Rules and regulations on VDRS and digital tacho card replacements

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This month, the FTA's Member Advice Centre has been inundated with questions - here are a few highlights answered by FTA manager of van information Eamonn Brennan. 

Vehicle defect rectification scheme (VDRS)


The vehicle defect rectification scheme (VDRS) covers some 25 offences including:

  • Broken light glass
  • Defective speedometer
  • Inoperative horn
  • Defective silencer
  • Two-tone horn
  • Defective wipers or washers
  • Broken or missing mirrors

The scheme applies only to cars, car-derived vans and light commercial vehicles.

If the vehicle is stopped by a police officer and found to have a defect that makes it illegal, the officer may issue a defect form. Any police officer may check a car or car-derived van.

The police will not prosecute if within 14 days the fault has been remedied and the form, stamped by an MOT testing station has been returned to the police.

A summons may be issued if the fault is not remedied.


The VDRS will not apply:

  • When the vehicle has been in an accident
  • If the vehicle has four or more defects
  • If the police officer considers the defect so severe that it falls outside the scheme

The scheme operates in Scotland with the difference that 21 days are allowed for rectifying the fault.


Waiting for a replacement digital tacho card

While all drivers know the importance of looking after their digital tacho card, occasionally accidents do happen.

The cards should be treated in the same way as a credit card and not subjected to excessive force, bending or extremes of temperature. Even with care though, they can be lost, stolen or the technology can malfunction.

So, what happens to a driver who doesn’t have a working tacho card? Can they continue to drive when they are subject to EU drivers’ hours rules?

The answer is yes – for a maximum of 15 calendar days and there is a strict procedure to follow. The driver can continue for longer, but only if this is necessary for the vehicle to be returned to its premises.

Whatever the problem, the driver should immediately apply for a replacement digital tacho card from the DVLA, by completing form D777B. This must be done within seven days.

The driver can then continue to drive for 15 calendar days, keeping a record of their activities.


The following is a step-by-step guide, outlining what the driver must do for each journey in line with the legislation:

  •  At the start of the shift, the driver should take a blank printout from the tachograph unit.
  •  They should then endorse the record by signing the printout and adding their name in block letters. The driver should also include their driver licence number as further ID.
  • On the back of the printout, the driver should manually record all daily duty activities by using a trace recording: driving time, working time, periods of availability and rest time.
  • At the end of the shift they should take another printout from the tachograph and endorse the record by signing it. Once again, they should include their driver licence number.
  • Finally, the driver should staple the two printouts together and retain the copies.

A: Yes, the manager does not require a Driver CPC qualification if the vehicle he/she is driving is part of an official response to a state of emergency.

During severe flooding the Government declares a state of emergency and if the local authority has requested a delivery of sandbags to prevent a river from bursting its banks the driver delivering the bags is exempt from requiring a Driver CPC qualification during the emergency only.

A: As an operator it is a requirement to ensure that where a speed limiter is required to be fitted and set at a pre-determined speed then it must operate correctly.

Given drivers occasionally allow their vehicles to breach the speed limiter setting, because they are travelling downhill, for example, then the operator will be advised, in the form of an infringement, allowing them to review the cause of the breach.

If, after discussion with the driver it is found to have been caused by the vehicle going downhill, no further action would be required.

However, it is also possible that the speed limiter has developed a fault which would need to be repaired.

A note of the investigation is required to show the reason has been identified but it is not normally classed as a disciplinary issue unless the driver has acted inappropriately to cause the “overspeed”.

A: Yes, when a tractor unit is separated from its trailer it will be classed as a rigid vehicle. Therefore, if no trailer is attached to the unit it can be driven on a category C licence.

It is a myth that the fifth wheel coupling needs to disabled, therefore the tractor unit can remain intact with its coupling device.

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