Is your tractor safe on the public highway?

Dorset Police is issuing a reminder to the farming community to ensure they correctly secure sharp tractor loader implements when travelling on public roads. 

In May earlier this year, officers attended a serious collision in the Furzebrook area of Wareham where a car collided with a tractor. The loading forks pierced through the windscreen and came to a halt inches from the driver who narrowly escaped life-changing injuries.

The collision occurred following an unfortunate set of circumstances where the tractor driver had lowered his forks to avoid low tree branches, and at the same time, the car driver ended up on the opposite side of the road in the path of the tractor shortly prior to the collision.

The tractor driver was unharmed in the collision and after an extensive period in hospital, the car driver has made a remarkable recovery and is in the process of returning to full-time work.

An investigation into the circumstances of the collision has now concluded and neither drivers were prosecuted. However, words of advice were given to both drivers.

Police Constable Donal Doyle, from the Alliance Roads Policing Unit, said; “When travelling on the public highway, the forks or any other front mounted handling equipment should be folded back and secured, covered or protected by an appropriate guard or removed and carried separately, such as on a trailer.

“If this advice isn’t followed, the tractor driver could be prosecuted for dangerous driving as the attachments pose a significant risk to other road users.”

Tractor drivers should aim to keep the centre of gravity of the loader as low as possible to improve stability and visibility.

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, from the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team, said; “We know that the farming community take their responsibilities very seriously when travelling on the public highway. However, with shorter days and additional farming machinery moving around on the roads at this time of year, we felt it was the right time to remind drivers of their responsibilities.”