Smart tachograph

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

New trucks, passenger-carrying vehicles, and smaller professional vehicles must have a smart tachograph on board. Smart tachographs (in Dutch) register information, including driving and rest times, speed, border crossings, and distance travelled.

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) checks the tachograph’s data during inspections.

When is a tachograph mandatory?

You must have a built-in tachograph in your vehicle if it is:

  • A passenger-carrying vehicle for more than 8 passengers (excluding the driver).
  • A vehicle with a trailer that has a maximum permitted weight (meaning the weight of the vehicle itself plus the loading capacity) of over 3,500kg (such as a lorry).
  • A smaller professional vehicle (in Dutch) from category N1 (delivery van) or M1 (car) that weighs over 3,500kg including its trailer and cargo.

You do not need to have a tachograph if you are exempt. You do not have to apply for the exemption, but you must be able to prove that you meet the conditions in the event of an inspection. There are two types of exemption:

  • national exemptions (in Dutch), for example for vehicles used for driving lessons, rubbish collection, or vehicles that stay within 5 kilometres of a facility (port, airport, railway terminal).
  • international exemptions that apply to all EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Registering without a tachograph

Even if there is no legal obligation for your vehicle to be fitted with a tachograph, you are still required by law to register your driver's driving and resting times. The ILT must be able to check if you comply with the Working Hours Act (Arbeidstijdenwet).

Which tachograph do I need?

The type of tachograph you need to use depends on the date on which your vehicle was first registered:

  • from 21 August 2023: Smart Tachograph Type 2 (SMT2)
  • from 15 June 2019: Smart Tachograph Type 1 (SMT1 or 2nd Generation Digital Tachograph)
  • from 1 May 2006: Digital Tachograph (1st Generation Digital Tachograph)
  • before 1 May 2006: Any analogue tachograph

Please note: vehicles used in international transport must in due course be equipped with an SMT2:

  • vehicles with an analogue or 1st generation digital tachograph must switch to an SMT2 by 31 December 2024
  • vehicles with a SMT1 or 2nd generation digital tachograph must switch to an SMT2 by 19 August 2025

Tachograph cards

You need a tachograph card in order to use a smart or digital tachograph. You can apply for these cards (in Dutch) to Kiwa Register. If you are not a Dutch resident and do not have a Kiwa ID, you should contact Kiwa to obtain one. Only then you can apply for Kiwa products online.

There are different types of cards:

  • driver's card
  • temporary driver's card (for drivers from outside the EU/EEA)
  • company card
  • workshop card

Driver’s card

You need a driver’s card (in Dutch) to drive a Dutch company's vehicle that is equipped with a smart or digital tachograph. Drivers from non-EU/non-EEA countries working for a Dutch company need a non-EU driver’s card (in Dutch).

Company card

Are you a transport entrepreneur and do you use buses or trucks fitted with a smart or digital tachograph? You will need to apply for a company card (in Dutch).

Workshop card

Installers of smart tachographs require a workshop card (in Dutch) in order to install, repair, or calibrate digital tachographs. To obtain a workshop card, you must be certified to install digital tachographs and work at a workplace that is recognised by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW). Once you are an authorised tachograph technician, you must notify RDW (in Dutch) about every tachograph that you install.

To notify RDW about the fitting of tachographs, you will need an RDW-pass (in Dutch). You get this pass from RDW after you pass an exam for extending your competence as authorised tachograph technician (Examen bevoegdheidsverlenging tachograaftechnicus, in Dutch).

Downloading and storing data

You must download data from the digital tachograph to a company computer at least once every 90 days. You must download the driver's card at least once every 28 days. You need to store the data from the smart or digital tachograph and the cards for at least 1 year.

Registering border crossings

Truck drivers must register their border crossing in the tachograph. They must record the country code of the country they enter at the border or at the first possible stop. If the truck is fitted with a Smart Tachograph type 2 this requirement is void, as the border crossing will then be registered automatically.