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The driver card – what it is and how to obtain it

The driver card is a tachograph card popular among carriers, which resembles a driver’s work card. In order to be able to perform certain professions in road transport, additional licenses and permissions are often required, beyond the standard driving license. How much does a driver card cost and how do you obtain it? Have a read of the summary we have prepared for you below.

What is a driver card?

The driver card is a document that is required of a specific group of drivers who drive vehicles with digital tachographs. Its main task is to record driving time and other activities performed by drivers during their work. Each driver may have only one personal card issued for a period of 5 years. It is required in order for the driver to legally start driving the vehicle with a tachograph

  • with a permissible total weight exceeding 3.5 tons in the transport of goods
  • registered to carry more than 9 people including the driver

The driver’s working time essentially starts with the insertion of the card in the tachograph. However, some administrative and organizational activities are performed before getting into the truck or coach cabin. Basic driver activities such as driving, stops and rests are digitally recorded on the card. What other information can be found on the driver card?

Data contained on the driver card

In addition to collecting data from the tachograph, the driver card also holds information about its owner. The document looks like ID cards that we have from the beginning of our lives. The driver card contains the following data:

  • first name and last name
  • portrait photo
  • date of birth
  • PESEL number
  • card issue date
  • expiry date of the document
  • card number
  • driver’s license number
  • entity issuing the card
  • country of registration
  • signature

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Driver activity control

The driver card has a limited memory capacity, therefore it can store information pertaining to a maximum of 28 driver working days. Next, the data should be copied (usually to a computer) and stored for a period of 12 months. The employer has access to the data on the card in order to supervise and monitor the work of their subordinates. They must also copy up-to-date information in the case of:

  • termination or expiry of the contract with the driver
  • document expiration
  • risk of losing data stored on the card
  • requests from an authorized body

How to obtain a driver card

The procedure is standardized in all European Union member states. You can apply for a driver card at an authorized institution. In Poland, the competent authority is the Polish Security Printing Works headquartered in Warsaw. Of course, you do not need to appear in person at the company’s head office, you can send your application by mail or through the internet. Unfortunately, just sending an email is not enough.

Driver card – application

You have to authenticate yourself with an electronic signature on the nationwide Info-car platform or use a trusted profile. Online applications are processed faster, usually taking 7 business days. If the letter was submitted by post, PWPW has 30 days to process your application.

Driver card – required documents

If the application is not submitted with all the necessary documents, you will receive a request to send in the missing documents. Therefore, it is worth preparing in order to not extend the waiting time. Along with the application, the following should be submitted:

  • photocopy of the driver’s license
  • photo of the driver (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) on a white background, without a mask or headgear
  • confirmation of the fee payment for issuing the driver card
  • scan of the signature

Slightly different rules apply to foreigners from outside the European Union. They must also attach a copy of the driver’s attestation and a scan of the driver card.

How much does the driver card cost?

The fee for issuing the document is fixed for everyone. The price for the driver card is PLN 172.20. Remember to pay the entire amount before submitting the application. The application will not be considered if a payment is not made.

Replacing the driver card

The driver card, unlike the certificate of professional competence, is issued for a specified period of time, i.e. a period of 5 years. After the expiry date of the document, the driver cannot drive trucks with tachographs. To ensure a smooth transition, it is best to submit your application with all the necessary documents at the latest 15 days before it expires. In the event of theft, damage or loss of the card, printouts of the tachograph should be made at the beginning of the working day and at the end of the day. You should also apply for a new card immediately. In the event of a police or ITD (Road Transport Inspection Authority) inspection, we will be asked to authenticate the theft or loss of documents, so it is worth having on hand a copy of the application for the replacement card.

Driving without a driver card

It is illegal to drive without a valid driver card. In exceptional circumstances, the driver may continue the transport, however, he must supplement the tachograph printouts with his own description of the work performed. This is only a temporary solution, because driving without a driver card can result in a fine of:

  • up to PLN 2,000 for the person driving a vehicle without documents
  • up to PLN 2,000 for the transport manager or other person responsible for transport management
  • up to PLN 5,000 for the carrier, that is the transport company itself

During the potential inspection, additional penalties may apply due to the lack of complete documentation or failure to comply with the applicable deadlines. Driving without valid insurance is subject to criminal sanction.

The driver card and third-party liability insurance

The possession of a driver card does not exempt the individual from the requirement to have third-party liability insurance. Pursuant to Art. 23 of the Act on Compulsory Insurance, the Insurance Guarantee Fund and the Polish Bureau of Motor Insurers: the owner of a motor vehicle must conclude a contract of compulsory motor vehicle owner third-party liability insurance for damages resulting from the movement of their vehicle. Moreover, the penalties provided for the lack of compulsory insurance are higher for owners of trucks than for owners of smaller vehicles with a GVM of up to 3.5 tons. The amount of the fine depends both on the type of vehicle and the length of the journey without a valid liability insurance:

  • PLN 1810 for driving without third-party liability insurance up to 3 days from the expiry date
  • PLN 4520 for a driving without third-party liability insurance from 4 to 14 days from the expiry date
  • PLN 9,030 for driving without third-party liability insurance over 14 days from the insurance expiration

The fines for not holding third-party liability insurance increase year by year, because the minimum wage serves as the basis for the calculation. The higher the minimum wage, the higher the penalties for the lack of third-party liability insurance.

Editors

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