Tachograph symbols. An overview

What are tachograph symbols?

| October 2022 |.

Knowing the meaning of the various tachograph symbols is an essential part of a fleet manager's job. The purpose of the tachograph is to ensure that drivers do not exceed their regulated working hours. Understanding the symbols and using tachograph analysis helps ensure this does not happen.

Tachograph meaning

A tachograph is a device installed on vehicles to record driving speed, distance and time. This is to ensure that employers and their employees comply with laws regarding driving hours, especially those related to drivers' rest periods and driving hours. The information is automatically recorded and stored in the vehicle's memory via the truck driver's card reader and personal ID card.

There are two types of tachometers:

  • The digital tachograph: keeps a digital record of driving records
  • The analog tachograph: data is recorded on a stylus that cuts into a wax-coated analog card

It is a requirement under EU law to have a tachograph on all professional vehicles put into service from May 1, 2006. This makes tachographs an essential part of fleet management.

What are the main symbols on a tachograph?

Digital tachographs use driving symbols to display different driver statuses during working hours. This is to ensure that drivers are not violating the laws surrounding their driving and rest periods.

How do you use the tachograph symbols?

There are four legally recognized key symbols for tachograph devices:

4 tachograph symbols that give the Fleet Manager quick info on work status drivers


This symbol indicates the time a driver is operating a vehicle and running the engine, including when parked.


This symbol represents times when the driver takes a rest break, both during working hours and when off duty.


This symbol indicates the time when a driver is still working but doing work other than driving (the engine is off), such as moving goods from a stationary vehicle.


This symbol represents the time when a vehicle's engine is off but the driver must be available to resume driving or answer calls. This covers periods such as, for example, when an international driver is on a ferry in transit between destinations.

Why tachograph symbols?

The purpose of these symbols is to make it easier for fleet managers, business owners and drivers to understand tachograph data.

All new trucks sold in Belgium from June 25, 2019 must have a digital tachograph. This benefits enforcement agencies and drivers alike, as it means vehicles can be assessed for compliance without having to be stopped and physically inspected. Some farmers are also using tachographs to take advantage of the information they collect.

Download collected tachograph data remotely

Digital tachograph user manual

A digital tachograph records a driver's information via a smart ID card. These driver cards contain important information about the driver, including a photo of him, his date of birth and expiration date, just like his driver's license.

The smart card is authorized before the drivers begin their shift. Once they are authorized to begin work, the drivers insert their cards into the tachograph card reader in the vehicle, and from then on, the information related to driving and resting times, waiting times and other time spent is automatically recorded.

With truck legislation introduced in 2019 and the accuracy and simplicity of digital tachographs, analog tachograph discs have largely been replaced by digital devices. A digital tachograph can be read remotely and stored on the server, so drivers do not have to return to the depot for this purpose. An up-to-date printout of the digital tachograph of each vehicle in the fleet can then easily be presented at the request of the inspector.

What tachograph responsibilities do fleet managers have?

It is a legal requirement to fit tachographs in professional vehicles. Fleet managers and owners of transportation companies are responsible for ensuring that this is the case for their vehicles. As a result, fleet managers and operators have several responsibilities, including:

  • Download and store information from vehicle units and driver ship maps
  • Managing the printouts and records of each driver under their employment contract
  • Reporting deviations or instances of non-compliance with driving hours
  • Training drivers to operate their tachograph equipment in accordance with UK law
  • Ensuring that every tachograph in their vehicles is kept in good working order

Digital tachograph as part of a fleet management system

Monitoring your drivers is not only a legal requirement for your business, it is also an important way to assess their performance and find areas for improvement. With a digital fleet management system, interesting data such as average speed fuel consumption, idle engine times and vehicle location are automatically recorded. Your fleet manager can view and analyze this collected information in a management application to ensure your drivers are using their assigned vehicles efficiently.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of your fleet pays off!

To learn more about how these solutions developed specifically for the transportation industry can help your business, click here.

All-Connects solutions give you a bird's-eye view of your fleet at all times, allowing you to quickly and easily manage all your vehicles, machines and employees.

Ask for expert help

Do you still have questions after reading this blog about driving and rest periods, or would you like to learn more about what works for your specific business situation? Then contact us directly by phone 03 289 55 35 or click here.

Also read our other blogs on GPS tracking:

Share this All-Connects blog:

Ask us your question

After reading this blog, are you curious about which tracking and digital solutions All-Connects offers? Ask us your question and we will answer you as soon as possible.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.