Notice of the ending of the ‘42 tonne derogation’ for 2 axle tractor units towing 3 axle semi-trailers; (i.e. 2+3 combinations) from 1st July 2016

From 1st July 2016, the national weight limit for articulated vehicle combinations comprising of a two axle tractor unit towing a three axle semi-trailer articulated vehicle combinations (set out in Statutory Instrument No. 5 of 2003) will revert from 42 to 40 tonnes.

The derogation period permitting a 42 tonne maximum weight laden limit is no longer in effect for these vehicle combinations as and from midnight on the 30th June 2016. The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport has issued a press release to remind all road users that from the 1st of July 2016, the aforementioned combinations are subject to a 40 tonne maximum weight limit. Please click here to see the Departmental Press Release.

Ending the 42 tonne derogation - What are my options?

From 1st July 2016 a triaxle tractor unit will be required to operate at over 40 tonnes.

Currently six axle (3+3) combinations (consisting of an ‘appropriate motor vehicle’ and a triaxle semi-trailer) can operate at 44 tonnes; or 46 tonnes since 1st April 2013 subject to them satisfying additional criteria. Further information is available here.

Owners/operators currently operating at or close to the 42 tonne derogated national limit for five-axle articulated vehicle combinations (and where operation at 40 tonnes from 1st July 2016 is not an option) should consider switching to using a triaxle tractor unit. This will enable operation at gross combination weights of up to 46 tonnes.

Note that owners/operators considering retrofitting a third axle to an existing two-axle tractor unit to enable either 44 or 46 tonne operation must have the modification certified by the original vehicle manufacturer or their authorised Irish distributor in order to have the vehicle’s records on the National Vehicle & Driver File updated.

Contact details for the main HGV distributors in Ireland are available here.

Further details on the correct procedure to follow for having a vehicle re-plated or weights data on its Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) updated (following retrofitting of an additional axle) are available here.

For 44 tonne operation

For 44 tonne operation vehicles must satisfy the criteria of an ‘appropriate motor vehicle’ and have certification from the original vehicle manufacturer (or their authorised Irish distributor) in the format outlined here, i.e. the vehicle must have at least three axles, twin tyres, ABS brakes and air suspension or an equivalent suspension on each driving axle. Only then can a vehicle be plated by an NSAI appointed plating centre for operation at 44 tonnes.

For 46 tonne operation

For 46 tonne operation vehicles must (in addition to satisfying the requirements of an ‘appropriate motor vehicle’), satisfy other criteria. Further details are available here.