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Faulty Digital Tachograph Cards

Up to 175,000 digital tachograph driver and company cards issued during the 18-month period between 24 March 2007 and 31 August 2008 are at risk of malfunction.

When the faulty cards are inserted, the digital tachograph vehicle units display a series of error codes, including "Error Code 48", "Card Error", "Card Not Valid" and "Card Expired" messages.

The DVLA is aware of this issue and has agreed with VOSA that no enforcement action will be taken against drivers with one of the malfunctioning cards so long as they comply with the drivers' hours and tachograph rules. VOSA has also contacted its enforcement counterparts in Europe to ask that the same arrangements be put in place for UK drivers holding these cards.

What you need to do

  • If you have already reported the driver or company card(s) as malfunctioning to the DVLA, either by telephone or by applying for a replacement, you should receive a new card(s) soon. You do not need to take any further action.

  • If you have not applied for a replacement driver or company card(s) you do not need to take any action. The DVLA will automatically issue a new card(s) to the address shown on their records at the earliest opportunity. If you need to update your address go to www.direct.gov.uk/changemyaddress (driver card address) or www.businesslink.gov.uk (company address). The DVLA will include a letter with the replacement card(s) explaining what you need to do with your old card.

  • If your card is due to expire, you will still receive a reminder to renew the card and you should complete this in the normal way. You will then receive a new card. You should continue to complete manual records (see below) until the start date of that card.

Can you still drive?

Replacement cards are being issued as soon as possible; however, the DVLA is limited to issuing only 6,000 digital tachograph cards per day and the drivers' hours and tachograph rules do allow you to drive for a maximum of 15 calendar days without a card, whilst your faulty card is being replaced; however, due to the large number of replacement cards needed, it is likely that replacement cards will not be received within the 15-day period.

The DVLA has therefore issued further guidance, confirming that you can continue to drive until you receive the replacement card but you must keep manual records as follows:

  • You must do a "vehicle" print-out at the very start of your duty period (before you complete your daily walk round check of the vehicle and daily defect reporting paperwork). If your duty period starts earlier than the time at which the print-out is taken, you must make a manual entry on the reverse of the print-out to reflect the time that your duty period actually started.
  • You must keep a manual record of your activities (i.e. driving time, other work, periods of availability, breaks and rest periods) throughout your duty period by completing the 24-hour chart on the reverse of the print-out.
  •  You must do a "vehicle" print-out at the very end of your duty period. ). If your duty period ends later than the time at which the print-out is taken, you must make a manual entry on the reverse of the print-out to reflect the time that your duty period actually ended.
  • You must include your name, driver card or driver licence number, the date and your signature on the reverse of the print-outs.
  • You must carry your print-outs with you for 28 calendar days (in the same way you would carry analogue tachograph charts with you).
  •  You must make your print-outs available for inspection by an Enforcement Officer upon request.

What should operators do?

  • Ensure that any affected drivers have sufficient supplies of print roll available to produce two print-outs every day. Drivers should carry one spare print roll at all times.
  • Provide any affected drivers with written instructions explaining how to do print-outs and correctly complete manual records of their duty periods.
  • Provide drivers with a letter that can be produced to an Enforcement Officer explaining that the driver is awaiting a replacement card and is driving without a card, but keeping manual records, until the replacement card arrives.
  • Include all data from drivers' print-outs in your analysis of drivers' hours.

For passionate and pragmatic assistance, advice and representation in relation to drivers' hours, tachographs or any other aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik on 0161 828 1849 or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk