Do I need a Tachograph fitted

Rules on Driver’s Hours and Tachographs

“Vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and with a maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) of over 3.5 tonnes are in scope of the EU rules. ‘Carriage by road’ is defined as any journey entirely or in part made on roads open to the public of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods.”

That means ANY vehicle or vehicle and trailer combination, including 4X4 ‘cars’ towing trailers, are subject to EU drivers’ hours rules if they are used for the carriage of goods for commercial purposes and have a total permissable weight of over 3.5 tonnes.

Any vehicle subject to EU drivers’ hours must have a tachograph fitted.

Any employed driver who regularly drives a vehicle which is covered by the EU driver’s hours rules is also likely to be subject to the compulsory working hours limits and record-keeping requirements of the Road Transport Directive, even when not driving vehicles under EU rules.


  • if you are a small busines, do you also need an o- licence as well as a tacograph if you run a van between 3.5 and 7.5 tons

  • Do I need a Tacograph for towing my trailer which is 3.5 tonnes gross towing weight for social domestic and pleasure

  • No, it’s only needed for the commercial carriage of goods or for hire & reward.

  • doi need a tacograph in my mini bus which is under 3.5 tonnes and is only used for school runs, taking children to and from school.
    thank you

  • I know nothing about tacho rules for passenger vehicles. I know it depends on the number of seats and what the vehicle is used for – whether it’s used on a voluntary basis or for paying passengers.

    The information you need will be in this document.

  • For “Harry”, only vehicles over 8 passenger seats require a tachograph, 8-16 seats will require one AND a D101 (full) licence and a COIF, if you are a taxi operator you can run 2 “minibuses” (9-16 seats) without a CPC/full O-licence)

  • Do i need a Tacho fitted for this combination.To be used for our own business use non payment or rental.
    Trailer Gross Capacity 3500Kg
    Load Capacity 2480Kg
    Vehicle to go in trailer
    SLS Kerb weight 1620Kg GVW 1935kg
    Towing vehicle
    Mercedes-Benz GL
    Towing capacity 3500kg

  • I believe you would. The requirement for a tacho is triggered by the combination being used for the commercial carriage of goods. This includes anything carried for use by your own business, whether or not payment is received for the carriage. The only possible exemption I can think of which might apply depending on your circumstances is for equipment carried for the driver’s use within 50km of his base.

  • i am a self employed landscaper. i own an l200 pick up, which i regularly tow a 1.5t mini digger. how do i stand on this regulation? is it just a digi tacho required. tanks

  • We have a scaffold trailer, operating on a refinery. When it goes off the refinery does it need to have a taco in, it is 7.5 ton GVW. I was told that we dont need to put a tacho in within 50 miles of the operating depot.

  • hi, I work for a car main dealer, we are looking at running our own delivery service for new and used cars using one of our vehicles and trailer. Please can anyone advise on the best way to go about finding information regarding the supply-fitment of tacho’s?

  • Hi,do i need an o licence if i occasionally tow a trailer with an 3.5t van,i no i need a tachograph fitting,and my gross weight would be 5 tons,thanks.

  • As long as the unladen weight of the trailer is less than 1020kg then you won’t need an O licence.

    *NOTE: From December 4th 2011 ‘small trailers’ towed by a vehicle under 3.5 tonnes and used for hire or reward are no longer exempt from operator licensing. Therefore, if your vehicle combination is used for carrying other people’s goods for hire or reward (e.g. couriers and hauliers) and the maximum allowable weight of your vehicle and trailer together exceed 3,500kg then you need a standard O Licence.

  • hi, i run a lwb sprinter gvw 3.5t & i am thinking of using a trailer to carry overspill of furniture deliveries etc on occassion,this is commercial use, the gross weight of the trailer would not exceed 2t (1t unladen) (which is within the plated allowance for braked trailering according to the vin plate – 5500kg), does anyone know, would i need to run on tacho? thanks alan

  • Yes – if you attach any trailer to a 3.5t gvw van and use it to carry goods for business purposes then you need a tacho fitted.

  • Hi ,we are a small company , we have load banks (which is a tool) that we tow on our vans VW transporter and toyota hiace’s , all vans have train weights over 3.5t , do our vans need tacho’s as they are tools used in our job and not for hire or reward ??? pleae help

    • If you’re only carrying equipment for the driver’s use in the course of his work AND the vehicle is used within a 50km (31 miles) radius of base then a tacho’s not needed, otherwise it would be.

  • Hi I am hiring a 7.5T lorry to move my parents furniture out to Spain do I need to a tacho record?

    • It’ll almost definitely have one anyway but you don’t need to use it in the UK for private use. I’ve no idea about France or Spain though and the authorities over there are renowned for being picky about everything they possibly can be, particularly with foreigners. I’d be tempted to stick to EU driving hours and use the tacho anyway, just in case. Try asking on the forums on for some proper advice though.

  • Hi, i have a l200 pick up and a 12ft flat bed ifor williams twin axle beaver tail trailer (car), i have been using it to transport horse drawn vehicles for my own use.

    1) do i need a tacho for the above use?
    2) roughly what would you say is my top legal weight i can carry?
    3) im looking into doing the occassional car transport work for extra income, will i need a tacho?

    Many thanks

  • Hello,
    Have scoured the internet without any specific / detailed result and no response to this paste yet from VOSA.

    The query being (summing up) the definition of “hire/reward” or “commercial purposes” relating to the subject.

    A person uses a vehicle combination, light commercial vehicle + vehicle transporter trailer of gross weight and over distance requiring a tachograph to be fitted according to regulations / legislation.

    BUT the vehicle being transported is their own property (purchased just prior to transportation) to be used or disposed of at that persons discretion.

    The transported vehicle is taken to that persons home or base to be used / disposed of or dismantled at a later time, with any further transportation of that vehicle or it’s remnants subsequently being limited within the tachograph free distance prescribed.

    Somewhat similar to a person purchasing and transporting a scrapper for stock car racing and later selling the wreck/parts (within 50km of home/base).

    Is a tachograph required in such overall circumstance and if so why.

    Thank you for your time.

  • Hmm, must be a problem with this one (above) – given lack of response here and indeed more importantly from VOSA.

    Shall presume a tachograph need not be fitted. Argue the case in Court should it come to that.

  • I’ve not answered because I’d be guessing. I understand the law as it applies to vehicles used for courier work but I’ve no need to know anything else. I can make a couple of educated guesses though.

    The 50km get out isn’t relevant anyway unless you’re doing breakdown recovery is it? So that’s a blind alley.

    If what you’re describing is being done as a ‘hobby’, with any commercial gain you might make being incidental and anyway only used towards you carrying out that ‘hobby’ then it’s not business use and there’s no need to worry about a tacho.

    If however you run it as a business, even if it only produces a small profit, then I think you’d need a tacho.

    As I say though, it’s a bit outside my area of knowledge.

  • Thanks for your input and time Alec, so far as I am aware the 50km aspect relieves any requirement as applies to financial gain.

    Presumably a driver would not suffer fatigue towing a trailer during a 100km round trip, indeed similar apparently applies to someone driving privately (with or without trailer)from one end of the land to the other in a day !

    There are incentives other than financial to do so but presumably common sense would prevail regarding stops/breaks.


    There are specific exemptions for some vehicles/activities. The only exemptions which could conceivably apply are:

    “Specialised breakdown vehicles operating within a 100 km radius of their base.”

    “Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes that are used: …for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work. These vehicles shall be used only within a 50 km radius of the base of the undertaking and on the condition that driving the vehicle does not constitute the driver’s main activity.”

    “Vehicles used for the carriage of goods within a 50 km radius from the base of the undertaking and propelled by means of natural or liquefied gas or electricity”

    I assume that none of the above apply, so you’re left with:

    “Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes used for the non-commercial carriage of goods.”

    The decider for whether the activity is ‘non-commercial’ seems to me to be similar to the difference between a market-trader towing a trailer to market and an individual towing a trailer to a car boot sale. The extremes are easy to identify but there’s an obvious grey area between them.

  • Thanks for the lightning response Alec, in addition to the purely logical basis (fatigue applies to all drivers irrespective of carriage / incentive), the “grey” area is sufficient to rely upon in event of legal proceedings – as any burden of proof rests with the accuser.

    Thanks again – still awaiting VOSA input regarding this tachograph ‘minefield’.

  • Alec, can you answer the following?.

    1. Van & trailer combo,under 3,500kgs with H&R Insurance = “O” license reguired?.
    2. Dual Purpose 4×4 is exempt from regs, it is only the trailer weight (under 3,500kgs) that is relevant, still H&R Insurance = No “O” License required?.
    3. Tacho required in any vehicle operating for H&R?.

    Trying to decipher the new regs is a minefield, finding any reference to them is virtually impossible.


  • My friends’ works uses 3 or 4 cement mixers, the type that mixes on site. none of these 6 and eight wheelers have a tacograph installed, is this allowed by law?

  • hi. we have been told that vans may soon need to have a tacho, anyone know anything please?

    many thanks.

  • sorry, ment to say vans NOT towing will be subject to tachos. if anyone knows please.


    • People have been saying that this is just around the corner for at least 15 years and I don’t think we’re any closer to it.

      There was a recent consultation on this and even VOSA aren’t particularly in favour of it. I think that any action would need to be forced on us by Europe and I just can’t see it happening.

  • many thanks for the reply. thats a weight lifted.
    again, many thanks.


  • We are looking to purchase a 7.5ton horsebox for personnel use which i understand does not require a tacograph however the people we are buying it off have used it for business use therefore it has a tacograph in it, i have been advised that even though i do not need to use it i still need to have it calibrated and checked every 2 and 6 years is this correct?

  • Hi I have a 2001 3500kg van and wish to pull a trailer upto 2000kg so i stay inside 5500kg limit for commercial purpose, i understand i need a tacho, but does anyone know if there is any law stating which type has to be used, old analog with disk, or semi digital ie: digital reader with paper disk or fully digital and card.
    hope this can be answered.

  • I have just bought a 3.5t luton, fitted with a tachograph as the previous owner used it for towing. I have no intention of towing and will only be using the vehicle as a Luton van. Am I required by law to use the tachograph as it is fitted?

    • No, not at all. As long as you’re sure it’s a 3.5t then you don’t need to use the tacho unless you tow.

  • Hi Alec

    another question if i was to decide to apply for an O licence to run my 3.5 ton luton with a trailer taking me over 3.5 ton when needed, would i be able to use my house as an operating centre, as thats where i park the vehicle already with no complaint. Also is the funding the same as per HGV prices.

    Regards Paul

  • what is fixed plant. we tow trailers that are over 900kg. and are told by the powers that be we are legal to drive. within the law our vehicles are 3500kg.thanks

  • I have a 4×4 Volvo xc90 and trailer. I do not use for hire or reward but do for my business and more than 50kms from my depot. I understand that according to your comments i should have a tacho but I cannot see anything in the law that says i have to fit a tacho to a NON commercial vehicle. Have never heard of a tacho being fitted in a car! and neither have VOSA seemingly. I am going to challenge them in writing to this initially. If i have to stick to a 48hr week I’ll be bankrupt!!! The government need to sort this out asap if they want business to succeed. I will respond on here if i get anywhere!! (being government that may take a while!)

  • If i drive a vehicle 3.5tonnes fitted with a tachograph that i am told i must use by my manager what drivers hours and break times would i come under apart from WTD hours.
    many thanks graham

    • Assuming you only ever drive a vehicle of 3.5t or less and you’re in Great Britain then GB Domestic rules apply. That’s a maximum of 10 hours driving per day, a maximum of 11 hours total working time per day and nothing laid down in the rules as a requirement for breaks or rest. You’re required to take breaks and have adequate rests if you’re driving any vehicle on the road of course – and if your employer doesn’t allow for that then they risk prosecution if you have an accident (as do you).

  • I don’t know if this has been covered or not but as far as I understand from EU laws then a tachograph is required if the vehicle + trailer mass is greater than 3500 kg. this is the actual mass when driving the vehicle not the authorised gross train weight. I can tow a trailer with a Renault Trafic van (gross train weight 4950Kg) without a tachograph as long as I do not load the van and trailer more than 3500 Kg. There seems to be confusion over the permissable gross train weight of vehicle/trailer combination and actual weight of vehicle/trailer compination. Can anyone shed some light on this please?

  • No, it’s the maximum permissible weight that’s important, not the actual weight you load it to. If you tow any trailer with a 3500 gvw van then it becomes a vehicle combination with a gross weight of over 3500kg.

  • I have a small van (1650 kg gross) and a single axle ifor Williams trailer (1400 kg gross). I am well under the 3500kg threshold do I still need a tacho as Both are used commercially for business use and travelling further than 50 miles.

  • The total of your van and trailer’s max GVW is, as you say, under 3500kg so no tacho is needed.
    Just as importantly (if you were ever to tow a trailer with a higher GVW for example) if the maximum gross TRAIN weight of the towing vehicle is 3500kg or less then you don’t need a tacho even if the combination could theoretically carry more than that. So if your van was to tow an empty trailer with a GVW of 2000kg it still wouldn’t be in tacho territory because (presumably) the plated GTW of the towing vehicle is under 3500kg.

    Incidentally, I’d be surprised if a van with a GVW of 1650kg could safely tow more than about 600kg anyway, which doesn’t leave you a lot of capacity once the weight of the empty trailer is taken into consideration. I don’t know what you carry on the trailer of course.

  • Hi there, just to be clear that all i need is a Tacho fitted but no operators licence.
    I want to use a Mitsubishi Shogun for vehicle transportation by using a trailer, lwb 4×4, GVW 2040kg, towing capacity 2800kg.mainly the TW will be around 4000kg. This will be on a commercial basis.
    thanks wayne

    • What you have there is a ‘dual purpose vehicle’ and they’re exempt from operator licensing.

      And just to be clear, it isn’t important whether you’re towing on a ‘commercial basis’, the O licence exemption for small trailers (under 1,020kg unladen weight) was only removed for vehicles involved in ‘hire and reward’ – couriers and other freight companies. Businesses carrying their own goods for commercial purposes can still use the small trailer exemption.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top