Tractor driving for young people – what you need to know

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People often believe that farm children understand farm risks, but most children who are injured or die in agricultural incidents are family members.

With school holidays approaching, many children will be helping out with the day-to-day activities on the farm, which inevitably involves agricultural vehicle work. It is therefore vital that farming families are aware of the rules and legislation regarding vehicle licensing for young teenagers.

By law, children between 13 and 15 years old wishing to drive a tractor for agricultural purposes on private land in Northern Ireland must successfully complete a Lantra Awards certified course. This is enforced by the Agriculture (Safety of Children and Young Person’s) Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2006 and Approved Code of Practice (ACoP), both of which address risks to young people from agricultural activities. In particular, they address the risks arising from agricultural machinery and hazards found in and around the farmyard.

Nobody under the age of 16 years is permitted to drive a vehicle on the road. However, between the ages of 13 and 16, a young person can legally drive a tractor during agricultural, horticultural or forestry field operations. Tractors must be fitted with an enclosed, approved safety cab.

Lantra offers the Lantra Awards Tractor Driving for 13-15 Year Olds – a training course taught by experienced instructors, who will guide the learner through the training and assessment process. Course sessions include health and safety legislation, controls, pre-start checks, operation of the tractor, manoeuvring, mounted implements and trailed machines.

To find a Lantra provider offering this training, visit www.lantra.co.uk/CourseFinder, or contact the Northern Ireland office on ni@lantra.co.uk or 07867 908 171.