Revised legislation for tractors to come into effect on January 1

New legislation around revised standards for agricultural vehicles, mainly tractors, comes into effect on January, 1, 2016.

According to the RSA, the changes have been made as the current regulations have been in place for more than half a century, during which time vehicles have become bigger, faster and more powerful.

Under the revised legislation, agricultural vehicles will be required to meet a number of standards in relation to braking, suspension systems, tyres and lighting.

A summary of these standards is as follows:

  • Braking – More powerful braking systems will be required for agricultural vehicles operating at speeds in excess of 40km/h.
  • Lighting and visibility – Agricultural vehicles will need to be equipped with appropriate lighting systems, flashing amber beacons and reflective markings.
  • Weights, dimensions and coupling – New national weight limits are being introduced which will allow unplated tractor and trailer combinations to continue at limits which are safe.
  • Plated tractor and trailer combinations will benefit from being able to operate at higher weight limits of up to 24 and 34 tonnes for tandem and tri-axle agricultural trailers, but these have to meet certain requirements.
  • Exemptions are provided for certain types of interchangeable towed equipment such as slurry tankers and manure and fertiliser spreaders.
  • Plating and speed rating – Trailers operating at weights in excess of 19t or speed ratings exceeding 40km/h will require fitting of both an authorisation plate and a speed disc.

The RSA also says that the majority of correctly maintained tractors already comply with the revised standards being introduced.

It also says that agricultural machinery that does not comply are likely to need only minor remedial works carried out, such as fitting of a flashing amber beacon.

Some trailers may need remedial work, if they are intended to be used at higher weights or speeds of more than 40km/h.

Tractors and trailers operating at higher speeds and weights will also be required to be appropriately plated and speed rated, the RSA says.

Penalties

Those who breach the new regulations may face a direct summons to court, whereby on conviction a class C fine of up to €2,500 may be imposed.

Along with facing a fine, offenders could also face a prison sentence, it says.

The RSA also says that both the fine and prison sentence can be imposed on both the person who commits the offence and the owner of the vehicle.

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