Telehandlers are versatile and incredibly useful when it comes to agricultural work, but appropriate training and a high level of care is always necessary when operating in order to ensure those using the vehicles stay as safe as possible.

It is a commonly believed myth that no training is necessary in order to use a telehandler. You do need a good level of training, and you need to understand how to keep the machine in excellent condition. In fact, it is a legal requirement that anyone operating one of these machines has been trained to do so, and they must hold a certificate to prove they have had that training. What’s more, there are specific rules relating to telehandler licensing and types of use. All of these laws and guidelines should be followed in order to stay on the right side of the law.

What is Required to Legally Drive a Telehandler on Public Roads?

The telehandler you are using must be licensed and registered, and as it is classed as an agricultural vehicle you can get a tax disc at no additional cost. The only issue with registering it as an agricultural vehicle is the fact you will only be allowed to use it on the road for agricultural purposes. This won’t be an issue if you are only using it for this purpose, but it prohibits you from using it for building work or any similar non-agricultural activities.

Operating A Telehandler Legally

How Old do you have to be to Legally Drive One on a Public Road?

Generally, you need to be 16 to drive an agricultural vehicle, although if a vehicle uses a pivot steer you need to be 21.

How Fast can you Legally Drive One?

The maximum speed you can drive a one is 20 miles per hour. This is the same across most agricultural vehicles, although the speeds can vary slightly.

Can a Load be Carried on the Front when the Telehandler is Driven on the Road?

Yes but you must ensure the load does not exceed the maximum size and weight recommended by the manufacturer. The load must be properly secured and should not be dangerous to other drivers. It should also not stop you being able to see out of the vehicle properly.

How do you Drive a Telehandler at Night Safely?

The lights on the vehicle need to adhere to general road laws and it is important to remember that if you do carry a load at the front as it may obscure the lighting you are legally required to use. If this is the case you must either adjust the load or adjust the lighting. If neither of these options is possible you must wait until daylight in order to move the load legally.

What Training do I need in Order to Drive One?

You need a suitable training by qualified training providers with appropriate industry accreditation in order to operate one. This is a legal requirement.

How Old do I need to be to Operate a Telehandler on a Farm?

You can legally drive one on a farm at the age of 16 after adequate training, but it is recommended you are supervised until you reach the age of 18.

Are there Any Other Specific Legal Requirements Related to those Driving Telehandlers?

Legally, it should be maintained and kept in excellent condition to ensure it is safe. Particular attention needs to be given to areas of the vehicle that could pose particular risk to health and safety if they are not maintained properly. These areas could be but are not limited to; the brakes, wheels and mirrors.

Where possible a maintenance logbook should be kept and maintained and any work done on the vehicle should be done following the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations.

Do the Legalities Mentioned Above Apply when Renting a Telehandler?

The legalities will apply to the use of a telehandler regardless of whether or not you own it yourself or have paid to hire it. The telehandler hire company may have their own rules and regulations that they ask you to adhere to, which is something they will make clear to you before they lease the vehicle out to you.