Should Ireland introduce standalone tractor driving tests?
In the UK, people can take a standalone DSA tractor driving test to obtain a category F licence.
This category includes tractors with two or more axles built for off-road agriculture or forestry work.
According to Ben Shaw Training, to apply for your tractor licence, you will need to:
- Obtain a National Insurance number to apply for your provisional licence;
- Apply for a provisional licence from 15 years and 9 months of age;
- Book your test through DVSA once you receive your provisional licence.
Tractor driving test
According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), if you wish to practice, you will need to seek the support of a qualified driver or take lessons from an approved instructor – to facilitate practice sessions in a passenger seat.
When taking your test, you must ensure that you have access to an insured and roadworthy tractor.
You can legally drive a tractor on roads in the UK when you are sixteen, once you have passed the DVSA Tractor Driving Test.
The UK government’s website states: “You can get a provisional licence for a tractor or specialist vehicle at 16, but you cannot practise driving them on the road until you are 17.”
“The only exception is when you’re driving to or from your practical driving test.”
According to documentation from the UK government, the minimum age for gaining a category F licence is 16/17.
Furthermore, when applying for driving licences, in most cases, you are required to complete a theory test; however, this is not the case for tractor tests.
However, the spokesperson stated that you do not need a licence to drive or operate a tractor or specialist vehicle off the public road, but age limits apply.
According to a spokesperson, if you are 16, you can only drive tractors less than 2.45 metres wide and tow trailers less than 2.45 metres wide with 2 wheels or 4 wheels close-coupled (close together).
Furthermore, they state that if you are between 17 and 20, these must be small road road-rollers with metal or hard rollers.
They cannot be:
- Weigh more than 11,960kg;
- Made for carrying loads.
Lastly, if you are between 17 and 20, the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the vehicle cannot be more than 3,500kg.
The UK government defines Maximum Authorised Mass as the maximum weight of a vehicle, including the maximum load that can be carried safely while used on the road.
A category F test costs between £62- £75 – depending on if you opt to sit your test on a weekday or evening, weekend, or bank holiday.
Moreover, if you pass your category B licence, you will gain entitlement to drive agricultural tractors (category F) and mowing machines or pedestrian-controlled vehicles (category K).
NB: There is a difference in legislation between NI and GB.
In the next part of this article, we will look at passing your tractor test.
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