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Agricultural or forestry tractors: EC type-approval procedure

The Community type-approval procedure * for agricultural or forestry tractors * has been adapted and has become compulsory. In the process, its scope has been extended to other categories of agricultural or forestry vehicles, trailers * and interchangeable towed machinery * .

ACT

Directive 2003/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on type-approval of agricultural or forestry tractors, their trailers and interchangeable towed machinery, together with their systems, components and separate technical units and repealing Directive 74/150/EEC [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

Directive 2003/37/EC modernises the Community approval procedure of agricultural or forestry tractors introduced by Directive 74/150/EEC. The full Community type-approval system becomes compulsory for category T1, T2 and T3 agricultural or forestry tractors from 1 July 2005 for new types of vehicles and from 1 July 2009 for all new vehicles put into service. The approval system will also apply to trailers and to interchangeable towed machinery, whether built in one or more stages.

For other vehicle categories, once all the separate Directives for a vehicle category are adopted, Member States shall apply this Directive:

  • three years after the date of entry into force of the last separate directive which must still be adopted for new types of vehicles;
  • six years after the date of entry into force of the last separate directive which must still be adopted for all vehicles entered into service.

At the request of the manufacturers, apply this Directive to new types of vehicle as from the dates of entry into force of all the related separate directives.

Scope

The vehicles covered by the EC type-approval procedure are any tractor * with a maximum design speed of not more than 40 km/h, any trailer * and any interchangeable towed machinery *, whether incomplete or completed, which is intended to be used in agriculture or forestry.

Exemptions may, however, be granted for vehicles produced in small series, end-of-series vehicles or those which take advantage of technical progress not covered by a separate directive.

The scope of the procedure is thus extended to new categories of agricultural vehicles. Initially, Directive 74/150/EEC was aimed exclusively at agricultural or forestry tractors.

Type-approval procedure

The EC type-approval procedure * guarantees permanent monitoring that vehicles conform with Community technical requirements. In the first instance, a Member State certifies that a type of vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit presented by a manufacturer conforms with the technical prescriptions imposed by Directive 2003/37/EC. It then issues an EC type-approval certificate to the manufacturer. The manufacturer then ensures that each vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit built is accompanied by a certificate of conformity, thus proving that it is manufactured in conformity with the approved vehicle type.

A multi-stage type-approval procedure * is organised for vehicles assembled in several stages. An EC type-approval certificate is then issued to each manufacturer involved in the process of manufacturing the vehicle for each specific stage.

Safeguard clauses

A Member State may find that a vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit which complies with the technical requirements of Directive 2003/37/EC, or is already accompanied by a certificate of conformity, nevertheless poses a serious risk to road safety, the environment or occupational safety. It may then refuse to grant EC type-approval or, for a maximum period of six months, refuse the registration or entry into service of such vehicles in its territory. It shall forthwith notify the other Member States and the Commission thereof, stating the reasons for its decision.

Context

Directive 2003/37/EC is based on the principle of total harmonisation. The Community type-approval procedure for agricultural or forestry tractors thus becomes compulsory and replaces the optional harmonisation in existence since 1990, under which the manufacturers of agricultural or forestry tractors could choose between obtaining full Community type-approval in accordance with the Community directives or national type-approval based on the technical prescriptions imposed by a Member State. From now on, if a vehicle is type-approved in one Member State, it may be placed on the market and registered throughout the European Union on the basis of its certificate of conformity alone.

Directive 2003/37/EC thereby harmonises the type-approval procedure for agricultural or forestry tractors with the procedures for motor vehicles and their trailers and for two- or three-wheel motor vehicles. The Community whole vehicle type-approval system has been compulsory for these vehicles since October 1998 and June 1999 respectively.

Key terms used in the act
  • EC type-approval: the procedure whereby a Member State certifies that a type of vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit satisfies the relevant technical requirements of the Directive.
  • Multi-stage EC type-approval: the procedure whereby one or more Member States certify that, depending on the state of completion, an incomplete or completed vehicle type satisfies the relevant technical requirements of this Directive.
  • Tractor: any motorised, wheeled or tracked agricultural or forestry tractor having at least two axles and a maximum design speed of not less than 6 km/h, the main function of which lies in its tractive power and which has been especially designed to pull, push, carry and actuate certain interchangeable equipment designed to perform agricultural or forestry work, or to tow agricultural or forestry trailers.
  • Trailer: any towed agricultural or forestry trailer intended mainly to carry loads and designed to be towed by a tractor for agricultural or forestry purposes.
  • Interchangeable towed machinery: any instrument used in agriculture or forestry which is designed to be towed by a tractor and changes or adds to its functions

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2003/37/EC

9.7.2003

31.12.2004

OJ L 171 of 9.7.2003

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

-

OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008
Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2003/37/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2008/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the field of vision and windscreen wipers for wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors [Official Journal L 24 of 29.1.2008].
The Directive codifies Directive 74/347/EEC regarding the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the field of vision and windscreen wipers of wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors, which is one of the separate Directives on the EC approval system. Directive 2008/2/EC stipulates that Member States may refuse the registration or prohibit the sale, entry into service or use of tractors on grounds relating to windscreen wipers, if these do not satisfy the requirements set out in this Directive. The tractor shall be equipped in such a way that the driver has an adequate field of vision, under all the usual conditions pertaining to highway use and to work undertaken in fields and forests.

Last updated: 02.12.2010
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