rules regarding drivers’ hours that exist for the safety of all road users. A driver falling asleep at the wheel of a family car can result in a tragic accident, but a driver falling asleep at the wheel of a 44-tonne heavy goods vehicle could be catastrophic for road users, property owners and anyone else in the area.
Tachographs serve an essential purpose, but that offers little solace to an HGV driver who can’t work because their tachograph card has been lost or stolen.
Where Can You Get a Replacement Driver Tachograph Card?
First of all, it is important to note that drivers who have lost their tachograph card or had it stolen should inform the DVLA immediately. This protects the driver from receiving penalties because of someone misusing their card.
In order to get a tachograph card —be it a replacement or a first issue— a driver must apply through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Said driver must fill in a ‘D777B/DL – Application for a digital tachograph driver card’ form and send it via post to the DVLA. This form is used for both replacement and new cards.
DVLA Tachograph Card Replacements
A DVLA tachograph card replacement is the only legitimate way to get a tachograph card. Replacement cards are not just needed when the original cards are lost or stolen, of course. Tachograph cards expire five years after they are issued, and drivers must apply to the DVLA for a renewal when this period approaches.
How Quickly Can You Get a Replacement Digital Tachograph Card?
Upon receipt of a valid application, the DVLA will issue a replacement driver card within 5 working days. It is worth noting that this period does not include the time it takes for the driver to send their application and for the card to be delivered. In most cases, a driver will receive their replacement card within 5 working days, but they should be prepared for as much as 7-10 working days, depending on how quickly the application is processed and the delivery times.
Lost or Stolen Tachograph Cards
This would naturally be a concern for drivers who have lost their card, or had it stolen since they would be unable to work for potentially an entire week. Fortunately, the DVLA has a provision in place for this.
A driver with a lost, stolen or damaged card can continue to drive for a maximum period of 15 days. This period can also be extended if it is necessary to return the vehicle to its premises. This grace period is not without restrictions, however. During this 15-day window, the driver must produce 2 daily printouts of their hours.
What About Analogue Tachographs?
Digital tachograph cards are mandatory for all applicable vehicles manufactured from 2006 onwards. For older vehicles, it is permitted to have an analogue tachograph , which records miles and time onto a physical piece of wax paper that is slotted into the tachograph device. The driver then manually removes this paper and hands it to their supervisor or manager for tachograph analysis.
The law regarding driver cards does not make an exception for analogue tachographs. If a vehicle falls into the category of vehicles that require a driver card, it does not matter whether the specific vehicle being driven has a digital tachograph. Drivers should perform a daily or pre-trip vehicle walk-around check.
What if a Driver Forgets Their Card?
The rules on tachograph cards are unambiguous. Drivers of vehicles that require a tachograph must have a driver card.
• If that card is lost, stolen, or damaged, it should be reported to the DVLA immediately.
• If a missing or malfunctioning card is not reported and the owner is caught driving, they will be penalised in the same manner as anyone else caught driving without a card.
Fortunately, a remote tacho download is available for use while the application for a new tachograph card takes place through the postal system, there is a phone number for reporting lost, stolen and damaged cards. That means a driver in this situation will not need to worry about being caught short. The number to call for this is 0300 790 6109.