Between 2008 and 2017, 45 people died in road traffic collisions where a tractor was involved in a single or multi-vehicle collision. However, as data relating to 2016 and 2017 is still “provisional”, the figure of 45 is itself provisional and subject to change.

The data comes from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

It should be noted that the number of fatalities doesn’t just refer to tractor drivers themselves but to any road-users involved in these collisions.

These collisions, says the RSA, are incidents that occurred on a public road and that were investigated by or brought to the notice of An Garda Síochána (where the exact location of the collision could be determined).

Moreover, the figure includes collisions where a vehicle was specified as an “agricultural tractor” in the data.

This table (below) shows, in more detail, the number of recorded fatalities in road traffic collisions where a tractor was involved – between 2008 and 2017.

* Provisional and subject to change. Source: RSA

It is not stipulated within the data which or how many collisions involved multiple vehicles. Nor, it must be stressed, is any fault apportioned in any case.

Road-going rules

Meanwhile, guidance from the RSA stipulates a maximum road-going width of 2.55m for an “agricultural tractor”.

Also Read: How wide can you go on the road…and stay within the law?

However, the allowable road-going width increases to 3.5m in the case of “self-propelled agricultural machinery”.

Image source: Shane Casey

But what happens in a scenario where agricultural vehicles are wider than 3.5m? Further guidance from the RSA stipulates that “self-propelled agricultural machinery can be wider than 3.5m so long as, when travelling on public roads, it has an escort vehicle”.

Escort vehicle

The RSA goes on to say: “The escort vehicle must drive in front, use dipped headlights and carry working flashing amber beacons and a Caution – Wide Load Following sign.

“The machinery being escorted must also carry flashing amber beacons – one of which must be visible to the rear – and display a Wide Load sign to the rear.”