digital tachograph

When did digital tachographs come in?

Analogue tachograph, the concept of logging driving activities, dates back to 1953, became compulsory in Europe for commercial vehicles from 1986.

Digital tachographs came in on 1 May 2006 when all new trucks have to be equipped with one. 

A digital tachograph records speed, distance, driving periods, breaks,some events like over speeding, driving without the card and fraud attempts. 

These data are mainly used to make sure drivers follow the rules on drivers’ hours:nine hours in a day, 56 hours in a week and 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.

Today, the tachograph system is digital and based on a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). 

It is the only European project so far guaranteeing full interoperability within the countries of the EU (and the UK) and AETR (European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport).

Offering an exceptionally high level of security, the digital tachograph is the first cross-border interoperable project of its kind.​​

How many countries are using digital tachographs?

Today, 50 countries, comprising all of Europe plus Turkey and the CIS states (Russian Commonwealth of Independent States) have the system deployed. 

In other words, It's an evident success. 



Let's see what drivers think of tachos.

6+ million trucks and buses with tachos in 2019

A European study showed that fatigue of truck drivers had been identified as the main cause of 6% of accidents, 37% of which were fatal. The total cost of accidents for all commercial vehicles above 3.5 t would amount to € 2.8 billion.

The introduction of the digital tachograph can be considered a success. We have to bear in mind the large variety of stakeholders involved in the system as expressed by the European commission's IMPACT ASSESSMENT​ on measures enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the tachograph system Revision of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 of July 2011. 

Tachograph cards are used by one million transport companies and more than six million professional drivers. The system is fitted in more than six million trucks and buses.

So what are the benefits of digital tachographs?​

The digital tachograph serves as both an essential part of national and international road safety and a valuable tool for freight and passenger transport fleet operators.

The digital tachograph allows better enforcement of the social legislation, as it is much harder to commit and conceal fraudulent manipulation of the system. 

​The introduction of the digital tachograph has therefore contributed to achieving the aims of social legislation (EC impact assessment):

  • improved road safety by drastically reducing fraud linked to excess driving time and speeding.
  • better working conditions for drivers
  • fair competition between transport companies.​​

Let's see more technical aspects.

What is a digital tachograph?

The digital tachograph system encompasses :

  • a motion sensor and a controlling vehicle unit installed in trucks and busses 
  • and four types of tachograph cards.

These four cards are:

  1. a card with photo for commercial drivers to store all individual driving activity over the previous four weeks, 
  2. a card for the company operating the vehicle for fleet management, 
  3. a card for approved workshops responsible for installing and calibrating motion sensors
  4. a card for the authorities performing roadside checks.

First introduced in the EU, the system has also been mandatory in the AETR countries since 2010.

AETR countries are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.


Smart tachographs in June 2019 

Gemalto welcomes the new tachograph regulation (EU) n° 165/2014, coming into force in March 2016, which mandates enhanced features for digital tachograph systems. 

The new generation of smart tachographs is mandatory as of 15 June 2019.

The new regulation on recording equipment in road transport supports satellite-linked technology (connection to Global Navigation Satellite System (​GNSS), remote roadside checks via wireless Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) and enhanced security with cryptology in particular.​


Where does Gemalto fit in?

We contribute to road safety

Gemalto is proud to contribute to 34 successful tachograph implementations​.

We believe one of our mission is to collaborate with our clients to report and share best practices from around the world.

We've also been contributing to the eCall, the EU emergency-call system. We are one of the leading providers of M2M modules fitted in all new types of vehicles sold in the EU as of April 2018.

Tachograph and you

Now it's your turn.

If you've something to say on digital tachograph, or road safety, a question to ask, or have simply found this article useful, please leave a comment in the box below. We'd also welcome any suggestions on how it could be improved or proposals for future articles.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More on Gemalto tachograph solutions​