The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has stated that it is ‘unlikely’ that it will be recommending mandatory testing for agricultural vehicles.

Speculation was rife last autumn that the RSA was considering the introduction of NCT-style testing for agricultural tractors and agricultural machinery.

This would have potentially been a follow-on from the EU legislation that required fast tractors used in commercial activities to undergo a roadworthiness test, similar to an NCT for cars. This was introduced in May 2018 and is legally binding.

However, in a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal this week, the RSA said: “The RSA is completing its analysis under Action 81 of the Road Safety Strategy and will be bringing the results of this work to the Road Safety Transformation Board.

Periodic Test Inspections

“At present, it is unlikely that the RSA will be recommending mandatory Periodic Test Inspections (PTI) for agricultural vehicles. It is likely that we will be recommending the use of our existing voluntary PTI service for fast tractors which is available via our CVRT test network.”

From our understanding, this means that fast tractors which are currently not doing commercial work – and don’t legally need to be tested – are recommended by the RSA to be tested, but this is not mandatory. The Periodic Test Inspections (PTI) referred to in the statement is European Directive jargon, and is essentially what we’d refer to as a DOE/NCT tests here in Ireland.

EU Directive

The EU Directive 2014/45 on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and trailers states that wheeled tractors of category T5b (‘b’ wheeled tractors), the use of which mainly takes place on public roads with a maximum design speed exceeding 40 km/h, require to be tested.

The directive says member states may exclude vehicles used for agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery purposes only on the territory of the member state concerned and mainly on the terrain where such activity takes place, including agricultural roads, forestry roads or agricultural fields. This means Ireland is currently in line with EU Directives on all tractor testing fronts.