Is your tractor and trailer legal?
Is your tractor and trailer legal?
Farmers can avoid fines of up to €2,500 by ensuring that their tractors and trailers are legal and roadworthy.
When driving out on the public roads, it is always good to have peace of mind that you are up to date with all the regulations of tractor and trailer roadworthiness.
If you were to find yourself in an accident it would not be good to have fallen foul of new laws governing the area as this could have major implications on your insurance premiums and possibly even trouble with the Gardaí.
New Laws for Agricultural Vehicles
New standards were introduced in January 2016 for new and existing agricultural vehicles with regard to braking, lighting, visibility, weights, dimensions, coupling, planting and speed rating.
It is important for those in the farming industry to make sure they are familiar with the changes to the law on agricultural vehicles.
A full guide is available from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) - Revised standards for agricultural vehicles - and it can also be accessed on their website at www.rsa.ie.
Lighting and visibility
Under the new legislation, all tractors and self-propelled agricultural machines must be equipped with full lighting systems at all times and not just during lighting up hours.
All machinery must also be fitted with a flashing amber beacon which must be lit when the vehicle is in use in a public place, day or night.
If you are in breach of the regulations, there is fixed penalty rather than have a court appearance.
If you are charged with an offence, there is a €60 fine if paid within 28 days and a €90 fine if paid within a further 28 days.
- Using a vehicle not equipped with prescribed lamps and identification
- Mark lighting
- Using a trailer not equipped with prescribed lamps and identification
- Using a vehicle not equipped with prescribed rear projecting load lamp or
- lateral projecting load lamp
- Using a trailer not equipped with prescribed marker lamp
There are some lighting related offences in which you could receive a summons to court and if convicted you could be fined up to €2,500, be given a prison sentence, or both.
Under other circumstances, if a vehicle is taken without the owner's permission, both the owner of the vehicle and whoever is driving it are liable to be fined.
Weight, dimensions and coupling
A number of changes regarding the rules on trailer weights have also been applied with regard to tractor and trailer towing combinations.
There are no exemptions to the weight restrictions and you should consult the detailed guidelines about weight as well as coupling and permitted dimensions.
The penalties are severe if found in breach of these regulations - you could receive a summons to court. If you're convicted, you could be fined up to €2,500, receive a prison sentence, or both.
Under the new legislation, all tractor trailers must have a sticker signalling the maximum design speed that it is intended to travel.
Authorisation plates on trailers must show the manufacturer's name, vehicle identification number (VIN), maximum design speed, maximum permitted laden weight, maximum drawbar loading, vehicle length and width. A manufacturer's plate must also be fitted to a tractor.
Any tractors first registered before January 1, 2016, will not be required to have plates fitted if the tractor cannot travel at speeds over 40km/h or if it is being used to draw either tandem or a tri-axle rigid drawbar trailers with laden weights of 19t or 22.5t or less respectively.
Trailers manufactured before January 1, 2016, will not be required to have plates retrofitted unless they are rigid drawbar trailers designed to travel at speeds over 40km/h or are designed to operate at laden weights greater than 19t or 22.5t respectively.
One other important thing to bear in mind that if you are borrowing equipment which does not meet any of the new requirements you will also be guilty of an offence.