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What is magnet driving and what are the risks?

>Magnet driving is an issue known mainly to people from the TSL industry. This is a form of fraud where one interferes with the operation of the tachograph. The unusual name refers to a simple method used by criminals, which involves attaching a strong magnet to the recording device in order to disrupt its functionality. You will find more information in this regard later in the article.

What is magnet driving?

Magnet driving is a practice that involves manipulating the operation of a tachograph – a device that records the working time, speed and route of a truck. Tachographs are required by law to ensure safety and equal opportunities in road transport. Any interference in the operation of the tachograph involves serious legal and financial consequences. Both professional drivers and carriers are at risk of being penalized.

Is magnet driving detectable?

Of course! This method has been known to police officers for years. Sometimes, to identify a violation of the law, an unusual reading of the tachograph records is enough, usually followed by a search for a magnet on the vehicle. Thus, the magnet driving detection methodology includes:

  • analysis of tachograph data
  • physical inspection of the vehicle and tachograph
  • functional tests

The easiest way to confirm suspicions is to check whether the tachograph records data correctly. Any deviation from the norm may indicate the use of the magnet.

What are the penalties for magnet driving?

The effects of manipulating the tachograph are serious and multidimensional. They include:

  • Fines: in accordance with the Act of September 6, 2001 on road transport, carriers may be subject to a fine of up to PLN 10,000.00 for each identified violation. Additionally, the driver and the transport manager may also incur fines.
  • Procedure for assessing good reputation: driving with a magnet is classified as a serious violation that may result in the initiation of the procedure to assess the carrier’s good reputation. This, in turn, may lead to the loss of your professional license.
  • Additional costs: in addition to fines, the carrier may be required to cover the costs related to testing and calibrating the tachograph, which may amount to up to PLN 15,000.

Imprisonment for magnet driving

The legal regulations regarding tachograph manipulation are clear and strict. From May 25, 2019, in accordance with Art. 306a of the Penal Code, any interference with the correct reading from an odometer of a motor vehicle, including the tachograph, is treated as a crime punishable by imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years. This shows how seriously attempted fraud in road transport is taken.

Case study

An example that well illustrates the effects of driving with a magnet is a transport company from central Poland, whose driver was caught on July 18, 2023 manipulating the tachograph during a routine road inspection. The inspection revealed that he had used a magnet to disrupt the operation of the device. As a result:

  • the company received an administrative fine of PLN 16,000 and was subjected to a good reputation assessment procedure
  • the driver was fined PLN 2,000 and received five traffic tickets for other offenses discovered during the inspection

The case continued in the courtroom. During the proceedings, the prosecutor’s office revealed further irregularities in the carrier’s operations – from magnetic driving to the second card. Ultimately, the carrier’s license was taken away and they received a suspended prison sentence.

Summary: driving with a magnet does not pay off

Driving with a magnet and using a second card are popular crimes committed by transport companies. Wanting to make quick money and stretching the regulations is never a good idea. The regulations are designed in such a way that the potential benefits of fraud are much lower than the potential penalty. This is also applies to any interference with the operation of the tachograph!


Is every manipulation of the tachograph magnet driving?

No, magnet driving specifically refers to the use of magnets to disrupt the operation of the tachograph.

Is driving with a magnet easy to detect by road inspection?

Yes, magnetic driving is becoming easier to detect. Inspectors have tools to analyze data from tachographs, which may reveal irregularities that point to manipulation.