Finer details of ‘fast’ tractor testing emerge

Some finer details regarding the road-worthiness testing of ‘fast’ tractors have been revealed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross.

‘Fast’ tractors are defined as tractors that can reach speeds in excess of 40kph. The requirement to test these tractors stems from an EU directive which comes into play on May 20, 2018.

Following months of discussions on the matter, it has been confirmed that the minister has signed off on new regulations for the road-worthiness of commercial vehicles – including tractors.

Numerous meetings between Minister Ross, department officials and representative groups from the agriculture and forestry sectors have taken place in recent weeks in order to iron out if the regulations would impact their members’ farms and businesses.

Taking all of these concerns on board and following legal advice, Minister Ross has now signed off on new legislation, the department explained in a statement.

The principal amendments are set out as follows:
  • The introduction of compulsory road-worthiness testing for tractors with a maximum design speed exceeding 40kph which are being used for non-agricultural activities. These vehicles will be required to be tested when four years old and every second year thereafter. They will be subject to the same test fees already applicable to Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), based on their Design Gross Vehicle Weight (DGVW);
  • The establishment of an exemption for commercial vehicles used exclusively on small islands;
  • Commercial vehicles between 30 and 40 years of age (that are used solely for non-commercial purposes) will be required to undergo compulsory road-worthiness testing every second year (biennially), instead of annually. Vehicles registered prior to 1980 will be exempt from testing.

Concluding, the minister wished to thank all the stakeholders for their “positive and constructive input in ensuring a satisfactory outcome”.

Over recent weeks, it was feared that agricultural contractors may be forced to carry out testing on ‘fast’ tractors in their fleets.

Also Read: Agri contractors set to escape the need to test ‘fast’ tractors

But the department later confirmed that ‘fast’ tractors being used for agricultural activties would be exempt from testing.