The digital tachograph is an instrument that records the speed, working time and routes taken by truck drivers who are required to use it as per Article 179 of the Highway Code.
In addition, the legislation stipulates that the installation and repair of digital tachographs should take place only in authorized technical centers and recognized by the Ministry of Economic Development Production Activities .
This instrument has a digital memory is a tachograph card, i.e., a digital tachograph card that stores all driver and vehicle data, which are retained for one year. Instead, with a special truck driver‘s badge, activities for the past 28 days are recorded.
How the digital tachograph works
The digital tachograph consists of an electronic unit, the motion sensor and tachograph cards .
The on-board electronic unit is the heart of the tachograph; inside it is a processor, a clock two slots for driver cards/cards, a small display, a printer, a controller for manual operation, and a connector to download data. The unit is located in the cabin, the motion sensor on the gearbox.
Types of tachograph cards
Tachograph cards for recording, reading and checking the data found in the tachograph are issued by the Chamber of Commerce and are also used to maintain the device.
The driver card is white in color and records the driver’s activities during the 28-day period, but there are also other types of tachograph cards.
- Transport company card: is yellow in color and allows reading of data in tachograph memory (maximum 62 that can be requested).
- Control authority card: is blue in color, useful for checking the data recorded in the tachograph.
- Workshop card: this is red in color and is used for checking and maintaining the device.
How to download digital tachograph data
Downloading vdo digital tachograph data is done in .DDD format files that are then read by special software. It can be done manually through a tachograph data download key also called a downloadkey.
In this case, the driver or fleet manager can go directly to the truck and download all the tachograph data. Manual mode takes more time than automatic downloading via black box, which is connected directly to the digital tachograph to automatically download data and save it to cloud systems.
After unloading, the company must proceed with the storage and archiving of all tachograph data, the easiest and safest method is to use digital tachograph data download software.
The software allows the data to be viewed and controlled, but also stored as required by law, chronologically for at least one year.
Which vehicles are required to install the digital tachograph
Relevant regulations require that all vehicles used for freight transport with a mass exceeding 3.5 tons including trailers or semi-trailers be equipped with an approved and fully functional digital tachograph. For vehicles outfitted for passenger transport carrying more than 9 nine people including the driver.
In addition, the digital tachograph must be installed to replace the analog recording equipment on vehicles registered after the January 1, 1996 used for road transport of goods (capacity exceeding 12 tons); of passengers (number of seats exceeding 9 including the driver with capacity exceeding 10 tons).
In addition, the obligation also affects all those who:
- They operate in the territory of an EU member state.
- They carry out domestic and international transportation
- Are they Italian or foreign
- They are employed or self-employed
- They carry out transportation for their own account or for third parties.
How to apply for tachograph cards
It is possible to apply for tachograph cards by filling out special applications, with the necessary documentation and payment of the secretarial fee attached. It is also possible to have the documentation forwarded by another person by proxy on plain paper. The request can be sent by mail to the Chamber of Commerce or by PEC.
As an alternative, several portals of the Chambers of Commerce have made available a telematic service for sending Tachograph Cards, which allows all authorized parties, to follow the progress of their file directly online.