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A conventional agricultural tractor towing an agricultural trailer can now travel to 40km/hour

Tuesday 17th March 2015

How fast can I drive my tractor and trailer on the road?

A conventional agricultural tractor towing an agricultural trailer can now travel to 40km/hour (approx. 25mph) on the road. This is an increase from the previous maximum permitted speed of 20mph. It should be noted that the speed limit is now in km/hour to bring it in line with other European transport law.

IMPORTANT: This increase only applies to agricultural tractors towing a trailer. Tractors pulling an ‘agricultural trailed appliance’ (eg baler, crop sprayer etc) are still currently limited to 20mph.

The maximum width of a tractor and trailer travelling to the new limit of 25mph is 2.55m.

What about larger tractors and other larger agricultural machines, such as combine harvesters?

Firstly, the speed increase only applies to agricultural tractors, not other agricultural machines.

‘Special type’ tractors over 2.55m and under 3.5m are still currently restricted to 20mph, although further changes to legislation are being considered under ‘Phase 2’ of the review. Other agricultural machines between 3.5m and 4.3m continue to be limited to a 12mph speed limit.

How does this affect higher specification tractors which have already been allowed to travel to 40mph?

Higher specification tractors, with such as the JCB Fastrac and Mercedes Unimog have the braking, suspension and other special requirements to qualify for the “fast” tractor classification with its 64km/h (40mph) speed limit.

Tractors which have previously been allowed to travel at higher speeds (under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulation 1986 (as amended) are unaffected by the recent changes to the law – provide the higher technical standards continue to be met.

What is the new combined weight limit for a tractor and trailer combination?

The maximum combination weight of a tractor and single trailer has increased from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes BUT the maximum laden weight of trailers remains unchanged at 18.29 tonnes. This includes ‘special types’ tractors.

Do I need to have my tractor and trailer tested to go to 31 tonnes or to travel to 40km/h??

No. There are no additional requirements for the increased weight and speed and there are no plans to introduce a test at this level.

However, you must still ensure your vehicle is roadworthy to stay within the law.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) apply to any machinery used at work, requiring that machinery must properly repaired and in working order. You need to perform regular maintenance checks on all machinery - including brakes, hydraulic hoses and power take-off guards. If tractors and trailers are driven on public roads, they must also comply with the Construction and Use Regulations 1986 and The Road Traffic Act and must be roadworthy.

If the combination is stopped, any defects found would leave the driver and owner liable for prosecution by road traffic law enforcement agencies or the police.

Bagma has a very useful vehicle health check scheme which can be downloaded from www.bagma.com/downloads

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