A two-tier common tractor driving licence which will be recognised across all EU member states has been proposed by The European Confederation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors (CEETTAR).
As it stands, there is no common EU driving licence for tractors or mobile agricultural machinery, although these machines are harmonised with EU regulations for road safety.
Many of the same machines used for work in agriculture are also used outside of the agricultural sector.
Taking France and Germany as an example, about 40% of the work done by tractors is non-agricultural work such as that for public authorities. Instead of requiring different licences to operate the same machines at different tasks, the new proposed driving licence would cover both agricultural and non-agricultural work.
CEETTAR is proposing a two-tier (T1 and T) driving licence for agricultural and forestry machinery. The T1 tier is adapted for smaller farming machinery, whereas the T tier is valid for heavier and faster agricultural and forestry vehicles and for non-road mobile machinery. For each of these tiers, there should be different speed and capacity limitations.
The EU T-driving licence aims to foster the free movement of services and employees across borders, while it is also designed to improve road safety on all EU roads.
For example, in the Netherlands, 15% of contractors work across EU borders.
There are differences in terms of ages for obtaining various types of licences in different EU countries. Age requirements throughout EU member states range from 14 to 18. In some countries these licences cover all types of activities while in others they don’t. CEETTAR’s proposal aims to harmonise such regulations to an EU standard given that the majority of agricultural machinery in the EU is of the same specification.
The main difference between the T1 and T licence is that the T1 is limited to only agricultural and forestry use with weight restrictions of up to 20t.
The T licence, which involves a ‘heavier’ practical exam, permits the use of machinery for non-agricultural use with no restrictions on weight. The proposed T licence would in fact qualify you to have a BE licence to tow a car/jeep trailer. Holders of a C licence will automatically qualify for a T licence.
CEETTAR proposes that during a transitional period of up to two years, it is permitted to acquire an EU T-driving licence through proven experience once the driver has an EU driving licence for a car.
This will lower adaption costs and avoid member states having to establish capacity for new training. It says the driver should be able to obtain the licence with two to three years of practical experience driving machines.
To lower the costs of licensing, it recommends the introduction of free licensing in educational curricula.
This remains a proposal and if given the go-ahead, could take years to be implemented.
The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is a members of CEETTAR and supports the proposal.
In conclusion, CEETTAR would like to keep the existing national driving licence (based on existing national rules) without making it compulsory to implement a new T-driving licence for national agricultural use. However, a member state will have to accept a driver with an EU driving licence, in the same way as it is today.