Tractor driven by 12-year-old stopped by police

Tractor on road at night

The tractor pulled over by police © Gardai Police

A 12-year-old boy was discovered driving a tractor around a rural road in Ireland in the early hours of the morning.

Officers from the Meath Roads Policing unit stopped the John Deere tractor at 12.30am on Sunday (1 December) on the Jonathan Swift Road, in Trim, County Meath.

A 15-year-old and an eight-year-old boy were also found in the tractor cab.

See also: Tractors on the road: Rights, wrongs, rules and regulations

They were taken to Trim Garda Station and their parents were contacted. The tractor was seized and the incident is under investigation.

The incident was shared on Meath Crime Prevention’s Facebook page, where it has received more than 600 comments and 245 shares.

Young tractor drivers in the UK

  • While young farmers are able to drive on the road as soon as they pass their tractor test at age 16, they can only drive a tractor less than 2.45m wide and tow trailers less than 2.45m wide with two wheels, or four wheels close-coupled, until they reach the age of 17.
  • The tractor test also only enables younger drivers to drive a tractor on the road – they are not able to drive a telehandler or move the combine harvester, as these will exceed the 3.5t weight limit for 17- to 18-year-olds and the 7.5t limit for 18- to 21-year-olds. 
  • In practical terms, this means to drive a combine harvester or telehandler on the road, people need to be at least 21.

‘Wait until old enough’

A police spokesperson said: “Oh Dear! A John Deere driven by a 12-year-old… Members from Unit C Meath Roads Policing Unit stopped this John Deere tractor at 12.30am (1 December) in Trim town.

“They found three boys in the cab. A 12-year-old was driving the vehicle, accompanied by a 15-year-old and an eight-year old.”

The spokesperson added: “We know young farmers love driving tractors, but they have to wait until old enough to be properly licensed.”

In Ireland, to drive a tractor on a public road you must be aged 16 or over and own a category W licence (work vehicles or land tractor with or without a trailer).