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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is a digital tachograph (DTCO 1381)?
- Why is a digital unit replacing the analogue tachograph?
- Will there only be digital tachographs in the future?
- Must all vehicles with analogue tachographs be converted?
- Does the DTCO provide information on the current driving and rest times in relation to complying with EU social regulations?
- Is approval required for digital tachographs?
- How are unauthorised persons prevented from accessing the data stored in the DTCO?
- Can the DTCO be connected to an external display?
- Can the DTCO also be retrofitted?
- Is there an obligation to archive DTCO data?
- Does the DTCO also need to be calibrated regularly?
A digital tachograph is an electronic system for recording driving and rest times for drivers and co-drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles. In addition the vehicle speed, distance travelled and other system-related parameters are also recorded. Data is stored in a memory (mass memory) inside the unit and on driver-specific smart cards (driver cards). The legal basis for this Digital Tachograph are regulations (EC) No. 2135/98, No. 1360/2002, No. 3821/85 and No. 561/2006.
The EU is committed to improving compliance with mandatory driving and rest times. For this reason Regulation (EC) 2135/98 was enacted, according to which all new vehicles within the EU which are required to have tachographs must be fitted with digital tachographs from 1st May 2006.
New large goods and passenger vehicles which are in-scope, can only be fitted with digital tachographs. As there is no general obligation to convert existing vehicles, for a number of years fleets will operate a mixture of both digital and analogue tachograph equipped vehicles.
No. There is no general obligation to convert existing vehicles.
Yes, the DTCO issues a warning 15 minutes before the permitted driving time of 4.5 hours is exceeded (and also at the end of 4.5 hours). The recorded driving and rest times and their totals can be displayed and printed out.
Yes. The approval process includes a security check in which it must be shown that it is not possible to tamper with the unit, a compliance test that proves that the digital tachograph fulfils all the functions required in Annex 1B and an interoperability test that ensures that different types of unit are compatible with each other.
Access to the mass memory data is only possible using an appropriate tachograph card. Company-related data in the mass memory of the DTCO may only be downloaded by the fleet operator using an authorisation key, the so-called company card. The enforcement authorities (VOSA and Police) are issued with a control card which permits access to all mass memory data.
Yes, an electronic speedometer or instrument cluster can be connected to the DTCO.
Yes, VDO provide extensive solutions for retrofitting to all mainstream vehicles.
Yes, in the UK there is a mandatory requirement to download data from digital tachographs every 56 days and there is a requirement for the driver card to be downloaded at least every 28 days. The downloaded data must be available for inspection by VOSA at any time.
Yes, Digital Tachograph systems must be re-calibrated by an authorised calibration centre every 2 years. This requirement applies throughout the EU.