What does the law say?

Did you know that if you drive a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of over 3.5 tonnes, it requires a tachograph? If you don’t have one, your insurance is invalid, doubling the offence and the penalty.

If you are then involved in an accident, the consequences can be significantly more serious. 

There are several government agencies involved with overlapping priorities and scope which unfortunately can lead to grey areas. As a result of this, caterers can find it very difficult to keep up to date and consequently often fall foul of the law, finding themselves subject to fines, penalty points, driving bans and even prosecution or imprisonment if a serious incident ensues.

How do I stay compliant?

NCASS has spent many hours unraveling the complex web of legislation to be able to give our members accurate, up to date advice to keep them within the law.

If you want to stay legal and keep your insurance valid, let NCASS help you by becoming a member. We can provide invaluable help and support, including expertise in these areas:

  • Driver Licensing
  • Tachograph Requirements
  • Drivers Hours Regulations
  • Operator Licensing (full and restricted)
  • Showman’s Exemptions
  • Vehicle Weights and Lengths
  • Type Approval

The need for a tachograph:

Article 2 (1) of EU regulation 561/2006 EC states what vehicles can fall in to it’s scope (*unless identified as exempt from the requirements at Articles 3 & 13 of this regulation):

This Regulation shall apply to the carriage by road:

  1. of goods where the maximum permissible mass of the vehicle, including any trailer, or semi-trailer, exceeds 3,5 tonnes,..”

You may take the “maximum permissible mass” as being the maximum permitted towing weight of the vehicle (i.e. the train weight shown on the manufacturer’s plate).    For the purposes of the above, the term “light vehicle” does not apply – the scope of the regulation is purely as outlined above.  Therefore, a 4×4 (“dual purpose”) vehicle (which generally have a train weight of approx. 6.5 tonnes) can require a tachograph as soon as the trailer is coupled to it (unless its use is identified as exempt*).

Converted cars and vans may not be in scope of the above, where the gross  train weight shown on the manufacturer’s plate of the vehicle is under 3.5 tonnes (which is likely to be the case). Where the train weight is under 3.5 tonnes, a tachograph would not be required – even when towing a trailer.


Main exemption for catering vehicles:

Would these type of vehicles fall under the exemption of working within a 100Km radius of the business?

The derogation from the above is the one at Article 13 (1) (d) for:

“(d) vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7,5 tonnes used….

– for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work”,  (within a 100km of its base).

This is the “tools of the trade” exemption for vehicles used (e.g. by builders) where the goods carried are solely associated with the drivers work  and where driving is not the main activity. .  Drivers of catering vehicles cannot claim this derogation – as the goods are not for the driver’s use; they are for the customer to whom they are being supplied. 

The derogation that may apply to catering vehicles is at Article 13 (1) (J) of the above for:

“specialised vehicles transporting circus and funfair equipment;”

A past court judgment determined that in order for catering vehicles or trailers to be able to use this derogation they must be specialised. (In this case, it (and/or any trailer)  must be specifically converted for the purpose of a catering vehicle).  In your email, you have indicated that you may intend to do this.  However, the following must also be fully complied with for the exempton to apply:-

  1. The vehicle (with or without a trailer) transporting catering kiosks or any other equipment must used for a purpose directly connected to a circus, funfair or festival  and solely for that purpose.
  2. Please note: a vehicle (converted as described above) but which is going to, for example, a local market, car boot sale, sporting event,



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