What should you do if your tachograph malfunctions or your driver card is damaged during a transport job?


Emergency procedures


It seems obvious to many people that if the tachograph stops working it should be repaired immediately, and if the driver card cannot be logged in, then standard printouts should be made. Nonetheless, traffic controls and inspections at logistics companies clearly show that neither drivers nor entrepreneurs know how to properly document tachograph failures, damaged/stolen/lost driver cards and damaged record sheets. If the data which is missing from the tachograph, driver card or record sheet is recorded incorrectly by the driver, both him and the company may be fined.

Examples from the penalty table:


Performing road transport services using a vehicle with a faulty tachograph, except for the cases in points 3.1.1-3.1.4 – PLN 1,000


Failure by the driver to mark on the record sheet or record sheet attached to the driver card all required information regarding any working periods not recorded due to the tachograph not working or working incorrectly – PLN 100 for each day, up to a maximum of PLN 2,000


Failure by the company to retain record sheets, printouts, downloaded data or documents confirming that the vehicle was not being driven on a given day – PLN 500 for each day, for each driver


Performing road transport services by a driver without the required handwritten entries and printouts from the tachograph in cases where the driver card is malfunctioning or has suffered damage, or if the driver does not own one – PLN 200 for each missing printout.



How to protect yourself from the fines mentioned above? All it takes is to follow the procedures described in the REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL (EU) No 165/2014 of 4 February 2014, which I quote below.


Procedures in the event of equipment failure

  1. In the event of the breakdown or faulty operation of a tachograph, the transport undertaking shall have it repaired by an approved fitter or workshop, as soon as circumstances permit.


If the vehicle is unable to return to the transport undertaking’s premises within a period of one week calculated from the day of the breakdown or of the discovery of defective operation, the repair shall be carried out en route.

Measures taken by Member States pursuant to Article 41 shall give the competent authorities power to prohibit the use of the vehicle in cases where the breakdown or faulty operation has not been remedied as provided in the first and the second subparagraphs of this paragraph in so far as this is in accordance with the national legislation in the Member State concerned.
2. While the tachograph is unserviceable or malfunctioning, the driver shall mark data enabling him to be identified (name, driver card or driving licence number), including a signature, as well as the information for the various periods of time which are no longer recorded or printed out correctly by the tachograph:

(a) on the record sheet or sheets, or

(b) on a temporary sheet to be attached to the record sheet or to be kept together with the driver card.


Damaged driver cards and record sheets

  1. In the event of damage to a record sheet bearing recordings or to a driver card, drivers shall keep the damaged record sheet or driver card together with any spare record sheet used to replace it.
  2. Where a driver card is damaged, malfunctions, or is lost or stolen, the driver shall:
  3. a) at the start of his journey, print out the details of the vehicle he is driving, and enter on that printout:

(i) details that enable the driver to be identified (name, driver card or driving licence number), including his signature;

(ii) periods (…): under the sign: ‘other work’, which means any activity other than driving, as defined in
point (a) of Article 3 of Directive 2002/15/EC, and also any work for the same or another employer within or outside of the transport sector;

(iii) under the sign: ‘availability’, as defined in point (b) of Article 3 of Directive 2002/15/EC;

(iv) under the sign: ‘breaks or rest’ (…)

  1. b) at the end of the journey, print out the information relating to periods of time recorded by the tachograph, record any periods of other work, availability and rest taken since the printout made at the start of the journey, where not recorded by the tachograph, and mark on that document details enabling the driver to be identified (name, driver card or driving licence number), including the driver’s signature.



Stolen, lost or defective driver cards

  1. Issuing authorities shall keep records of issued, stolen, lost or defective driver cards for a period at least equivalent to their period of validity.
  2. If a driver card is damaged or if it malfunctions, the driver shall return it to the competent authority of the Member State of his normal residence. Theft of the driver card shall be formally declared to the competent authorities of the State where the theft occurred.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. Those authorities shall supply a replacement card within eight working days after their receipt of a detailed request to that effect.
  5. In the circumstances set out in paragraph 4, 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.



Responsibility of transport undertakings

Transport undertakings shall be responsible for ensuring that their drivers are properly trained and instructed as regards the correct functioning of tachographs, whether digital or analogue, shall make regular checks to ensure that their drivers make correct use thereof, and shall not give to their drivers any direct or indirect incentives that could encourage the misuse of tachographs.



To recapitulate:


Tachograph malfunction – must be repaired immediately, and if the vehicle is en route and will not return to the base within a week, it must be repaired en route.


Lost, damaged or stolen driver cards – this fact must be reported to the relevant authorities and an application for a new card must be submitted within 7 days. During a period of maximum 15 calendar days, or longer if the vehicle must return to the base and if the driver can prove his inability to use or present the card, the driver must prepare two printouts per day:

1- at the start of the workday,

2- at the end of the workday,

which he must use to record all periods not been registered by the tachograph and mark all identification data required (name, driver card number or driving license), along with his signature.

The driver must retain the printouts prepared during this period and presents them for inspection if necessary. Afterwards, he must pass them to a designated person at the company so that they may be retained in case of an inspection. Both requirements must be fulfilled cumulatively.


Damaged record sheet – in case the record sheet containing the working time records is damaged, the driver must store the damaged record sheet along with a replacement record (with handwritten notes on any activities performed on the back) for inspection purposes. After that period, he must pass both record sheets to an authorised person at the company so that it may be retained in case of an inspection.




1) REGULATION (EU) No 165/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 4 February 2014 on tachographs in road transport, repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 on recording equipment in road transport and amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport

2) Annexes No 1 and 3 of the Road Transport Act of 6 September 2001, Dz. U. of 2019, item 2140.

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