Tachograph cards include various security devices which make forgery and tampering practically impossible.

These mechanisms include:

Invisible inks: These use the emission of incandescent light, i.e. the conversion of invisible radiation such as ultraviolet into visible light. Invisible ink is often used in documents for security reasons. The luminescent security characteristics cannot be imitated using normal reproduction techniques.

Microtexts: The printing of a text with very small characters. Most people can easily read a printed text with characters 0.8 mm high, while characters 0.2 mm high appear as a fine line, although they can be read with a magnifying glass. Microprinting offers protection against photocopying systems.

OVI (optically variable ink): Ink which varies in brightness and colour depending on the angle of light and observation. This iridescent ink is of interest in security applications because its optical effect cannot be imitated by colour copiers. For example, euro notes of €50, €100, €200 and €500 use OVI on their reverse side.

IRIS printing: A printing technique which produces images by mixing different colours carefully together. They are difficult to reproduce and for this reason are used as a security measure against forgery.


In addition, the tachograph cards record all the information on a high-security chip which stores all the holder’s data, as well as all the activities carried out.

These chips are based on an advanced cryptographic processor which enables digital signatures and checks of digital signatures of other devices, such as the vehicle unit or the country issuing the card, so that it is extremely difficult to forge or tamper with it outside the vehicle unit.

Any cards which have not been digitally signed by the European Community certification body ERCA and a Member State cannot be used in the digital tachographs. Moreover, all the information exchanged between the tachograph and the card will be encrypted to prevent interference or manipulation.

This will also prevent the same user from being able to have more than one card. For this reason, the European Union has created a network called TachoNet which allows all the countries taking part in the digital tachograph system to exchange information on the persons who have been issued cards.

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