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Professional drivers

Driver tachograph

About tachograph driver cards and how to apply for one.

Tachograph driver cards are required by law for all commercial bus and truck drivers. A personal tachograph driver card is a credit card-sized plastic card that contains a microchip. The card can store all relevant driver data required for EU drivers’ hours regulations, including break and rest times.

Each tachograph driver card:

  • Is unique to the individual driver and valid for five years
  • can store information for 28 days
  • can only be used by its owner, i.e. the driver authorised to use it
  • may be suspended or withdrawn by an enforcement officer if the card has been falsified, if the person using the card is not the legal holder of the card, or if the card has been obtained by false declaration or forged documents
  • must be made available to enforcement officers on request.

Useful information

Before a journey begins, e.g. when loading/unloading or driving, you must insert your driver card into the appropriate slot in the digital tachograph unit.

Where a vehicle is double-manned, both driver and co-driver slots are used.

A tachograph will record your activities such as driving, other work, breaks and rest.

When you are doing manual entry of data into the tachograph you will be asked (via the units menu) if you have driven any other vehicle that day and must select whether it was by digital or analogue-recorded method.

If you are driving a vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph you should have a chart to record your activities.

If you're a self-employed driver you must download the data from your tachograph card every 28 days.

If you’re a transport operator, you must ensure that the data from your drivers’ tachograph card is downloaded every 28 days.

If you're an agency driver and work for more than one company, you need to download data every 28 days from the driver card and retain it for inspection.

The data must be retained for inspection by enforcement officers for a period of at least 12 months.

Driver fatigue is a known risk factor in road collisions. Fatigue can cause loss of concentration or, worse, lead to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Fatigue is a significant factor in heavy commercial vehicle crashes.

EU law regulates the driving time of professional drivers using goods vehicles over 3.5t (including trailers) and passenger vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats.

The key requirements are that you must not drive:

  • Without a break for more than 4.5 hours. After driving for 4.5 hours, a break of at least 45 minutes is mandatory. You can distribute that break over the 4.5 hours by taking a 15 minute break followed by a 30 minute break.
  • For more than nine hours per day or 56 hours per week. This may be extended to 10 hours no more than twice during a week.
  • For more than 90 hours in two consecutive weeks

There are also strict regulations regarding the average working time and the amount of rest that must be taken daily and weekly.

For more information about driver hours/working time, see the RSA booklets EU Rules on Drivers’ Hours and Guide to the Road Transport Working Time Directive or contact the Road Safety Authority on (091) 872 600.

Since 4th June 2010,  coach drivers on an international coach tour trip can take advantage of driving time regulations known as the “12 Day Rule”.

What is the “12 Day Rule”?

Coach drivers on a single international coach tour can work for up to 12 consecutive days, provided that:

  • the journey is a single trip
  • the driver takes a regular rest period of at least 45 hours immediately before the journey
  • the driver takes longer rest periods after the 12 day trip
  • the driver continues to take daily rest  and breaks  in line with existing requirements

How the rest rules work

Professional drivers can only work for 12 consecutive days if they follow the rules before during and after their international coach tour trip.

Before your 12 day trip:
You must have a regular weekly rest period at least 45 hours long.

During your 12 day trip:
You must be working on a single occasional service (like a coach tour).

For 24 hours of those 12 days, you and the coach tour passengers must be in a different country (includes Northern Ireland) than where you started the trip.

After your trip:
You must take two regular weekly rest periods. You have two options:

  1. Both can be 45 hours, or
  2. One can be 45 hours + a reduced period, which can't be less than 24 hours.

If you take the second option, you have to compensate for your reduced rest period. This means the rest owed to you can be taken with a daily rest period of at least 9 hours or another weekly rest period and must be taken before the end of the third week following return from the trip.

Be sure you have a tour itinerary and a passenger waybill before you start your 12 day trip.

Requirements since 1st Jan 2014

Since 1st January, 2014, there are 2 additional requirements for coach drivers taking 12 day trips:

  1. You must have a digital tachograph fitted to your vehicle
  2. If your driving time is between 22:00 and 06:00, you must have more than one driver, or you can't drive more than 3 hours without a break.

Further Information

Operators or drivers requiring further information concerning the 12 day rule should contact:

Road Haulage Enforcement
Clonfert House
Bride Street
Loughrea
Co. Galway

091 872600

[email protected]

 

When driving a vehicle with a tachograph, you should:

  • use the driver card every day you drive, starting from the moment you take over the vehicle
  • set the mode switch to the correct activity and make sure to use it
    throughout your working period to record other work, periods of availability, rests and breaks
  • remove your driving card when the vehicle is taken over by another driver, or when the vehicle is not under your custody or if another driver could drive it
  • protect your card, keep it clean and do not bend it
  • record the country in which you begin and end your daily work period
    (always doing this at the start and end of the period)
  • manually enter your activities of any – other work, breaks, rest and periods of availability – since you last removed your driver card from a tachograph.

From 1 January 2008, you must be able to produce, whenever an enforcement officers requests them:

  • your driver card
  • any manual record and printout made during the current day and the
    previous 28 days and
  • analogue charts for any vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph driven by the driver in the current day and the previous 28 days

If you are driving a vehicle which does not have a digital tachograph fitted but comes under the driver hours rules then you should record your hours using an analogue chart.

In particular you should make sure that the centre field of all analogue charts is completed correctly and in full.

Analogue record sheets

Analogue record sheets must contain the following:

  1. surname and first name of driver
  2. date and place where the use of the sheet begins and the date and
    place where the sheet ends
  3. registration number of each vehicle to which the driver is assigned at
    the start of the first journey that is recorded on the sheet and then, if
    there is a change of vehicle, during the use of the sheet
  4. odometer reading:
    • at the start of the first journey,
    • at the end of the last journey, and
    • if there is a change of vehicle during a working day, on the vehicle to which the driver was assigned and on the vehicle to which the driver is changing; and
    • time of any change of vehicle.

 

The vehicle operator has two key responsibilities in relation to both kinds of tachograph:

  • To download the data from the driver’s cards (at least every 28 days) and vehicle units (at least every 90 days) and save this information as well as any analogue charts or printouts made for one year. This information must be made available in its “raw” format to an enforcement officer on request.
  • To monitor drivers’ records and print-outs. If there are breaches of drivers’ rules, the operator must address them and take steps to ensure they do not happen again


Apply for a tachograph driver card

 

Who should apply for a first time tachograph driver card?

First time applications are only for drivers who have never had an Irish or EU tachograph driver card before.

If you have ever had an Irish tachograph driver card, you'll need to either  renew your card or  replace it if it was lost or stolen. If you have an EU driver card, you'll need to  exchange your driver card for an Irish one.

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have a valid Irish or EU driving licence with a bus or truck category
  • Have not had a tachograph driver card before in any other country
  • Be a resident of Ireland with a PPS number

Fee

A tachograph card for a driver costs:

  • €45 if you apply online, or
  • €60 if you apply by post - credit or debit card details only. Cash, postal orders, cheques or bank drafts are not accepted methods of payment.

Option 1: Apply Online

  • Fill out the online application form and pay online.
  • Take a printout of your application form to a Garda station to have your signature and photo witnessed.
  • Finally, send your application form, supporting documents (listed on the printout) and photo to the RSA.

Apply Online

Benefits of applying online:

  • It's cheaper
  • Online applications get processing priority
  • Quick and easy online payment facility
  • Ability to track your application online

Option 2: Apply by post

  • First, download and print an application form and fill out by hand.
  • Take your completed application form to a Garda station to have your signature and photo witnessed.
  • Finally, send your application form, supporting documents, photo and payment to the RSA. Credit/Debit card details are the only accepted methods of payment.

Digital Tachograph Driver Card Application form

Cárta Tiománaí Tacagraif Dhigitigh

When do I need to get my tachograph driver card renewed?

Tachograph driver cards expire every 5 years. You can apply to renew your card at any time but please note that your card will not be issued until 28 days prior to your card expiry date. We recommend that you apply at least 3 – 4 weeks before your current card is due to expire

To be eligible for a renewal, you must:

  • Have been previously issued with an Irish tachograph card
  • Have a valid Irish or EU driving licence with a bus or truck category
  • Be a resident of Ireland with a PPS number

Please note:

  • If your driving licence number has changed since you obtained your last Irish tachograph driver card, but the country of issue of driving licence is the same, please contact us by email at [email protected] , attaching a copy of your new licence  so that we can amend your details, to allow you to apply for a renewal.
  • If the country of issue of your licence has changed since obtaining your last Irish tachograph driver card, please apply for a First Time Application

Fee

A tachograph card for a driver costs:

  • €45 if you apply online, or
  • €60 if you apply by post - credit or debit card details only. Cash, postal orders, cheques or bank drafts are not accepted methods of payment.

Option 1: Apply online

Fill out the online application form and pay online.

  • Update your photo (optional): A new photo is required every 10 years. If you are updating your photo then you must take your new photo to any Garda station to be witnessed, and then send it with a printout of your application form to the RSA.
  • Non Irish EU driving licence only: Send a printout of your application form, a copy of your valid drivers licence and proof of residence documents to the RSA.

Apply Online

Benefits of applying online:

  • It's cheaper
  • Online applications get processing priority
  • Quick and easy online payment facility
  • Ability to track your application online

Option 2: Apply by post

  • First, download and print an application form and fill out by hand.
  • Send your completed form and payment to the RSA. Credit/debit card details are the only accepted methods of payment.
  • Update your photo (optional): Take your new photo to any Garda station to be witnessed, and then send it with a printout of your application form to the RSA.
  • Non Irish EU driving licence only: Send a printout of your application form, a copy of your valid drivers licence and proof of residence documents to the RSA.

Digital Tachograph Driver Card Application form

Cárta Tiománaí Tacagraif Dhigitigh

Replacement of lost, stolen, damaged or faulty tachograph cards

If your tachograph card is lost, stolen, damaged, or malfunctioning, you should apply to have it replaced as soon as possible. If your tachograph card is damaged or malfunctioning, it must be returned to the Road Safety Authority with your application for a replacement.

Before you make your application for a replacement malfunctioning card, please wipe the chip of the card with a damp cloth using surgical spirits and insert into unit afterwards to see if it works.

Driving without your card

  • Any loss of the driver card shall be reported in a formal declaration to the competent authorities of the issuing Member State and to the competent authorities of the Member State of the driver’s normal residence if this is different.
    If the driver card is damaged, malfunctions or is lost or stolen, the driver shall, within seven calendar days, apply for its replacement to the competent authorities of the Member State of his normal residence.
  • When the replacement is applied for, the driver may continue to drive without a driver card for a maximum period of 15 calendar days or for a longer period if this is necessary for the vehicle to return to the premises where it is based, provided that the driver can prove the impossibility of producing or using the card during that period.
  • If driving without a card, you must keep a record of your work and driving hours and can do this by taking a printout from your Vehicle Unit before and after your working day. These printouts must be signed on the back by you and include your driver number. Replacement cards are given priority.

Fee

A tachograph card for a driver costs:

  • €45 if you apply online, or
  • €60 if you apply by post - credit or debit card details only. Cash, postal orders, cheques or bank drafts are not accepted methods of payment.

If you send us a card that has stopped working and, upon examination, it is found that the card has a manufacturing fault, the fee will be refunded. However, if the card has been physically damaged, the standard replacement fee will stand.

Option 1: Apply online

  • Fill out the online application form and pay online.
  • For lost/stolen cards only: bring your application to a Garda station. The Garda must complete, sign and stamp the Garda Report on Section 1.
  • For damaged cards only: send your card to the RSA (with your application).
  • Non Irish EU driving licence only: send a printout of your application form and a copy of your valid drivers licence to the RSA.

Apply Online

Benefits of applying online:

  • It's cheaper
  • Online applications get processing priority
  • Quick and easy online payment facility
  • Ability to track your application online

Option 2: Apply by post

  • First, download and print an application form and fill out by hand.
  • For lost/stolen cards only: bring your application to a Garda station. The Garda must complete, sign and stamp the Garda Report on Section 1.
  • For damaged cards only: send your card to the RSA (with your application).
  • Send your application form and payment to the RSA. Credit/debit card details are the only accepted methods of payment.

Digital Tachograph Driver Card Application form

Cárta Tiománaí Tacagraif Dhigitigh

 

Exchange of non Irish EU driver cards

Tachograph cards issued in other EU member states are still valid in Ireland, but you may replace yours with an Irish tachograph card if desired.

Please Note! Only valid driver cards issued by other EU member states can be exchanged online.

To be eligible to apply, you must

  • Have a valid EU issued driver tachograph card
  • Have a valid driving licence

Fee

A tachograph card for an exchange costs

  • €45 if you apply online; or
  • €60 if you apply by post - credit or debit card details only. Cash, postal orders, cheques or bank drafts are not accepted methods of payment.

Option 1: Apply online

  • Fill out the online application form and pay online.
  • Take a printout of your application form to a Garda station to have your signature and photo witnessed.
  • Finally, send your application form, supporting documents (listed on the printout) and photo to the RSA.
  • The RSA will notify you when your new card is ready.

Apply Online

Benefits of applying online:

  • It's cheaper
  • Online applications get processing priority
  • Quick and easy online payment facility
  • Ability to track your application online

Option 2: Apply by post

  • First, download and print an application form and fill out by hand. You can pay by cheque or postal order.
  • Take your completed application form to a Garda station to have your signature and photo witnessed.
  • Finally, send your application form, supporting documents, photo and payment to the RSA. Credit/debit card details are the only accepted methods of payment.
  • The RSA will notify you by letter when your new card is ready. You should follow the instructions contained in this letter in order to obtain your new card.

Digital Tachograph Driver Card Application form

Cárta Tiománaí Tacagraif Dhigitigh

Sign in to our tachograph application system to view and track an existing application

Digital Tachograph Driver Card Application form pdf | 189 KB Cárta Tiománaí Tacagraif Dhigitigh pdf | 84 KB

Prosecutions

We prosecute drivers and operators who breach national and EU transport legislation on tachographs, drivers’ hours, road transport working time directives, and the licensing of road haulage and passenger operators.

Learn more