From July 1, 2026, the EU social regulations will apply and thus also the recording by tachograph for vehicles for the transport of goods with a maximum permissible mass of more than 2.5 t. What does that mean for me as a service provider, dealer or craftsman?
Anyone who only transports their own goods for the company's own purposes operates so-called works transport. The exact requirements that must be met for company transport are described in Article 1 Paragraph 5 Letter d) of Regulation (EC) No. 1072/2009.
If these companies use vehicles or tractor-trailer combinations with a maximum permissible mass of more than 2.5 t and no more than 3.5 t for cross-border goods transport or for own-account cabotage, the following applies from 01.07.2026 in accordance with Article 3 letter, depending on the individual case ha) in conjunction with Article 2 Paragraph 1 Letter aa) of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006, an exemption from the driving and rest time regulations and thus also from the obligation to have a tachograph installed in the vehicle.
The prerequisite for the exception, however, is that "driving is not the main activity of the person driving the vehicle". What exactly that means, i.e. the extent of steering activities, for example, from which these steering activities are to be regarded as the main activity, depends primarily on this how the respective national authorities responsible for the implementation of the driving and rest time regulations interpret this legal issue. Companies in Germany can obtain information from the supervisory authority responsible for the company headquarters (e.g. trade supervisory authority) on how this situation is interpreted in Germany .
In Germany, as of May 2023, it is still unclear which wording will be used to adapt the national legal basis (driving personnel law and driving personnel ordinance) to the EU law amended by the EU Mobility Package I. Only after these legal bases have been adjusted will it become clear whether companies that meet the requirements formulated in EU law can also benefit from the exception for purely national transport. As of May 2023, journeys in company traffic in Germany with a maximum permissible mass of more than 2.8 t must be recorded (by "daily control sheet" or by tachograph, if one is installed), unless an exception under paragraph 1 or 18 of the Drivers' Ordinance applies.
If the above or any other exception is not applicable to the company's carriage, international (and where applicable also national) carriage on own account or on own-account cabotage involving vehicles or towing vehicle-trailer combinations with a maximum permissible mass of more than 2.5 t from July 1, 2026, a second-generation version 2 tachograph, for example a DTCO 4.1, must be installed in the vehicle. Vehicles that cannot be equipped or retrofitted with a corresponding tachograph may not (from July 1, 2026) be used (any longer) for such transport.
The term own-account cabotage hides a carriage carried out by an own-account transport company within a country in which it is not established. For example, a German construction company that carries out construction work in Paris, France, and procures building material itself from building material suppliers within the Paris city area and transports it to the construction site with its own vehicles.