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What is a Driver Smart Card?

...aka, the 'Driver Card', the 'Digi Tachograph Card', or simply just the 'Digi Card'

What is the Driver Smart card?

Also known as the ‘Digital Tachograph Card’, a Driver Smart Card is required if you drive a vehicle for commercial purposes, and that vehicle is fitted with a Digital Tachograph.

Your Driver Card will store at least 28 days of data comprised of the following:

1) Driver Activities: Driving, Working, Periods of Availability, Break and rest times.
2) Identification of any vehicles used
3) Dates and Times of use
4) Locations of where shifts begin and end
5) Total distances travelled
6) Tachograph Unit reportable events and any errors


You MUST have your Driver Card downloaded every 28 days. Best practice states that you should do it every week. In some cases, we’ve known some Transport Manager’s tell their drivers to do it daily! Of course, the official guidance is that this needs to be done every 28 days.

Category C HGV Training vehicle

Can I drive without a Driver Card?

No. Is the simple answer. However, you can in fact drive without a card for up to 15 days. During this time, you will have to make print outs from the Tachograph Unit at the beginning and end of your shifts

How much does a Driver Card Cost?

Well, a very frequently asked question: If you are applying for your first Smart Card, the price is £32.00. If you are applying for a replacement, for example you may have lost it, or it has been damaged or it’s just simply due for renewal, the price is £19.00.

Regardless, if you are driving a vehicle which has a Digital Tachograph fitted, it is essential that you have been issued with a Driver Card.

Simply apply via the DVLA; you can download your application form here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/956232/application-for-digital-tachograph-driver-card-d777b-dl.pdf

How long is a Driver Card valid?

Once you have received your Driver Card, you will notice that it is valid for 5 years. Upon expiry, you are required to carry both your new card and your old card together for 28 days.

Just in case it is not apparently obvious, you CANNOT use two Digi Cards at any one time. Should you lose your current card and apply for a replacement, then find your lost card… do not use your lost-but-found card again.

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