If a farmer or contractor is driving a tractor transporting bales on a trailer it is their responsibility to ensure that they are compliant with the national weight and dimension limits, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said.

It is also their responsibility to ensure that they never exceed the manufacturer’s specifications and authorisation plates on such trailers will indicate the ‘maximum loads not to be exceeded in Ireland’.

Every vehicle when in use in a public place shall be such, and so maintained and used, that no danger is likely to be caused to any person, the RSA has said.

Furthermore, it confirmed that every load carried by a vehicle in a public place shall be of such a weight and size and so distributed, packed, adjusted and attached to the vehicle that, so far as can reasonably be foreseen, no danger is liable to be caused and that there is no interference with the stability of the vehicle.

Dimensional limits

Dimensional limits that apply to agricultural vehicles as of January 1, 2016:

  • Length = 12 metres (or 18.75 metres when combined – i.e. tractor and trailer or other interchangeable towed equipment).
  • Height = 4.65 metres. Trailers used to transport loads of baled agricultural produce such as hay or straw etc. are exempt from this height limitation.
  • Widths;
    -Agricultural tractors and trailers – 2.55 metres;
    -Large tractors – tractors with a laden weight exceeding 7.52 tonnes – 2.75 metres;
    -Tractors with flotation tyres or dual wheel systems – 3.5 metres; and
    -Fully mounted equipment and interchangeable towed equipment – 3.0 metres.

Load security

In the case of mechanically propelled vehicles and trailers, the RSA has said that no load carried shall exceed a reasonable weight, having regard to the engine capacity, brakes, tyres and general construction of the vehicle.

The RSA has pointed out that a load shall not be carried on a vehicle on a public road in such a manner that part of the load is liable to fall on the road, or drags on the surface of the road, so as to cause damage to the road or to be liable to cause danger.

Operators or drivers should employ a load restraint method suitable to the load being carried, it advises.