Proposed tractor road-worthiness tests will ‘cover basic road safety items’

Proposed tractor road-worthiness tests will ‘cover basic road safety items’, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

A regular road-worthiness test could be introduced in 2018 for four-wheel-drive tractors, capable of reaching speeds of more than 40kph and that are being used for ‘commercial’ road haulage.

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The RSA is currently developing the potential test for what it describes as ‘fast’ tractors (i.e. typically tractors fitted with 50kph – or faster – transmissions).

The test will cover basic road safety items such as braking, lighting, steering and suspension systems, towing devices and tyres, the RSA confirmed to Agriland.

Similar items will be checked on the tractor as would be examined on a commercial vehicle, it added.

The RSA will be engaging shortly with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding the application and implementation of the Directive in Ireland.

There will be wider stakeholder engagement and consultation following on from that and prior to implementation of the new requirements, according to the RSA.

Which tractors will be affected?

The majority of tractors in the country, built from the 1990s up until the current day, would generally be capable of reaching speeds up to 40kph (but not above).

Taking this into consideration, these tractors would be exempt from the testing proposals.

However, there is a significant amount of larger, high-horsepower tractors in Ireland with ’50kph transmissions’ – typically in contractors’ fleets or owned by large tillage farmers.

A person found driving a tractor without a certificate of road-worthiness would receive five penalty points and a court could impose a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to three months imprisonment.

If introduced, the measure could come into effect on May 20, 2018.

The measure is not proposing to apply road-worthiness testing to tractors used exclusively for agricultural purposes (i.e. travelling on the road to get a field, whilst an agricultural implement is attached to the tractor), according to the Road Safety Authority.

If a tractor, capable of more than 40kph, is used for commercial haulage work (even if that work is related to agriculture) – for example where the carriage is for hire and reward or even on an own-account basis – then it would be subject to testing, it added.

The RSA has previously confirmed that agricultural contractors cutting and transporting silage from the field to a silage pit is not considered to be commercial road haulage.