What do the Symbols on a Digital Tachograph Mean?

As mentioned, in total there are four digital tacho symbols which are legally required to be used on all tachograph systems, each having a different meaning. These are:

  • Drive

The ‘drive’ symbol is automatically displayed by a tachograph when a driver is driving. This mode records the amount of time a vehicle’s engine has been running for, including when it is parked or stationary. It is denoted by a steering wheel figure.

  • Rest or Break

The ‘rest/break’ symbol is displayed by a tachograph when a driver is taking a break. This mode records the length of time a driver has been resting during a shift, as well as such periods after they’ve ended their shift, including annual and sick leave. It is signified by a bed figure.

  • Available

The ‘available’ symbol is displayed by a tachograph when a driver is on standby to perform work when necessary. For example, this mode may be activated when a driver is experiencing a waiting period or when their vehicle is currently being transported. It is symbolised by a square with a diagonal line through it.

  • Other Work

The ‘other work’ symbol is displayed by a tachograph when a driver’s vehicle is not active, but the driver themselves is still carrying out tasks. For instance, this mode may be activated when a driver is loading or unloading their vehicle. It is represented by a crossed tools figure.

In addition to these four symbols, there are other extant symbols that are specific to the type of tachograph or the country in which it is being used. Namely, some tachographs have symbols for when a driver is driving in a high-risk construction zone.

Why are Digital Tacho Symbols Important?

Digital tacho symbols are important for many reasons. One of which, being that they help fleet managers to ensure that their drivers are complying with the relevant regulations, those which govern driver hours of service.

Law states that drivers must take a 45-minute break after driving for 4.5 hours, and also rest for at least 11 hours out of every 24 hours. Failure to comply accordingly can result in substantial fines and reputational damage. Not to mention, operating vehicles over these limitations increases the likelihood of on-road incidents happening as a consequence of fatigue.

In this context, digital tacho symbols serve as detectors for when a driver is required to take a break or rest. Their functionality lies in how they log driver hours of service automatically, in essence, giving fleet managers peace of mind regarding compliance and safety.

MICHELIN Connected Fleet understands the material importance of digital tacho symbols, and likewise know how hard it is for fleets to remain compliant without such data. To a large degree, digital tacho symbols are a part of fleet management best practice since they offer a way to coherently log worker analytics.

If you’re interested in implementing an effective solution that directly improves fleet compliance and safety through incorporating digital tacho symbols, then be sure to contact us for details on how our service can benefit your business today.