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Saturday 3 December 2016

Get up to speed on agri-vehicle standards

Derek Casey looks at what's involved in the new rules for agri-vehicles which take effect from January 1

Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30

Contact vehicle manufacturers or one of their authorised dealers for advice if you are unsure about your vehicle or vehicles being compliant with the revised standards
Contact vehicle manufacturers or one of their authorised dealers for advice if you are unsure about your vehicle or vehicles being compliant with the revised standards

Are you ready for the new standards for agricultural vehicles coming into effect from January 1?

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Announced last year, the revised standards apply to both new and existing vehicles such as tractors and trailers.

So why the need for change? The answer is simply because the current regulations haven't kept pace with the rate of increase in size and capability of modern machinery.

The old standards have been in place for more than half a century, during which time tractors have become bigger, faster and more powerful.

There are no changes to the driver licensing and testing arrangements for Category W (agricultural tractor and works vehicle) licence holders are being made at this time.

Nor is there any talk of the introduction of compulsory roadworthiness testing for agricultural vehicles at this time.

So what do farmers need to do to adapt to the revised rules? For most users, the answer to that question is little or nothing.

The majority of correctly maintained tractors will already comply the revised standards. If you are unsure as to whether your vehicle or vehicles comply with the revised standards, it is worth contacting the vehicle manufacturer or one of their authorised dealers for advice.

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If you are considering buying a new 2016 registered tractor in the New Year with a design speed of over 40km/h, it is a good idea to have your current trailer fleet inspected by a competent person.

This will prevent possible problems occurring that could make your trailer non-compliant with the revised standards as it is being towed by a tractor with a greater design speed.

Those vehicles that do not comply are likely to need only minor remedial works carried out, such as fitting a flashing beacon and/or a replacement manufacturer's plate indicating their design axle weights and maximum permitted towable masses.

Trailers already in service will also be able to continue in use.

However, due to varying construction standards some will need remedial work carried out if they are intended to be used at higher weights and at speeds of more than 40 km/h.

Tractors and trailers operating at higher speeds and weights will also be required to be appropriately plated and speed rated.

What about the punishment for non-compliance? If you don't comply with the revised standards you could receive a court summons.

If you're convicted, you could be fined (up to €2,500), be given a prison sentence, or both.

Online RSA guide

THE Road Safety Authority (RSA) have launched a  series of videos outlining the main points that farmers and contractors need to understand.

The videos are available to view on the RSA's YouTube page: www.youtube.com/RSAIreland.

The accompanying booklet 'Revised Standards for Agricultural Vehicles', on which the videos are based, is also available to download from the RSA website.

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