Blog: Are you driving your big kit legally?

_39139Our transport adviser, Thomas Price, looks at the driving licence entitlements you need to drive different types of agricultural vehicles on the road.

He writes:

Most people know that in order to drive a tractor on the road a driver needs a category F driving licence. There are two ways to get a category F licence:

  • The F category is automatically acquired when a car driving test is passed - it is an entitlement that that is linked to the car category B. With a category B licence a driver gets the entitlement to drive a car and also gets the entitlement to drive a tractor.
  • Take a stand-alone tractor test. If the test is passed the applicant is issued with a category F licence. This allows the holder to drive agricultural tractors and trailers only. It will not cover any other type of vehicle.

What about other agricultural machines such as telehandlers and sprayers?

A category B licence also allows the holder to drive on road other vehicles which are registered as agricultural machines. This includes vehicles such as sprayers and telehandlers. There are however age restrictions on the maximum vehicle weights that can be driven by younger drivers.


Min age

Agricultural vehicles up to 3.5 tonne


Agricultural vehicles 3.5 tonne to 7.5 tonne


Agricultural vehicles over 7.5 tonne


Tracked vehicles steered by their tracks are in a separate H category. There is no automatic entitlement to drive vehicles in category H linked to the B category. In order to get the driving licence to drive tacked vehicles steered by their tracks a driver must take an additional H category driving test.

This requirement is sometimes missed by drivers. If you have a category H vehicle which is steered by its tracks check your licence. If you do not have a category H entitlement then you should make arrangements to take the test as soon as possible.

  • Posted by: Tim HallPosted on: 02/01/2020 15:43:09

    Comment: I have under 21 year olds driving 14 tonne trailers with a full train weight of nearly 31 tonnes. Can you clarify that Agricultural Vehicles include tractors and trailers please? I believe they are a separate classification.
  • Posted by: NFU web teamPosted on: 08/01/2020 09:13:21

    Comment: Hi Tim
    We've checked this with our specialist advice team and this is their advice:

    Agricultural tractors & trailers and "other agricultural vehicles" are dealt with separately from a driver licence point of view.

    Agricultural tractors and trailers are driven under driver licence Category f. Any driver over the age of 17 years with Category f on their licence ( which can be obtained separately by passing a tractor test or acquired automatically by passing the standard driving test) can drive a tractor and trailer combination up to the statutory 31 tonne limit.

    Other agricultural vehicles such as combines, telehandlers, sprayers etc can only be driven on Category B which means that the person must have passed the normal driving test ( these vehicles CANNOT be driven on Category f). Driving these vehicles is also subject to AGE TO WEIGHT RATIOS and full details of these can be found on page 10 of NFU Business Guide 131 "Driver Licensing"

    Hope this answers your query. If you have any other questions please contact the team in CallFirst on 0370 845 8458 and have your membership number to hand.

    Many thanks

    Vicki (NFU web editor)

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