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All professional drivers driving commercial goods vehicles over 3.5 tons must use a tachograph card to record their activity. Here’s how to get your first tacho card, what to do if it gets lost or damaged, and how to renew it when it expires.

Drivers and their employers in the UK and in the EU are legally required to accurately record their activities, retain the records (files from internal memory and from driver cards must both be retained) and produce them on demand to transport authorities who are in charge of enforcing regulations governing drivers’ working hours. Tachographs are used for this purpose.

A professional lorry driver, who not only has their appropriate driving license (C or C+E category) but has also completed the CPC training, should apply for their first tachograph card when they get their first job as a driver. The fleet operator should inform them about the tachograph the company uses in their vehicles – whether they are analogue or digital devices.

Who needs a tachograph card?

All vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes that are used for commercial benefit must be fitted with a tachograph. If the vehicle was put in service after May 2006, it has to be fitted with a digital tachograph. Naturally, all drivers who drive such vehicles must have a digital tachograph card.

(Vehicles put in service before May 2006, might have an analogue tachograph installed that needs tachograph discs to record the driver’s activity. In this case, no tachograph card is needed.)

Who doesn’t need a tachograph card?

The obligation of using a tachograph is defined by the vehicle, not the driver. This means the drivers of the following vehicles don’t need a tachograph card when driving:

  • vehicles that cannot travel more than 25mph – most agricultural equipment belongs to this category,
  • emergency aid if carrying out non-commercial transport of humanitarian aid,
  • breakdown vehicles,
  • vehicles undergoing road tests for repair or maintenance
  • vehicles made more than 25 years ago
  • vehicles for personal use weighing more than 3.5 tonnes but less than 7.5 tonnes

How to get your first tachograph card in the UK

Drivers can apply for their first tachograph card at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). They need to fill in a‘D777B/DL – Application for a digital tachograph driver card’, and post it to DVLA.

The address is

DVLA Swansea SA99 1ST

1.You need to fill in your personal data (name, date and place of birth, address, telephone number).

2.Pay the fee and attach the proof about the payment.

Drivers don’t need to attach a photograph to this document! DVLA uses the photograph and signature from their photocard driving licence.

Drivers might not need to apply to a tachograph card themselves as operators can apply for cards on behalf of their drivers.

Drivers can also use this form to:

  • Change their name or address on the card.
  • Replace a lost, stolen or damaged card.
  • Renew an expired card.

How much does it cost?

The first card costs £32.

What to do if you lose your tachograph card or it gets damaged or stolen?

Drivers must inform the DVLA immediately if their card is lost, stolen, damaged or not working properly and must apply for a replacement card within 7 days.

DVLA 0300 790 6109 In such a case, drivers need to fill in a‘D777B/DL – Application for a digital tachograph driver card’, and post it to DVLA.

The address is

DVLA Swansea SA99 1ST

When do tachograph cards expire?

Digital tachograph cards expire five years after issue. Drivers must apply to DVLA for a renewal.

How to renew your tachograph card

Drivers need to fill in a‘D777B/DL – Application for a digital tachograph driver card’, and post it to DVLA.

The address is

DVLA Swansea SA99 1ST


Photo credit @ Trans.INFO

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