New trucks, buses, and smaller professional vehicles should have a digital tachograph on board. Digital tachographs (in Dutch) register information, including driving and rest times, speed, and distance travelled. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT)(in Dutch) checks the data during inspections.
Who should carry a tachograph?
A first-generation digital tachograph has been mandatory equipment in various types of vehicles in the Netherlands since 1 May 2006. This includes:
- Buses that fit more than 8 passengers (excluding the driver).
- Vehicles with trailers that have a maximum permitted weight (meaning the weight of the vehicle itself plus the loading capacity) of over 3,500kg.
- Smaller professional vehicles (in Dutch) from category N1 (delivery van) or M1 (car) that weigh over 3,500kg including trailer and cargo.
Trucks and buses that are registered since 15 June 2019 must have a Smart Tachograph type 1 (2nd generation digital tachograph). Smart
Smart Tachograph Type 2
From 21 August 2023, the Smart Tachograph type 2 (SMT2) will be mandatory for all newly registered vehicles. Trucks used for international transport must replace the existing tachograph with the SMT2. This happens in phases:
- Trucks with an analogue or digital tachograph must have a SMT2 by 31 December 2024.
- Trucks with a Smart Tachograph type 1 must have a SMT2 by 19 August 2025.
If your vehicle has been part of traffic before 1 May 2006, an analogue tachograph is sufficient. Note that by 31 December 2024, this tachograph must be replaced by a Smart Tachograph type 2 for international transport.
Exemption from tachograph
In some cases you do not need to have a tachograph. There are national exemptions (in Dutch), for example for vehicles used for driving lessons, collecting rubbish, or vehicles that stay within 5km of a facility (port, airport, railway terminal).
There are also international exemptions that apply to all EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These can be found in Article 13 of the European regulation.
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.
Monitoring without a tachograph
If your vehicle is not legally bound to carry a tachograph, you still must monitor your driver's driving and resting times. This is a legal requirement.
You need a tachograph card in order to use a digital tachograph. You can apply (in Dutch) for these cards 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
You need a driver’s card (in Dutch) to drive a Dutch company's vehicle that is equipped with a digital tachograph. Drivers from non-EU/non-EEA countries working for a Dutch company need a non-EU driver’s card (in Dutch).
Are you a transport entrepreneur and do you use buses or trucks fitted with a digital tachograph? You will need to apply for a company card (in Dutch).
Installers of digital 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 should 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 digital tachograph and the cards for at least 1 year.
Entering 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.