Govt to simplify rules for agricultural vehicles

  • Simon Bridges
Transport

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges says changes to the rules for agricultural vehicles will reduce compliance costs while still ensuring safety.

In September 2011 a review was initiated into the laws regulating the 40,000 registered agricultural vehicles in New Zealand in response to the sector’s concerns the laws do not take into account the special nature of agricultural vehicles or the demands of agricultural production.

“The Ministry of Transport received submissions on the proposals and carried out consultation workshops with industry. The Government has considered this feedback, as well as research into crashes and the approaches of overseas jurisdictions, and has agreed to progress a number of changes,” says Mr Bridges.

The changes establish a two tier system for agricultural vehicles based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements.

A new licence endorsement will allow car licence holders to drive a greater range of agricultural vehicles once they prove they have the skills to do so. Other changes will improve and simplify the rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility.

“Safety remains a key factor. The changes include a requirement that agricultural vehicles use a flashing amber beacon. This will better alert other road users to the presence of agricultural vehicles and associated hazards.

“The changes also reflect the Government’s focus on better and less regulation by improving compliance and providing greater operational flexibility for agricultural vehicle owners.

“Farmers and contractors sometimes work long and irregular hours. For instance, crops need to be harvested when they are ready and when the weather is right. The laws on the use of agricultural vehicles need to be fit for purpose and the proposed changes better reflect the needs of this very important industry.”

Introducing the changes for agricultural vehicles will require land transport rule amendments, and there will be further opportunities for industry and the public to make submissions. Further information about the planned changes is available here:
http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/land/agriculturaltransportreview/