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Contractors focus on the safe use of agricultural vehicles

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) is launching a new ‘Agri-Drive Safe’ campaign for 2017 to focus on the safe use of agricultural contractor’s vehicles.

What is Agri-Drive?

Agri-Drive will kick off in January 2017 with four transport workshops, aimed at ensuring that contractors are fully aware of their legal responsibilities on roads. There will be the opportunity to listen to Dan Cox, who is the UK’s agricultural transport expert in the police force. Also hear updates on transport legislation and the chance to ask questions of our expert panel. Members and non-members will be able to hear what the police are expecting from them on the roads and find out the issues currently being addressed.

Over the year ‘Agri-Drive Safe’ will focus on improving the reputation of agricultural contractors on the road. This will be through information and events, culminating in the NAAC’s national conference at the East of England Showground on 14th December 2017.

Commenting, Martin Hays, NAAC Chairman said, ‘Contractors tend to get a bad name because we have big kit and are highly visible on the roads with our sign-written fleet. We are often working under pressure, due to the UK weather and customer demands. However, that is no excuse for unsafe driving and, as an industry, contractors must take responsibility for our own drivers and other road users.’

It can be very frustrating for local traffic as agricultural tractors and trailers are legally limited to travel at a top speed of 20-25mph depending on the tractor’s width. Likewise vehicles such as combines at a width of between 3.5-4.3m can only travel at 12mph.

There is a big differential between cars travelling at 60mph on many rural roads and tractors at less than half that speed. Inevitably, this can result in queues of traffic behind agricultural vehicles’, said Martin Hays. ‘However, safety remains paramount for everyone. Whilst it is important that agricultural drivers pull in to let traffic pass, other road users must appreciate that this can only happen when there is a safe place.

It is all about balancing risk and sharing responsibility with other road users. The Agri-Drive campaign will be helping contractors understand their legal responsibilities both on and off road. It will also help to ensure that they are running a safe and efficient fleet of machines.

In 2016, the NAAC started Agri-Drive by issuing all its members with a ‘safe driver’ cabcard. This targets driving on-road, highlighting the need to pull in and let traffic pass, be considerate to other road users and provides information on tractor weights and speeds.

Visit the NAAC website for more information.