Do I need to fit a tachograph?

Often the law regarding towing and tachographs can be very confusing.

However, despite the jargon, the law is relatively straightforward. But it has been found that individuals other ignore the law or do not understand when and who needs to use a tachograph, when they are either towing a vehicle with a trailer.
It is not a well known fact that a 3.5-tonne van towing a trailer needs a tachograph, which may be the reason why you probably won’t see one on the next 3.5 tonne van with a trailer you see.
It is surprising that out of all vans with tow bars on UK roads, it is estimated that less than 1% have a tachograph. Despite general ignorance, drivers of vans with trailers can face a £5,000 fine and two years imprisonment.

Exceptions to the rule

It is satiated in the law that the weight of the trailer must be added to the gross vehicle weight of the van it’s self.
So if the van you drive has a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes and the trailer weights 3.5 tonnes, in the eyes of the law your vehicle actually weighs 7 tonnes.

There are a few expectations to this rule and the There are exceptions to this rule:

  • One rule is, If the vehicle is not being used for hire and reward
Van operators and drivers can also face harsh fines for not properly checking their driving licences.
Drivers who obtained their driving licences before the first of january in 1997, are permuted to drive up to a 7.5 tonne gvw vehicle on their standard driving licence. HOWEVER, those who passed after this date are only permitted to drive a 3.5 tonne vehicle. This means that even if the vehicle weighs less than this the weight of the trailer combined will mean that you are breaking the law.
This is due to a change in the law that occurred in 1997 that says anyone who passed their test ager this date will have to obtain a Category B or BE licence entitlement.
There were further law changes in January 2013, that have further restricted the weight that post 1997 drivers can tow without obtaining a separate qualification.