Vehicle monitors

Vehicle monitor devices automatically record details about a vehicle's operation at all times. Here's the NSW legal requirements and how to use them.

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About vehicle monitors

Vehicle monitoring devices for heavy vehicles automatically record details about the vehicle at all times, whether the engine is on or off. There are various types of monitors, including tachographs and electronic boxes, also known as trip computers or black boxes.

Monitors record:

  • lengths of time the vehicle is moving and stationary during a journey
  • speeds at which the vehicle is driven
  • distance the vehicle travels between stops
  • the time, date and place of starting and finishing a journey, the driver’s details and vehicle identification.

Monitors produce a continuous record of vehicle operation, allowing drivers and operators who break the law to be identified. Vehicle monitoring records also help identify vehicles on which the speed limiter has been tampered with or disabled.


Vehicle owners and transport operators are accountable if they schedule journeys that require drivers to exceed speed limits or driving hours.

Which vehicles must have monitors in NSW?

The following NSW registered vehicles must have monitors fitted:

  • prime movers and articulated vehicles with a GVM or GCM of more than 13.9 tonnes, and manufactured on or after 1 January 1991
  • all trucks with a GVM or GCM (if travelling in combination) of more than 13.9 tonnes, carrying dangerous goods and required to display signs
  • all coaches used in the course of trade or business, or for hire or reward.

Vehicles not required by law to have monitors in NSW

Vehicles being used within a radius of 80 kilometres from their usual depot are not required to have monitors, unless they carry bulk dangerous goods.

This includes:

  • vehicles being driven for the purpose of original registration
  • vehicles being driven for sale, provided no goods are carried in bulk quantity
  • NSW primary producers vehicles, provided evidence of the primary producer’s concession registration is carried in the vehicle
  • vehicles being driven under the direction of police or an authorised officer
  • coaches used exclusively as route service buses on routes of less than 40 kilometres
  • coaches used only as school buses
  • vehicles registered federally, or in other states or territories.

Requirements for vehicles with monitors

Before you start the journey:

  • make sure the monitor is working properly
  • record the time, date and place where the journey starts
  • record the registration number of the vehicle (unless automatically recorded).

During the journey, record:

  • the times the vehicle was driven and when it was stationary (unless automatically recorded by the monitor)
  • the name of each driver and times that each driver was in charge of the vehicle.

At the end of the journey, record:

  • the date, time and place where the journey finished.

You may use the duplicate pages of the driver’s work diary to record this information. If your monitoring device produces charts, attach the duplicate page to the chart. Alternatively, you can record the information on the back of the chart.

If your monitor breaks down during a trip, you must record, either on a chart or on a separate report the:

  • time
  • date
  • place
  • type of breakdown.

You must continue to record the items referred to in this section and the distance travelled.
If you own a vehicle, you must ensure that:

  • your vehicle monitor is working correctly, is properly calibrated and its seals are intact
  • your vehicle specifications are not altered in any way that could affect calibration of the device
  • your device is recalibrated immediately when the vehicle specifications are altered or at least every six years
  • your drivers are instructed properly in the use of the device
  • you recover trip records from your vehicle and store them in continuous date order for at least six months
  • you make your records available at the request of an authorised officer
  • you check the records for each trip and for each driver to ensure that driving hours and speed limits have been observed
  • your drivers continue to keep manual records for each journey if the monitor breaks down.

Police checks and Transport for NSW inspections

The police can check that your vehicle monitor is fitted and working properly. If you are ever involved in a serious crash, or if there is suspicion of serious offences, police may need your monitor and data.

Transport for NSW inspectors make checks of monitor records by visiting vehicle depots or by using records mailed to Transport from vehicle operators.

Company audits are conducted by Transport inspectors. They may check monitor records by visiting vehicle depots or by using records mailed to Transport from vehicle operators.

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