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Agricultural Implements (Road Use)

Volume 972: debated on Monday 29 October 1979

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asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will bring in statutory provisions to ensure that agricultural implements which obscure rear lights and indicators on a carrying or towing tractor should be fitted with a full portable lighting system;(2) when he proposes to bring all agricultural tractors and trailers using public roads under the same strict regulations for lighting, braking, power and axle loads as commercial and private vehicles.

Agricultural tractors and trailers are limited to a speed of 20 mph and usually travel on rural roads over comparatively short distances. It is accordingly not thought necessary that they should satisfy all the lighting and braking requirements applying to commercial and other private vehicles of comparable weight and power. So far as lighting is concerned, such vehicles are required to have at the rear two red lights and two red reflectors; and it is an offence not to display the lights or to obscure the reflectors. Whether the requirements of the law are met by the use of portable lighting systems is a matter for the owner or user.An EEC Council directive has recently been published on the installation of lighting and light signalling devices on agricultural tractors. We shall shortly be considering what changes need to be made in the regulations, not only to meet our Community obligations, but to improve the situation in respect of lighting and signalling equipment on other agricultural vehicles that may use public roads.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give favourable consideration to giving statutory power to health and safety inspectors (agriculture) to examine tractors, trailers and other implements used on public roads in relation to the Road Traffic Act.

No. Enforcement of road traffic regulations governing the condition of agricultural vehicles on public roads is primarily a matter for the police, who are supported in appropriate cases by the Department's vehicle examiners. Health and safety inspectors already have powers to take action where the condition of vehicles or equipment used is such as to prejudice the safety of people at work.