New provisions of law regarding tachographs

On 13th February, the Ministry of Transport issued a circular to provide clarification on the application of law regarding training, information and checks. The emphasis was on training courses in relation to tachographs. European Community Regulations No. 561 of 2006 and No. 165 of 2014 have been transposed with the obligation for transport companies to carry out checks, provide information and train staff in the use of tachographs. At the same time, the legislation now limits the company’s liability in relation to violations by vehicle drivers, with tampering and failure to respect driving times falling under the responsibility of drivers. The circular provides a number of indications relating to Decree 215 of 12th December 2016 from the Ministry of Transport concerning duties and responsibilities.

The first aspect treated is the confirmation of liability relating to hours spent at the wheel and to the required rest of drivers. Specifically, transport companies are not to be held liable if they can prove to have met the legal obligations in terms of training and informing drivers on the use of tachographs and risk factors. Consequently, failure to comply with the regulatory requirements falls under the responsibility of drivers. Sanctions are not imposed for a mere lack of the necessary training. However, if a driver violates legal provisions and has not been adequately trained or informed, the liability for the violation then passes to the employer.

Companies that do not comply with the training obligation may indirectly be responsible for the unlawful conduct, and are therefore considered objectively liable. The training on regulations and proper tachograph use is not only targeted at employed drivers, but at all those who drive vehicles in which the instrument must to present by law, whether digital or analogue. This means that it also applies to those who work for themselves and for third parties.

Training on tachographs and the law

The law regulates the carrying out of the training and dictates that courses must last at least 8 hours. To be held over one or more days, they may be subdivided into modules, but each must not have a duration of less than 2 hours. At the end of the training on tachograph use and on the rules regarding driving times, a certificate is issued for each participant with a validity of five years, after which the participant must re-take the training. The certificate is personal, so if the driver changes company or job or starts his or her own business, the certificate retains its validity, with its expiry relating only to time. No absenteeism is permitted, neither that of employees or contract drivers, and it is obligatory to inform all those concerned of the regulations regarding conduct via an information sheet containing the rules that drivers must follow, such as the correct use of the tachograph and the hours of driving and rest, as per every provision of law. There are no specified modules and the document can be prepared in any way as long as it reflects the contents of the European Community Regulations and the of the Highway Code.

This document is valid for one year and must be countersigned by the driver to demonstrate that the company has performed its duties and certify that the driver has received the relevant information. Consequently, any violation falls entirely under the liability of the driver. Competent authorities may carry out checks at any time.

Required checks on tachographs by employers

Transport companies have a responsibility to carry out checks on drivers. The ministerial circular explains that every 90 days the data of each tachograph installed on vehicles must be downloaded in order to verify the conduct of drivers. The instrument memory contains information on the use of the vehicle, its movements and any excesses. Once the data has been retrieved, the company must prepare a report to be countersigned by the driver. There is no specific formula to be followed apart from the obligation to include relevant information on proper conduct and any deviations from regulations. If there is any violation, the measures taken with regards to the driver must be included. The Ministry advises all companies to keep the documents listed in the regulations on board the vehicles in order to facilitate roadside checks. The decree requires drivers to always have with them the certificate of course attendance and the information sheet received from the company. This makes it easier for police to carry out the necessary checks, and saves time for the driver. It is also recommended for drivers to have with them copies of the periodic tachograph data reports. Finally, the ministerial decree stipulates that training courses conducted before the regulations were introduced have no validity, subject to further and precise provisions of the competent authorities regarding checks and judgments.

The running of training courses on tachographs

Annexes to the ministerial decree contain precise instructions on training delivery, facilities, instructors and sessions. Tachographs are important instruments as observance of the respective legislation safeguards the lives of both drivers and other road users. Courses may be held in an environment specified by the employer, such as a training institution or the company headquarters, provided that the premises comply with requirements of law on health, safety and urban planning. Using the form annexed to the decree, communication to management of the start of the course and hours attended must be submitted by mail within the indicated deadlines, otherwise the certificate will not be issued. Instructors must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Driving school instructors;
  • Instructors qualified in specific matters relating to driving ;
  • Officials of the Ministry of Transport;
  • Individuals who have previously given at least six training courses on tachograph use

Circular 2720 R.U. of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport
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Participation in courses held by the Forces of Order or by Central State Administrations is positively encouraged.