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The tachograph, although digital, will not do without manual entries. There are many situations that require manual data input. What for? For example, to ensure that there are no so-called empty periods during an inspection. Why? Because by law, every activity of a professional driver should be recorded. Rafał Frejtag from Inelo gives practical tips on how to avoid mistakes in working with smart tachographs.

Truck drivers often and regularly ask questions about logging the tachograph card. Non-standard situations, mistakes or simply a lack of knowledge about the use of the tachograph and rules clearly defining the route to be followed in the event of an error, expose carriers and drivers to the risk of financial consequences. But there are many solutions that can prevent possible crises.

The possession of a driver card or record sheet, in the case of analogue tachographs, is necessary to drive vehicles with a GVW of more than 3.5 t

On these media, with the help of a recorder, the actions performed by the driver of the truck are recorded, so that during the control it is possible to check the time of his work and rest during the day. Each person authorised to drive trucks may only use one valid and personal card.

Although the driver should only use his own document, it is often the case that he uses someone else’s card and thus breaks the rules on working time standards

The trucker is liable to a fine of 450 euros (2,000 Polish zloties) for such an offence, and the company may be subject to a fine of PLN 3,000. It is the duty of the driver to record on the card all his activities during the working day. It shall not be removed from the recording equipment as prescribed by law. However, the same regulations point to cases where a situation may arise in which the document is disconnected. When? Article 34 of Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council does not precisely define this:

The record sheet and driver card shall not be withdrawn from the recording equipment before the end of the daily working period unless withdrawal is otherwise authorised.

Acceptable cases, i.e. when can we remove the card from the tachograph?

“Of course the card can be removed from the tachograph at the end of the driver’s working day, but it is not a mandatory element, because if the medium remains in the recorder, the rest of the employee will be recorded,” says the expert. “However, it should be remembered that the driver card is the main document providing information about the time and course of work and should, therefore, be made available only to the driver named on the front of the media.”

What if the card was removed?

There are activities that can be saved manually on the driver card with the tachograph. In this way, the trucker can record activities such as a period of other work, readiness, break or rest. A very important aspect is to fully cover the time so as not to leave undeclared moments and events during the working day behind the wheel, which will be considered during the inspection as so-called empty periods.

NOTE! Withdrawing a card while resting or during a break may be considered as an interruption of this activity and may have consequences.

What if there is no manual entry?

Where a driver has not made a manual entry, it is necessary for him to have information recorded in another form on how the time not recorded in the tachograph was used. Therefore, if it was not possible to enter the data manually, the driver must have a so-called driver attestation issued by the carrier. In the document, the operator shall indicate the type of activity the trucker performed during the period not covered by the tachograph.

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Inspection? Here we go!

Another situation in which the driver card is removed from the tachograph is a roadside check. Article 34 of Regulation 165/2016 requires the presentation of the document to the competent authorities. Where the driver drives a vehicle fitted with a digital tachograph, he must be able to produce, whenever required by an authorised inspecting officer: (1) his driver card.

It is worth knowing that reading card data does not necessarily mean taking the card out of the recorder, as there are devices available that allow reading by the tachograph without having to take the document out.

If, however, during an inspection, the inspector decides to remove the driver card from the data recording device, be sure to make a corresponding manual entry at the end of the inspection, which will specify the circumstances of the situation where no document was available in the tachograph.

In the case of reading driver cards by companies, remote reading via the internet is becoming increasingly popular, without the need to remove the card from the tachograph. In order for the carrier to benefit from such solutions, it is necessary to retrofit the vehicle with appropriate devices. Most often these are advanced telematics systems that provide such functionalities.

Source: Press release by Inelo

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