Are ‘excessive’ tolls unfairly keeping farmers and locals off our motorway network?

Commercial jeeps and vans should not be deterred from using the motorway network due to unfair tolls.

That’s the message from ICSA (Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association) President Patrick Kent. “Hard-working farmers and small business owners using commercial vehicles are being hammered with excessive tolls, paying almost 80% more than what private car owners pay for using the same piece of road.”

“We do not want to see a situation whereby we have more and more people opting out of using the motorway system due to the cost,” he added. “The nature of farming and small business enterprises means that deliveries and trips to the mart, suppliers and so on must be undertaken on a frequent basis – so the cost of tolls can really add up.

“With the system as it is, we are essentially penalising hard-working people trying to make a living. It is simply another cost that they cannot carry.”

“From a road safety point of view, motorways have proven to be the safest roads on the network. Pushing larger vehicles back onto secondary and country roads is in nobody’s best interest. A fairer system would encourage all road users to use the motorway system, rather than just see it as yet another costly rip-off.

It is for these reasons that the ICSA is calling for the same toll rate for commercial jeeps and vans as applies to cars.

Meanwhile, in other driving-related news, the RSA (Road Safety Authority) has recently urged drivers to ensure they have the correct licence for the trailers they are towing.

This followed a number of cases where drivers of 4X4 vehicles had been pulled over by Gardai for pulling trailers without the correct licence.

“If you have a category B driving licence to drive a vehicle – a car or jeep – you can tow a small trailer. If you want to tow a larger trailer, you must have category BE on your licence,” an RSA spokesperson said.

“On a category B licence, you can tow a trailer with an MAM – maximum authorised mass – of not greater than 750kg, and/or if the MAM of the trailer exceeds 750kg, the total combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer must not exceed 3,500kg.

As a general rule, your category B licence will not allow you to tow a horse box or a livestock trailer for bringing animals to the local mart.