© Tim Scrivener

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 contractors’ vehicles.

Kicking off in January 2017, there will be four transport workshops aimed at ensuring that contractors are fully aware of their legal responsibilities on roads.

Dan Cox, the UK’s agricultural transport expert in the police force, will be present to give updates on transport legislation, and attendees will have the chance to participate in a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts.

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.

See also: More power and new joystick for John Deere 6R tractors

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

Martin Hays, NAAC chairman, said that contractors tend to get a bad name because they use big kit and are highly visible on the roads, with sign-written fleets, and are often working under pressure as a result of 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,” he added.

Frustrating traffic

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 travel at only 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 Mr Hays.

“However, safety remains paramount for everyone and, while 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 that such a large agricultural vehicle can manoeuvre in and out of the traffic.”

The NAAC campaign will be helping contractors understand their legal responsibilities both on and off road, while helping to ensure that they are running a safe and efficient fleet of machines.

In 2016, the NAAC started the campaign by issuing all its members with a “safe driver” cab card that targets driving on road, highlighting the need to pull in and let traffic pass and be considerate to other road users. It also provides information on tractor weights and speeds.

The registration fee is £25 for NAAC members and £35 for non-members, plus VAT.

Visit the NAAC at LAMMA on stand 777 for more information on the Agri-Drive Safe Campaign.

Agri-Drive Safe Campaign Workshop Info

Date Venue Speakers
24/1/17 New Holland, Basildon, Essex 1. Dan Cox, NPCC agricultural representative, Avon & Somerset Police
2. Michelin Tyres
3. Department for Transport
4. Transport Q&A Mike Sumner, NAAC transport adviser
25/1/17 Stuart Partners, Exeter, Devon 1. Dan Cox, NPCC agricultural representative, Avon & Somerset Police
2. Bridgestone Tyres
3. NAAC
4. Transport Q&A Mike Sumner, NAAC transport adviser
31/1/17 John Deere, Ripon Farm Services, Ripon, Yorkshire 1. Dan Cox, NPCC agricultural representative, Avon & Somerset Police
2. Bridgestone Tyres
3. NAAC
4. Transport Q&A Mike Sumner, NAAC transport adviser
2/2/17 JCB, Cheadle, Staffordshire 1. Dan Cox, NPCC agricultural representative, Avon & Somerset Police
2. Trelleborg Tyres
3. Department for Transport
4. Transport Q&A Mike Sumner, NAAC transport adviser