Check your licence now – Connaughton

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Paul Connaughton, Fine Gael Deputy for Galway East this week said he was unhappy with the proposal to force some farmers to undergo a special test to enable them to use a car trailer for their everyday use and urged all farmers to check their driving licences in relation to whether or not they are currently permitted to tow trailers.

‘The Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar T.D. is about to introduce regulations which it is expected will only exempt farmers who can prove that they held an entitlement to tow a car trailer prior to 1989 from taking the test.’

Deputy Connaughton said that he has been contacted by several farmers in recent weeks who are very anxious and upset about the impending legislation. ‘As one farmer put it, “I am in my mid-fifties, I have been driving accident free for 35 years, I use my car trailer almost on a daily basis, bringing cattle and sheep to and from marts and a hundred different other small jobs.  I cannot understand why my current driving licence and my proven driving track record are not sufficient”.’

Deputy Connaughton said most farmers have the ability and the confidence to do any reasonable test but when people move up the age ladder, even a simple test can cause needless frustration and anxiety. ‘All farmers should take a look at their current driving licence to double check what their licence actually covers.  It has been agreed with the Road Safety Authority, that the licence category to tow trailers exceeding 750 kgs will be added to the licence of those drivers that can provide proof that they held this entitlement prior to 1989, without the need to undergo a test.

‘Proof in relation to this can be obtained from the local Motor Tax Office, where licence records are retained. Where proof is not available from this source, the Road Safety Authority is prepared to accept a sworn affidavit from the licence holder indicating that he or she held a licence for towing trailers prior to 1989. However, the offer to add the trailer category will only be available for a limited period to be decided by the RSA and that’s why I am advising farmers to check their licences and make sure that they are in order before the time to make these changes expires.

‘Many farmers are currently towing trailers in the mistaken belief that they are covered by their licence to do so, which may also have repercussions on their insurance status and I would urge farmers to check that their licence is in order, and if necessary, to avail of the current opportunity to have the trailer option added to their licence, if it was in place prior to 1989.’