Roadworthiness Testing for Fast Tractors – 20th May 2018

As a result of Government Consultation driven by an EU Directive the Government has decided to introduce testing for fast tractors used for commercial haulage only. Testing will apply only to vehicles capable of more than 40km/h (approximately 25mph). This is in line with limits contained in the EU Directive on roadworthiness testing (2014/45/EU) and means that they are not imposing additional requirements on vehicle operators, compared with those in the rest of the EU. The consultation responses did not present evidence that tractors incapable of travelling above 40km/h were routinely involved in commercial haulage.

The consultation proposed that testing apply only to vehicles used further than 15 miles from their base of operation. This is because they wished to apply testing only to those vehicles used principally for commercial haulage, with the greater risk to road safety that this implies.

It was proposed that tractors used solely for agriculture, horticulture and forestry will be exempted from the requirement for testing. Tractors used for these purposes are used on the road much less than other types of vehicles, including tractors being used for commercial haulage. Some respondents preferred applying testing to all such vehicles.

The Government has decided that these fast tractors should be tested after four years, and every two years thereafter. This is in keeping with the minimum requirements of the EU Directive, reduces the financial burden on vehicle operators and ensures British tractor users do not face stricter regulations than tractor owners elsewhere in the EU. However, the regulations will, as per standard practice, be subject to post-implementation review after five years. The appropriateness of this specific aspect of the measure will be considered at that point.

There was broad agreement with the proposal for fast tractor testing to be conducted by DVSA personnel at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs), as part of the goods vehicle testing regime. The low numbers that may need testing will mean that agricultural machinery dealers may not find it viable to invest in testing equipment.