The law says the maximum time you can leave the date between downloading drivers’ smartcards is 28 days. After this period the digital tachograph can start overwriting the data on the card. But it’s worth remembering this is the maximum, not the rule.
From a transport management perspective, knowing when/if an infringement has happened straight-away makes life easier than finding it down the line. This is so that it can be acted on and potentially prevent future infringements.
A transport manager will also want to check digicards before a driver steps in the vehicle. This is to be sure the driver hasn’t driven for another company. It gives peace of mind to know exactly how many hours a driver has worked (in vehicles that is!).
Downloading data isn’t the reserve of only qualified Transport Managers. Drivers/admin staff can easily do them following short training. Some operators even have remote download equipment available in the vehicles.
But the key is, the more frequently the data is uploaded, the less likely infringments are likely to occur. On The CPC Centre’s Driver CPC course: Drivers Hours and Tachographs, there is emphasise on how regular downloads help to keep drivers legal and safe.