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What do tachograph symbols mean?

By Verizon Connect Team July 19, 2023

Tachograph symbols are graphical representations (pictograms) of the information gathered by digital or analogue tachograph devices. They provide insights into the activities of drivers engaged in road freight or passenger transport. Gain further insights into tachograph symbols and their significance in fleet management by exploring the following information.

Tachograph symbols in analogue and digital tachographs

Tachograph symbols were introduced to simplify the implementation of tachographs. They include pictograms to represent driver states, such as rest, availability, driving time and non-driving work. These are the four basic symbols, but there are many more to represent a wide range of information.

These symbols play a crucial role in providing essential information that must be readily accessible to both the control authority and the transport operator. This applies to both analogue and digital tachographs. The symbols convey vital details regarding the driver's activities, ensuring compliance and effective monitoring of:

  • Time
  • Mode of operation
  • Driver activity
  • Current continuous driving time and/or current cumulative break time
  • Warning data
  • Menu access (1) 

The tachograph is a vital safety device that is mandatory for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) over 3.5 tonnes involved in road transportation of goods, as well as vehicles capable of carrying more than 9 persons, including the driver. (2)

Further to this, digital tachograph devices provide and record information for: 

  • Distance travelled and speed
  • Time measurement
  • Starting point, end point and position every 3 hours (if connected to a satellite navigation system)
  • Driver identity
  • Driver activity
  • Control, calibration and tachograph repair data
  • Events* and faults* (3)

Also, the digital tachograph warns drivers about exceeding the maximum allowed continuous driving time to help them manage compliance with legislation.

Why do we use tachograph symbols?

The digital tachograph utilises these pictograms to summarise the extensive information captured by the smart tachograph. These symbols are designed to fit on the device's screen and printed tickets, effectively documenting the driver's and vehicle's activity. They serve as a means of communication between the driver, authorities and the tachograph system.

There are over 140 pictograms and for professional drivers it is key to know what the tachograph means for their daily operations. Each tachograph symbol corresponds to a different meaning and may be used in combination with several other symbols.

In addition, tachograph symbols serve as a universal language, ensuring clear and effortless comprehension for tachograph users and authorities across Europe, eliminating any language barriers when interpreting tachograph records.

Download our Tachograph symbols guide to have all the pictograms available for your use. 

Uniting digital tachograph and intuitive GPS tracking solution for enhanced monitoring 

The integration of a digital tachograph with a user-friendly GPS tracking solution helps fleet managers to uphold EU tachograph regulations. Non-compliance can lead to severe legal and financial consequences for both the company and its owners. By merging these technologies, fleet managers gain valuable insights into near real-time tachograph status, as well as a comprehensive overview of their fleets, drivers, and schedules. This integration empowers managers to improve planning, make informed decisions, boost productivity and maintain strict adherence to compliance requirements.

Moreover, fleet managers can leverage automated tacho file downloads to maintain uninterrupted driver and vehicle operations while fulfilling the essential archiving of driver card and tachograph files. The fleet tracking solution serves as a centralised repository for all downloaded files, offering convenient access for audits or analysis needs.

  1. Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 — rules on tachographs used in road transport 
  2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/EN/legal-content/summary/tachographs-in-road-transport.html 
  3. Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 — rules on tachographs used in road transport 

Verizon Connect Team

We drive a connected world in constant motion! We automate, optimise and revolutionise the way people, vehicles and things move around the world.

Tags: Safety

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