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Driving Through the EU and AETR Territories.

In order to drive through the European Union and non-EU countries that are signatories of the AETR (Accord Européen sur les Transports Routiers) the driver must be in possession of a valid digital tachograph card (Driver Card). The adopted driving time limits, breaks and rest periods rules have to be adhered to and recorded. Let’s take a brief look at the Driver Card.

Since the 1st of May 2006, all new vehicles that come under the EU or AETR rules on driver’s hours must be fitted with a digital tachograph called the Vehicle Unit (VU). This is a recording device that stores driver and vehicle data relating to driving activities and vehicle data including speeds and distance travelled. The tachometer will record the driving activities onto the Driver Card, storing up to 28 days of data.

When a vehicle is fitted with a digital tachograph, it is a legal requirement for the driver of the vehicle to have and use their own personal Driver Card. The card, once acquired from the DVLA will expire after 5 years. 15 working days prior to the expiry date a renewal application has to be made.

The Driver Card – The Driver’s Responsibilities

It is common sense for the vocational driver to remain legal at all times when driving for work. The following points are for the Driver Card holder and must:

  • Ensure that the card is kept as safe as a credit card. It holds identification data.
  • Keep the card in as good a condition as possible. If damaged or unusable driving cannot be continued.
  • Report to the DVLA and Police if lost or stolen, as soon as possible. It could be used for further criminal activity. A replacement must be applied for within 7 days
  • Not loan the card to any other person. It is illegal to do so.
  • Be aware of the expiry date. An application for a renewal has to be done 15 working days before expiry. Driving without a valid card is not allowed.
  • Keep the expired card for 28 days after the expiry date. It should not be returned to the DVLA.
  • Download the data from the expired card before disposal. Only the card has expired, not the data.
The Driver Card – Data Recorded

The details recorded on the Driver Card reinforces the need for security awareness. The data stored includes:

  • Holder Identification; Card holder name, date of birth, preferred language.
  • Holder’s Driving Licence Details; Driving Licence Number, Issuing Authority.
  • Card Identification; Card Number, Date of Issue, Date of Expiry, Issuing Authority.
  • Driving Event Activity; Vehicles driven, Odometer Readings, driving times, non-driving work times, rest and break periods.
  • Location and Tachograph Events; Start and end work locations, Tachograph details of interrupts, errors and events, identification of control official and last check details, VU insertion and withdrawal of the card into the tachograph dates and times.

In combination with the Driving Licence and the Driver Qualification Card (CPC), the existence of a valid Driver Card is in every way as important for the vocational driver where the Working Time Directive is concerned. It is most important that the driver and the HR or Fleet Manager to be cognisant of the requirement to ensure valid cards are in possession for work related driving duties where it is a legal requirement in the EU and AETR regions.

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