Driving Hours and Tachographs.


driving hours


There are strict EU laws enforced by the Road Safety Authority (R.S.A) here in Ireland. These laws affect people who are driving:

  • a passenger vehicle carrying nine or more people including the driver,
  • a goods vehicle with a gross weight over 3.5 tonnes.

We also recommend that driver’s of all other vehicles follow the key requirements as regards how long they should drive for, how often they should stop and have a break and how long the break should last for to ensure their safety and the safety of ours on the roads.

These rules also apply in countries within the European Union or between Member States and Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The RSA state that Driver Fatigue…

‘…is the physical and mental impairment brought about by inadequate rest over a period of time. Ideally, people need 7/8 hours’ sleep every night. Drivers suffering from a sleep debt are at risk of ‘nodding off’ whilst driving and substantially increasing their risk of being involved in a crash. It is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland every year. Furthermore, tiredness-related collisions are 3 times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action.’

The Key Requirements according to the R.S.A are as follows:

  1. ‘The longest period you can drive without a break is 4.5 hours.driving hours
  2. You must take a 45-minute break. This may be either: an uninterrupted break of 45 minutes; or a 15-minute initial break followed by a later 30-minute break during the 4.5 hour driving limit. During the break, you must not drive or do any other work. The break must be spent exclusively on resting.
  3. The maximum time you may drive each day is nine hours. This may be extended to 10 hours no more than twice during a week. 
  4. The maximum time you may drive each week is 56 hours. However, you must not drive more than 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.
  5. As a driver you must take a daily rest period of 11 hours in the first 24 hours after the end of your last daily or weekly rest period. You may take this as: an uninterrupted period of 11 hours; or split rest in two periods – an uninterrupted period of at least three hours and a second uninterrupted period of at least nine hours. If you take this option, the total daily rest is 12 hours.’


driving hoursTachographs:

As defined by the R.S.A ‘…are instruments that measure the amount of time a driver is on the road. There are two kinds: digital and analogue. Both are used to monitor compliance with driver hours’ legislation. Digital tachographs became mandatory in new commercial lorries and buses in May 2006.’



The R.S.A have outlined that the following details must be recorded about the driver on the centrefield of analogue tachograph charts:

  1. ‘ first name and surname;
  2. the date and place where the use of the sheet begins and ends;
  3. the registration number of each vehicle to which you are assigned at the start of the first journey and, if you change vehicle, during use of the sheet;
  4. the time of any change of vehicle;
  5. the odometer reading: • at the start of the first journey; • at the end of the last journey;
  6. odometer readings for each vehicle must be recorded if the driver changed vehicles during the working day.’


driving hours

The tachograph records that must be available:

  • If the vehicle has an analogue tachograph, you must be able to produce:
  1. ‘the record sheets for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days;
  2. any manual record and printout made during the current day and the previous 28 calendar days;
  3. and your digital tachograph card (if you hold one).’
  • If the vehicle has a digital tachograph, you must be able to produce:
  1. ‘your digital tachograph driver card;
  2. any manual record and printout made during the current day and previous 28 calendar days;
  3. and your record sheets for any vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph that you drove within the previous 28 calendar days.’


We recommend downloading the official R.S.A Document further outlining all the information mentioned above which you can find on their website.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic then contact us here at Mercedes Sprinters Van Sales and we can help you out.