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Canter with trailer
Tachographs aren’t just for the big truck boys, ah no! – you need one if you’re towing a trailer and the GVW of both exceeds 3.5 tonnes

BEING keen on all things to do with vans, the guys here at usually take a quick peek inside the cab of any light commercial vehicle they see parked on the side of the road – just out of professional interest you understand.

Two things usually hit us.

One is the untidy state of most of these vehicles (which is understandable); and

If the combined weight is above 3.5 tonnes then you need a tacho

The other is that in the case of vans and trucks with trailers, the general absence of tachographs (which is neither understandable nor legal).

“Tachographs?” we hear you say, “they are just for big trucks aren’t they?”

Oh no.

Knowing when you need a tachograph

Anything over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight needs a digital tachograph by law, and if you get stopped without one by the lads and lasses at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – formerly know as VOSA – you will soon find yourself deep, deep, deep in the doo-doo.

You’ll also need an O-licence to operate as well, more of which later. Oh, and if you gained your car driving licence after 1997, you’ll need to have passed a separate towing test too.

So exactly how do you work out whether or not you need a tacho to stay legal?

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