Do you have the right licence for carrying livestock?
If you are carrying livestock, you need the correct licence. It is a simple word of advice from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), yet this summer dozens of drivers have found themselves being pulled over by the Gardai for not carrying the correct paperwork.
New regulations with regards to weights of agricultural vehicles came into effect last year, and since 2013 you need a BE licence to pull a regular horsebox or trailer with a combined weight over 3,500kg, "yet we still have drivers towing boxes who are being caught with a regular B licence," said Garda Adrian Nevin during a recent farm safety talk in Co Wexford.
Together with his colleague, Garda Brendan Condon, both were on hand to discuss the new rules and regulations which have caused much confusion for drivers.
"Whatever about the legal implications of not holding a proper licence, what people forget is that in many cases, if there is an accident, and you do not hold the correct licence, chances are you will not be insured," Garda Nevin added.
Under RSA rules, a category B driving licence allows you to drive a car, van or 4X4 where the maximum weight does not exceed 3,500kg. This licence type allows you to tow a trailer weighing less than 750kg.
If the trailer - being towed by a person with a category B driving licence - weighs in excess of 750kg, the combined maximum weight of the towing vehicle, trailer and its load must not exceed 3,500kg. Meanwhile, a category BE driving licence allows you to tow a trailer where the combined maximum weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is greater than 3,500kg. A category B licence does not entitle the holder to tow a horsebox or a livestock trailer, because the combined weight would exceed 3,500kg.
In order to obtain a BE licence, you must hold a current full driving licence in the category B (car). You must first pass a driver theory test in the category BW (if not already passed to obtain a category B licence) before you can apply for a learner permit in category BE in an NDLS centre.
After passing a driving test in the car/jeep and trailer you can then apply for the category BE to be added to your full driving licence.