Removal of mandatory ABS for 60kph tractors welcomed by FCI

The removal of mandatory ABS for tractors with a design speed below 60kph at European level has been welcomed by the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI).

In a statement, the national association welcomed the European Commission’s decision to delete the provision aimed at obliging tractor manufacturers to plan the fitting of ABS braking systems on tractors with a speed between 40kph and 60kph.

At the beginning of June, the commission officially put an end to the 18-month struggle around the mandatory fitting of ABS on tractors, the FCI explained.

The commission published, in the official journal, the deletion of the provision in Commission Regulation 2015/68 obliging manufacturers to plan the fitting of ABS braking systems on tractors with such speed ratings.

Originally, the European Commission hoped to reduce the number of accidents on the roads involving tractors with the help of the provision in the regulation.

European stakeholder organisation CEETTAR, together with CEMA (representing manufacturers) and COPA-COGECA (flying the flag for farmers), demonstrated the lack of evidence of the positive impact of this measure – despite costs that would be passed on to them, the FCI statement added.

In practical terms, for Irish farm contractors, this decision reportedly means a saving of a minimum of €2,000 for each new tractor that they would have bought in the coming years.

For CEETTAR – and the FCI, its Irish member – this demonstrates that the voice of land-based contractors is now better understood and heard by the European institutions, the FCI claimed.

CEETTAR and the FCI will “closely monitor” such policy developments and “further improve” their respective impact on European and Irish legislation, the Irish organisation said.

FCI national chairman Richard White said: “We welcome this move, as adding ABS braking systems would add disproportionate financial costs for farm and forestry contractors – which would ultimately delay the effective use of state-of-the-art braking technology on the market.

Through the joint efforts of contractor associations across Europe under the umbrella of CEETTAR, land-based contractors were able to cooperate with others to explain why ABS systems had major deficiencies for field operational machinery.

“The FCI has worked with CEETTAR through the Mobile Machinery Committee to ensure that Irish contractors have the best available technology to ensure that their machinery operators have the most effective and safest machinery.”