Guide to Tachograph Offences and Punishment

What is a Tachograph
Analogue or Digital Tachograph
What are the Rules for Drivers Hours?
What Are The Daily Rest Period Requirements?
How can I be Sanctioned for Tachograph Offences?
What are the Tachograph Offences and Related Punishments?
Punishments for Falsifying a Tachograph
How can we Help With Tachograph Offences

What is a Tachograph?

Tachographs are mandatory recording devices for drivers of heavy good vehicles, public service vehicles and vehicles carrying 12 or more people.

Tachograph devices record information about the distance; speed and driving time undertaken with the primary purpose of ensure drivers stay within the regulations set out by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency.


Analogue or Digital Tachograph?

Vehicles registered on or after 1st May 2006 must be fitted with a digital Tachograph. Vehicles registered before can be fitted with digital or analogue equipment.


What Are The Rules For Drivers Hours?

A maximum of 9 hours driving a day can be completed with a mandatory 45 minute break every 4.5 hours. Twice weekly the 9 hour limit can be increased to 10 hours.

The maximum weekly driving limit is 56 hours within a fixed week. A fixed week starts at 00.00 on Monday and ends at 24.00 on the following Sunday

The maximum driving limit over a 2 weekly period is 90 hours e.g week 1: 56 hours  / week 2: 34 hours


What Are The Daily Rest Period Requirements?

Maximum Daily Rest: a daily rest period of 11 hours (or more) must be taken in each 24 hour period, during which the driver does no type of work for an employer or on a self-employed basis.

Reduced daily rest: You can reduce the 11 hour rate to 9 hours upto 3 times per week, providing the time is made up the following week.

Split Daily rest: You can split the rest period but it has to be taken as 12 hours; first period must be 3 hours and the second period must be 9 hours.

Any of the above daily rest periods can be taken in the vehicle providing there is sufficient sleeping accommodation. The vehicle must not be moving including with another person driving the vehicle.


How can I be Sanctioned for Tachograph Offences?

Verbal Warnings
Minor infringements committed accidentally, due to inexperience or due to isolated instances may be dealt with by verbal warning, this will consist of a clarification of the infringement and consequences of continued infringement.

Offence rectification notice
May be issued for a variety of infringements that do not pose immediate threat but must be rectified within a 21 day period, failure to do so could lead to further action including prosecution.

Drivers’ hours and Tachograph rule breaches often lead to prohibition. This is an enforcement tool to remove any threat to road safety and when issued, prohibits driving of the vehicle for a specified or unspecified period, until the conditions stated on the prohibition note have been met.

Serious infringements considered to be in the interest of the public will be considered for prosecution, against the driver, operator or other undertakings, or against all.

Referral to the Traffic Commissioner
Drivers holding a vocational licence and/or Operators holding an Operator’s Licence may be reported to the traffic commissioner instead of or in addition to prosecution, to decide whether any administrative action should be taken against their licences.


What are the Tachograph Offences and Related Punishments?

Maximum fines and Penalties for infringements of the drivers’ hours rules in Great Britain include:

  • Failure to observe driving time, break of rest period rules: Fine upto £2,500 (level 4)
  • Failure to make or keep records under the GB domestic rules: Fine upto £2500 (level 4)
  • Failure to install a tachograph: Fine upto £5000 (level 5)
  • Failure to use a tachograph: Fine upto £5000 (level 5)
  • Failure to hand over records relating to recording equipment as requested by an enforcement officer: Fine upto £5000 (level 5)


Punishments for Falsifying a Tachograph:

  • False entry or alteration of a record with the intent to deceive: On summary conviction fine £5000, on indictment two years’ imprisonment;
  • Altering or forging the seal on a tachograph with the intent to deceive: on summary conviction fine of £5000, on indictment two years’ imprisonment and
  • Failure to take all reasonable steps to ensure contractually agreed transport time schedules respect the EU rules: fine of up to £2500 (level 4)


How can we help with tachograph offences?

  • We can advise on whether offences are made out
  • We can request the Tachograph data from prosecutor and if necessary we can arrange for it to be independently analysed
  • We can liaise with the prosecutor, be it the police or the DVSA (formerly VOSA) because It may be that certain offences can be withdrawn on the basis of pleas to others
  • We can make written representations to the prosecutor if there are live issues.
  • We can Defend through to trial if elements of the offence are not made out.
  • We can advise on reporting convictions to the office of the Traffic Commissioner and we can represent at any driver conduct hearing into your LGV entitlement.


For advice on DVSA and their powers, or assistance with a DVSA prosecution or at an Operator Licensing Public Inquiry, call now and speak to one of our solicitors on 0115 910 6239. We have offices in Nottingham but offer a Nationwide Service.