About Tachographs & Exemptions

Digital tachographs are devices fitted to buses and trucks. They record the amount of time drivers spend driving and resting, as well as capturing data about the vehicle. Digital tachographs are now mandatory in the EU
Under EU and national law, the cab of trucks and buses must be fitted with recording devices known as tachographs. Their function is to record the driving times, breaks and rest periods of individual drivers. Vehicle speed, distance travelled and other related metrics are also logged.

Data is stored in mass memory inside the unit and on driver-specific smart cards. In Ireland, the Road Safety Authority is the legal body responsible for issuing these cards.

The records must be available for inspection by enforcement officers to ensure that the laws governing driver hours and rest times are fully complied with.

Failure to comply with these requirements could result in prosecution by the RSA. Although most commercial vehicles must carry a tachograph, there are some classes of vehicle that are exempt.

Switch from analogue to digital tachographs

Digital tachographs became mandatory within the EU in May 2006. They replace the old analogue recording devices in all new commercial trucks and buses.

Tachograph cards

Central to the introduction of digital tachograph technology is the provision of smart cards for use by drivers, companies, calibration workshops and enforcement officers.

There are four types of Tacograph cards. 

Driver cards

The personal digital 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.

Apply Online for a Tachograph Driver Card ​

Company cards

 A company card allows you to access the data stored in the digital tachograph. You will also need it to protect your data in the vehicle unit (VU) if you hire in or sell a vehicle.
Apply Online for a Tachograph Company Card ​​

Workshop cards

Workshop tachograph cards are issued to authorised workshops only. The card allows calibration of the digital tachograph itself.
Apply for a Tachograph Workshop Card ​ ​

Control card

Control tachograph cards are available only to enforcement officers (RSA Transport Officers and the Garda Síochána). They are used to enforce digital tachograph legislation.

Digital tachograph training

For information on digital-tachograph training please contact:

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport of Ireland 
Tel: 01 676-3188
www.cilt.ie ​

Digital Tachograph Exemptions 

The main exempted cases are:

  • passenger vehicle constructed and equipped to carry not more than nine people, including the driver
  • A vehicle whose gross vehicle weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes
  • A vehicle with between 10 and 17 seats (including driver’s seat) used exclusively for the non-commercial carriage of passengers
  • A vehicle with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 40kph


​​Download our guide to Exemptions and Derogations from the Tachograph and Drivers Hours rules (PDF)​ document for further information.
Drivers, operators and bus and truck owners claiming an exemption they are not entitled to will be prosecuted by the Courts.
If your vehicle is exempt based on any one of the reasons detailed in this form you may:

  • Download and complete the Tachograph Declaration Form​ (PDF)
  • Bring the signed form to your relevant commercial vehicle test (CVRT) test centre when the vehicle is being tested
  • ​​​​​​​Ask the CVT centre to stamp the form in the box at the bottom of page two: ‘Stamp of Authorised Tester’ and then ask that they upload it to the test record on their computer system.

Alternatively, you can ask your vehicle (CVR) test centre to print off a copy of the Tachograph Declaration Form which will be pre-populated with details of your vehicle. You can then complete the form and following the remaining steps as above 

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