Do I Need To Use A Tachograph?

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The Question

Good afternoon.
Could you please clarify something for me.

A Mercedes Sprinter van model No 519 which is advertised as GVW 5,000 kgs, Unladen weight 2,200 kgs I know this is fitted with a tacho, do I need to operate the tacho when the vehicle is running empty, also do I need an O license.

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

The DVSA's Answer

I refer to your e – mail addressed to the Central Licensing Office in Leeds , concerning the above. It has been passed to this office for reply. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

Goods vehicle operator's licence

Most goods vehicles with a gross plated weight of over 3.5 tonnes or, if there is no plated weight, an unladen weight of over 1525 kg require a goods vehicle operator’s licence, if they are used to carry goods or burden of any description in connection with a trade or business, or for hire or reward. The requirement also applies to vehicles used for infrequent periods - such as one day. Therefore, on the basis of the information you have supplied you would be advised to hold an operators' licence and your best course of action would be to contact the national enquiry number (0300 123 9000) and request a starter pack so that you may apply for a licence.


Turning to tachographs, where the maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi - trailer) exceeds 3.5 tonnes, a tachograph is required. ("Maximum Permissible Weight" can be taken to mean the sum of the maximum permissible gross weights of towing vehicle and trailer being towed or the maximum permissible train weight of the towing vehicle - whichever is the lesser). Our booklet "Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs" (GV74) which you will find useful is available on our website.

I should point out that this is in VOSA’s view and does not constitute legal opinion.

I hope that the information given above has been of some help. If you have any further queries, do not hesitate to contact me. Once again, please accept my apologies for the delay in sending a full reply.

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