Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Do provisional licence drivers need a qualified driver with them in a tractor?

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The practical use of L and N plates has been raised as a significant concern by farm contractors.

Speaking at a hearing of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this week, representative body Farm Contractors Ireland (FCI) said the rules are adding more management as, in some cases, if trailers are changed between tractors, there is little option in some fleets other than to paste an L and N plate on every machine.

Provisional licence

FCI’s Michael Moroney said there is also an issue with regard to drivers with a provisional Learner Permit (work vehicles) driving licences.

He said the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has informed FCI that the driver who holds a Learner Permit is required to be accompanied by a qualified driver if there is a passenger seat fitted.

However, he also said if no second seat is fitted in the tractor cab, the driver is not required to be accompanied by a qualified driver.

“We think there is a huge anomaly attached to this.

“Because most of the tractors with the additional seat are more modern, safer and are more typical of contractor fleets.

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"Do we want people to go back to ancient tractors just so they don’t have an extra seat in the cab?” he asked.


Meanwhile, FCI is looking for an extension of the hedgecutting season on public roads to allow for midyear maintenance of hedgerows for road safety reasons.

“We are witnessing significant and expensive damage to tractor’s lighting and mirror systems as well as similar damage to trucks from unmanaged hedgerows.

“Visibility is severely restricted exiting fields on many of these roads due to non-existent hedge management,” Moroney said.

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