Extendable trailer specs

DVSA to tighten enforcement of agricultural trailer traffic rules at harvest

Harvest is the season when machinery and personnel are working at full capacity, and whether bringing in grain, roots, fodder or straw, it is important not to cut corners on transporting the field to farm yard.

Recent changes to the DVSA’s enforcement approach mean that load safety should be a top priority to avoid unnecessary downtime at the roadside with a trailer being examined.

This year, agents may have a slightly different view of how agricultural (and other) loads can be rated on the road, which means bulk loads will be in the spotlight during the summer.

The legislation, Road Traffic Act 1988 40 (a) and The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, remain unchanged – as follows:

“The load transported by a motor vehicle or a trailer must be subject at all times, if necessary by a physical constraint other than its own weight, and be in a position such that no danger or nuisance is likely to be caused to any person or property by reason of the fall or explosion of the load or part thereof from the vehicle or by reason of any other movement of the load or part thereof by relation to the vehicle:

See also: 10 tips to keep your Ifor Williams trailer legal on the road

From May 1, 2022, this is enforced more robustly by enforcement authorities.

It has always been the case that anything carried on or in a road vehicle or trailer must be secured so that it does not slip, tip over or bounce on the vehicle or move inside it in such a way affect vehicle handling. .

Statistics have shown that in the 10 years since the last update of the traffic enforcement approach, several load moving incidents involving agricultural vehicles have occurred, which is one of the motivating factors for this additional clarification.

Examiners will now make a simple assessment of the safety of the load: can it move or has it moved?

If they decide it’s not secure, they’ll select the reason (or fault) that best explains the unsecured load, which is then printed on the ban so the driver doesn’t know why they have a problem.

In short, the load should not be considered dangerous or liable to be spilled on the road during transport.

This means that loads carried on agricultural vehicles and trailers must be secured in the same way as any other load when traveling on public roads.

With respect to loose loads in tippers or similar loose loads such as grass or grain, vehicle examiners have been instructed to act when a load is not properly sheeted and /or when the load is stacked in the middle of the vehicle/trailer above the height of the sides.

It is important when assessing loads that the operator considers the safety of loads in conjunction with working at height and manual handling when considering the risks of their activity.

In summary

  • On an open vehicle or trailer, the load must be prevented from moving uphill, as well as side-to-side or front-to-back. For some loads this may mean tying the load to the bed, but generally the load will need to be covered with a net or tarp.
  • If transporting crop in a bulk bin and loading above the height of the sides, the trailer must have a tarp or rigid tarpaulin that completely covers the loading surface.
  • If you are transporting bales or boxes above the height of the trailer’s headboard, additional safety devices must be used to prevent the load from moving forward.
  • The gap between the front of the load and the headboard on all trailers must be less than 30cm, unless additional securing has been used to prevent forward movement of the load.

The full detail of the ‘faults’ that will be looked for if you are pulled over can be found in the DVSA’s Vehicle Fault Categorization (PDF) (starting on page 51).


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