Ministerio de Transportes y Movilidad Sostenible

Legislation and documentation

The tachograph


Breaches of regulations related to the tachograph

Driving times

Rest periods


Summary of the applicable legislation

Spain’s entry on 1 January 1986 into what is now the European Union represented, among many other things, the direct application of the regulations on driving and rest periods existing in the EU countries.

These regulations are set out in the Council’s Regulation EEC 3820/85 relating to the harmonization of provisions on questions of the working environment in the road transport sector and the Council’s Regulation EEC 3821/85 relating to the control of the road transport sector.

With time, it has been considered appropriate to introduce new control devices which are equipped with electronic components for registering the pertinent information and a personal driver’s card in order to guarantee the availability, clarity, ease of reading, printing and the reliability of the registered data, and which permit to set up a indisputable record of the actions undertaken by the driver during the latest days, and on the other hand to establish the vehicle's activity during various months. Also, due to the difficulty of a uniform interpretation, application, execution and control in all the member states, it has become necessary to establish a set of clear and simple rules which can more easily be understood, interpreted and applied by the road transport sector and by the authorities responsible for their fulfilment.

For this reason, various provisions, which have been approved and published, modify the Council’s Regulation EEC 3821/85 regarding the control device in the road transport sector and establishes, among other matters, the conditions for manufacturing, testing, installing and controlling the digital tachograph, which has been mandatory since January 2006..

Furthermore, the Regulation (EC) 561/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL of 15 March, published on 11 April 2006, relating to the harmonization of provisions on questions of the working environment in the road transport sector repeals the Council’s Regulation (EEC) No. 3820/85.

Both regulations apply to all drivers engaged in any form of road transport, whether public or private, freight or passenger, Spanish nationals or foreigners, operating within Spain or in the European Community, with a loaded or empty vehicle, provided the vehicle they are driving has a MAW of over 3.5 tonnes, or in the case of passenger vehicles, more than 9 seats including the driver’s.

The difficult nature of these regulations in some cases, and the need to disseminating them as widely as possible has led to the publication of this small explanatory guide which offers a simple understanding to everyone who has to comply with the regulations on a day-to-day basis, and also to all those involved in verifying compliance with the regulations.

We hope that this brief guide will help explain and clarify all the questions which may arise for tachograph users after a detailed reading of the Regulations cited above.