‘Worrying trend’ of young people driving tractors participating in TikTok challenge

Broadcaster Claire Byrne has highlighted concerns raised by members of the public on her show on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning (August 25) regarding young teenagers driving tractors on public roads with little or no training or experience.

In only her second day on the programme, she also highlighted a worrying recent trend of young people participating in a TikTok challenge, whereby they film themselves performing stunts during the silage harvest while behind the wheel of a tractor.

TikTok is a social media video app for smartphones that allows users to share short videos.

Byrne also said that some farmers will say that they are “on their own” on the farm and require the help of a young person to drive a tractor on the road to help with the running of the farm.

‘Afraid to walk the roads’

After an incident involving a tractor and silage trailer overturning on a bridge near Kells, Co. Kilkenny, where the driver of the tractor was only 16 years old, Byrne said that many local residents are “now afraid to walk the roads and drive on country roads” because of “young fellas on massive tractors using their phones as they are driving”.

Darragh McCullough spoke on the show and said:

In my opinion it is an accident or a tragedy waiting to happen having teenagers driving powerful tractors on our roads without any proper training.

‘Zero-tolerance approach’

At the start of the summer both the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) called for a zero-tolerance approach to be taken with people who put themselves and others at risk in such a manner.

Also Read: Calls for zero-tolerance approach for TikTok ‘pranks’

A number of videos had emerged online at the time, depicting people being recorded in precarious situations such as on the bonnet of a working tractor, climbing up on farm machinery or in the bucket of a turning excavator. Other videos show dangerous road situations with tractors on both sides of the road.