It is so easy to take on an extra pair of hands for driving farm machinery at seasonally busy times, especially during harvest, but beware. The temptation is to use the available and keen youngsters on school/college holidays. However, there are many restrictions to what they can legally drive and operate. Just a few to bear in mind are mentioned here.
Children under 13 are NOT permitted to drive or ride on any kind of agricultural machinery i.e. tractors, ATVs and telescopic handlers.
Children aged 13 – 16 CAN drive tractors and simple trailers off road provided they have attended a training course, can reach the control, have the strength required and must be supervised. The terrain should not be rough or heavily sloping and water of any kind must be avoided i.e. ponds, rivers and deep ditches. This age group CANNOT drive tractors on the road at all.
Children aged 13- 16 CANNOT drive telescopic handlers on or off the road.
Children aged 13-16 CAN drive ATVs in an off road situation but with great caution, training and supervision. The ATV should be of an appropriate size and power
Children aged 16 CAN drive certain tractors on a road provided they have a Category F licence.
Children aged 16 CAN drive telescopic handlers on the farm, but NOT on the road, however training is ESSENTIAL.
Children aged 16 CAN ride ATVs off road and once again, they must attend good training courses to keep them safe and aware. The ATV should be of an appropriate size and power
At age 17 there is more scope for driving on the land and road:
With a category B+E Licence, a car or 4×4 + trailer can be taken on the road. In addition to the DVLA Licence, the young driver must have 4×4 off road training to give them the skills required for driving these vehicles in the workplace.
The HSE offer good guidance on their website http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg472.htm