Details of ‘fast’ tractor road-worthiness tests in the UK revealed

Proposed details of road-worthiness tests for ‘fast’ tractors set to be introduced in the UK in May of next year have been revealed by the Department for Transport.

The UK government has decided to introduce testing for ‘fast’ tractors used for commercial haulage only. Testing will apply only to vehicles capable of more than 40kph.

This measure would be in line with limits contained in the EU directive on road-worthiness testing and means that the UK government would not be imposing additional requirements on vehicle operators, compared with those in the rest of the EU.

It has also been proposed that testing would only apply to tractors used further than 15 miles (24km) from their base of operation.

This threshold was reportedly proposed as the government only wishes to apply testing to tractors used principally for commercial haulage, with the greater risk to road safety that this implies.

“We do not wish to impose new requirements on tractors being used for limited or incidental road haulage,” the Department for Transport said in its report.

In enforcement cases relating to the threshold, the burden of proof will be on the vehicle operator to demonstrate that they qualify for the distance-based exemption, the department added.

It is also proposed that relevant tractors will need to be tested four years after they are first registered. These tractors will then have to be tested every two years after the first initial test.

Under the same EU directive, tractor roadworthiness tests for ‘fast’ tractors capable of speeds in excess of 40kph could also be introduced in the Republic of Ireland in 2018.

Further details of proposed future road-worthiness tests here in Ireland are as yet quite vague.

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland (RSA) confirmed to AgriLand that the test will cover basic road safety items such as braking, lighting, steering and suspension systems, towing devices and tyres.

Farmers and agricultural contractors alike are anxiously awaiting further announcements from the RSA and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the matter.