Agricultural vehicles and the law

There are a number of legal issues which arise when agricultural vehicles are used and this article looks at the main ones.

Driving licences

A licence is required to drive most agricultural vehicles on the road. Certain large vehicles can be driven in certain circumstances where the licence holder only holds a category B driving licence (the normal category of driving licence). The common categories for agricultural vehicles are as follows:

Tractors

A category F driving licence is required to drive an agricultural tractor.

A person must normally be at least 17 years old before they can hold a category F driving licence. A person of the age of 16 can drive a tractor less than 2.45 metres wide and can do so pulling a trailer as long as the trailer is also less than 2.45 metres wide and has 2 wheels or 4 close-coupled wheels.

Medium sized vehicles

A category C1 driving licence is required to drive a vehicle of between 3,500 kilograms and 7,500 kilograms.

Where a trailer is used under category C1 the trailer must not exceed 750 kilograms in weight. If it exceeds that weight but the total weight of the vehicle and the trailer weigh no more than 12,000 kilograms a category C1+E licence is required.

When calculating the weight of a vehicle the maximum load that the vehicle, and any trailer used, can carry is taken into account for the purpose of the calculation.

A person must normally be at least 18 years old before they can hold a category C1 driving licence and normally at least 21 years old before they can hold a category C1+E driving licence.

Large sized vehicles

A category C driving licence is required to drive a vehicle over 7,500 kilograms.

Where a trailer is used under category C the trailer must not exceed 750 kilograms in weight. If it exceeds that weight but the total weight of the vehicle and the trailer weigh no more than 12,000 kilograms a category C+E licence is required.

When calculating the weight of a vehicle the maximum load that the vehicle, and any trailer used, can carry is taken into account for the purpose of the calculation.

A person must normally be at least 21 years old before they can hold a category C or category C+E driving licence.

Mowing machines

A category K driving licence is required to drive a mowing machine or vehicle, which is controlled by a pedestrian.

A person must be at least 16 years old before they can hold a category K driving licence.

Quad bikes

A category B1 driving licence is required to drive a quad bike where the unladen weight does not exceed 550 kilograms.

A person must normally be at least 17 years old before they can hold a category B1 driving licence.

Tax

Vehicles used solely for the purpose of agriculture are exempt from vehicle tax, although a valid tax disc, which is free to obtain, must still be displayed.

“Historic vehicles” (i.e. those constructed before 1 January 1973) are exempt from vehicle tax. Again a valid tax disc must be displayed.

Mowing machines do need to be taxed, under the mowing machine tax class.

Quad bikes

Quad bikes are required to be registered with DVLA before they can be used on public roads.

They can only be used for short distances on public roads and must have a number plate, be fitted with lamps and reflectors if they are to be used on public roads before sunrise or after sunset. They should also be fitted with indicators and a hazard warning light if they are capable of travelling above 15 miles per hour. If they are capable of travelling above 20 miles per hour a horn and a speedometer should also be fitted.

Unlock this article now!

 

For more information on:

  • Red diesel