This is a very important piece of equipment. We say equipment because you should treat this card with care. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will keep your card safe and secure and keep you from falling foul of the law and or getting unwanted infringements.
The card is yours and yours only. You cannot under any circumstances lend your card to anyone else. You cannot use someone else’s card…. ever, ever, never. Your card can be confiscated and you could be liable to pay a fine of up to € 5,000, not to mention the cost associated with making a court appearance. Everything is OK until there is an accident…. then everything changes. If you are driving a vehicle with someone else’s card in the head and you are involved in a fatal accident, expect to be taken into the care of the state for a considerable amount of time.
The digital card will expire five years after you receive it. You should apply for your new card at least a month before your current one expires. When you receive your new card it will not work until the current one expires.
If you take over a vehicle and you find that the last driver left their card in the tachograph head or in the vehicle, the best advice here is to leave the card at the location where you picked the vehicle up from, maybe in the transport office or with security. Do not take the card with you in the vehicle as it may cause you problems explaining why you have it if you are stopped at a control check. It may also be problematic for the owner of the card as he will have no card until they meet up with you or the vehicle.
Look after your card. get a leather wallet to keep it in. The chip on the card is easily damaged, simply because the location of some card trays in certain vehicles require you to insert the card at an acute angle, thus causing the chip to come into contact with the body of the tacho head. Don’t keep it in a back trouser pocket or loose in a pocket. It should only be kept in one of two places…in the tachograph or in your wallet.
If I lose my Card?
You will have to apply for a replacement, however before doing that make sure that the card isn’t stuck down the side of a chair or in another jacket or trouser pocket or gone for a spin in the dryer or simply mislaid. Do give it a day or two and make sure that you have searched everywhere. It may have been dropped on the ground getting out of your vehicle and someone left it in the transport office or with security. Why is this important? well for two reasons. Firstly, once you apply for a replacement card, the application cannot be stopped once processed, even if your card turned up a week later. Secondly the sixteen-digit number on your card will show on the replacement card that you have had a replacement card issued, if stopped by the Authorities a busy inspector will see this on your card and may think, “what if this driver has two cards?”. Remember it’s their job to ensure that we are all compliant with the rules and that road users are kept safe from law breakers. They are doing their job in your best interest and in for the safety of all road users.
What if the Card Malfunctions?
If your card malfunctions, get an alcohol wipe from a First Aid kit and gently clean the chip. It may also be that the tacho head is the problem so try the card in the second driver slot before you apply for a replacement.
Driving Without a Card?
You may drive without a card for a maximum of 15 days, provided you can prove your card was unusable during that time. However, you will have to have made an application for a replacement card in the first seven days.
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.
What should I do If I am stopped at a roadside check while driving without a card?
The first thing to do is to treat the Authorities with respect…that will help you a great deal. The second thing to do is to have all of your activities recorded. You can use the mode switches as if you had your card in and all of your activities for the day will be shown on the printout. Now this is not a time to be sloppy and not have printer paper in the head or at the least a spare roll in your bag.
Always keep in mind, the Authorities are only doing their job…so be helpful towards them and respectful with them. Demonstrate to them that you are a compliant driver and there will be absolutely no problem. Anyone can misplace a card and you have broken no laws, or put anyone’s life in danger including your own, you are a professional driver, doing society a great service. Anyone would admire you.
If on the other hand you have forgotten more about the law than that cabbage who stops you will ever know……well please don’t say that you are a member of the EPDA.
To apply for a card, you must:
Have a valid Irish or EU driving licence with a bus or truck category
Have not had a digital tachograph driver card before in any other country
Be a resident of Ireland with a PPS number
A digital 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.