Farmers must have input into any decision made on the introduction of an NCT-style test for tractors, according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Farm Family and Social Affairs Committee chair, Alice Doyle.
This comes after the Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed it is “examining the feasibility of compulsory roadworthiness testing” for all agricultural machinery and tractors in an NCT-style test.
Since 2018, it has been mandatory for all tractors over four-years-old, capable of speeds exceeding 40km/h, and used for commercial haulage purposes to undergo a roadworthiness inspection once every two years through the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing (CVRT) process .
The RSA will make recommendations on updating the inspection to include all agricultural machinery before the end of the year.
Doyle said that while the IFA supports any motion that is going to save lives, that all stakeholders, including farmers, need an input in the decision-making.
She said that most modern tractors are well equipped with safety features and have warning signals and that farmers are already subject to a lot of regulation in terms of roadworthiness.
“Certainly if it is going to save lives then we are in favor, but it needs to be able to prove that, because I see every single day that farmers are stressed to the breaking point financially, physically and mentally,” Doyle said.
“One accident is one too many, but what we notice in relation to tractor accidents is that an awful lot of them are not necessarily related to the fact that the tractor is not roadworthy, but due to human error,” she added.
The Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) described the issue as “complex”.
The association stated that a high percentage of agricultural vehicles are never used on public roads, but that it strongly supports road safety and farm safety in general.
“We will continue to engage with all relevant authorities and other stakeholders on this important issue and would be willing to participate in this discussion if it were to occur,” the FTMTA stated.