Light up your tractor fully or pay the penalty, farmers told

Tractors must be fitting with a flashing amber beacon
Tractors must be fitting with a flashing amber beacon
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

Farmers have been urged to ensure they are aware of the rules governing lighting on tractors.

The lack of a flashing amber beacon was highlighted in a recent case where the operator of a tractor was involved in a serious road traffic collision where a teenager lost his life.

The tractor driver was found guilty of careless driving in the case.

The tractor involved did not have a flashing amber beacon installed on the vehicle as is required by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

According to the RSA, tractors and self-propelled agricultural machines must be equipped with full lighting systems at all times - not only during lighting-up hours.

This includes side-lamps, headlamps, rear lamps, stop lamps, direction indicators and number plate lighting.

Tractors and self-propelled agricultural machinery must also be fitted with a flashing amber beacon, with some exemptions in place for vintage machinery, the RSA stresses.

If a tractor's lighting, front or back, is in any way blocked by having equipment attached to it, there must be a lighting board displaying the required lighting fitted to it, according to the RSA regulations.

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Trailers

Trailers must also be equipped with side-lamps, rear lamps, stop lamps, direction indicators and identification mark lighting.

If the combined length of the tractor and trailer exceeds 10 metres when coupled, the trailer must also be fitted with a marker lamp on the right-hand side, the RSA says.

Agricultural trailers with a design gross vehicle weight (DGVW) exceeding 3.5 tonnes must also be fitted with reflective rear markings, and those with a DGVW exceeding 3.5t and forming part of a combination exceeding 10m in overall length must also be fitted with reflective side markings.

Where the agricultural trailer is coupled and exceeds 13 metres, a rear 'Long vehicle' marking must also be fitted.

Penalties for non-compliance

A fixed charge driving offence system applies where the driver of a vehicle found committing certain offences can pay a fixed charge or fine instead of going to court.

The penalty carries a €60 fine if paid within 28 days and a €90 fine if paid within a further 28 days.

This includes the following offences:

* Using a vehicle or trailer not equipped with prescribed lamps and identification mark lighting.

* 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.

For other lighting-related offences, you could receive a summons to court, and upon conviction you could be fined up to €2,500, be given a prison sentence, or both.

Both the owner of the vehicle and whoever is driving it when the offence is recorded can be fined - unless it can be shown that the use of the vehicle is unauthorised.

See www.rsa.ie for further details.

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