Red alert on new road regulations
Published 23/02/2016 | 02:30
Concerns are growing that farmers will fall foul of a raft of new regulations governing machinery on public roads.
A 72-page guide published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) on new rules for tractors and the machines that they tow details how farmers face fines for not having illuminated number plates, speed limit stickers, and beacons on every tractor.
"It is a real concern that people will get caught out, not out of any desire to flout the law, but simply because they didn't know," said the IFA's environment spokesman, Harold Kingston.
The new rules came into force on January 1 this year, and carry with them maximum fines of €2,500, or on-the-spot fines of €60.
The ICMSA wants the Government to subsidise the cost of complying with the new measures.
"We think that the very least the RSA could do is to subsidise the beacons through a preferred supplier," said the ICMSA's spokesman Patrick Rohan.
However, the IFA spokesman noted the new regulations were a lot better than what was originally being proposed.
"It was more important to be allowed to drive tractors on the roads at speeds of 50km per hour rather than resisting requirements to display maximum speed discs on windows.
"That's a requirement that is already standard on the Continent," said Mr Kingston.
While the Professional Agricultural Contractors' association said that it had not received any complaints from its members about the new rules, the Farm Contractors of Ireland (FCI) group said that it had advised at least five members on court appearances in recent months over the new rules.
"Most of the issues seem to be centring on whether farmers should be allowed haul stock or straw further than 50km from their farms.
"We've succeeded in getting four cases thrown out of court already," said FCI secretary, Peter Farrelly.
Some of the new rules state that trailers carrying more than 19t or travelling faster than 40kph have to be 'plated' by the manufacturer, stating its weights and dimensions.
In addition, any trailer over 10m in length must have marker lights along its side, and illuminated number plates corresponding to the vehicle that is towing at the time.
Any trailer and tractor combination measuring longer than 13m must have Long Vehicle signs on its rear.
Tractor that can travel at more than 40kph must display speed discs, and have a 'full' set of lights, including number plate lights, an amber beacon, and side lamps.
Only tractors registered before 1980, or implements being used in daylight hours only, are exempt from the revised tractor lighting requirements.