Digital tachograph and related




European Digital Tachograph


As from the 1980's, the implementation of tachographs is driven by the European Commission's DG Mobility and Transport - often referred to as DG MOVE (in 2010 Barosso II split DG TREN (Transport and Energy) into MOVE and ENER). The objective of the tachograph is to have safer and fairer road transportation within the EU and even beyond.

Look at the EC's website, or here for an overview of the various regulations. The analogue tachograph is no longer officially in use. The first generation of the digital tachograph, introduced by EC 2135/98, is a device (referred to as VU - vehicle unit or OBU - on-board unit) that is built-in into the vehicle by an accredited workshop using a workshop card. A cable connects it with a motion-sensor that captures the movements of the vehicle. The motion-sensor and the digital tachograph are cryptographically authenticated. To lawfully operate the vehicle, a driver needs to use his driver card.

The digital tachograph card is a smartcard, replacing the traditional paper-based analogue cards. There are four card types in total: The second generation of the digital tachograph is referred to as the smart tachograph. It was introduced by EC 165/2014.

In every Member State, a MSA (Member State Authority) has been created for its deployment. The MSA takes responsibility for the three core components in the Member State:

The system is typically linked a.o. to a Member State driving license register, to a national identity register, and to the EU-wide Tachonet. Tachonet has been created as the European network for interconnecting the MSA's. XML messages are used for information exchange between the CIA's. Connectivity is via TESTA. Security is achieved via a Public Key Infrastructure. A European PKI has been set-up with the ERCA (European Root Certification Authority) as its root-CA.

Beyond the EU

As road transport goes beyond EU borders, the EU regulation has been accepted in the AETR (Accord Européen Transport Routiere). This is coordinated a.o. by UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). CORTE, the Confederation of Organisation in Road Transport Enforcement groups many stakeholders. The IRU is the world’s road transport organisation.

Timeline EU digital tachograph

The timeline can be approximated as:

Member State Authorities


Europe (the Belgian implementation of the EU digital tachograph)

The situation in Belgium

In Belgium, the Federal Public Service Mobility takes responsibility as the MSA (Member State Authority). Actual implementation and operation of the system has been delegated to the ITLB (originally named IWT-ITR).

Belgian timeline

The Belgian timeline can be approximated as:

First generation Second generation ('smart tachograph')



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