Can You Drive A Forklift On The Road?
Can You Drive A Forklift on The Road?
You may be wondering ‘Can you drive a forklift on the road?’ and the short answer is yes, you certainly can. However, there are common misconceptions surrounding the legalities of driving forklift trucks, especially on public roads. Many businesses believe that if they only utilise their machinery, even just for shortened periods of time, then they don’t need to adhere to the:
- A DVLA forklift truck registration
- Taxing the vehicle and insuring it for road use
- Displaying the registration plates on the forklift
In addition to registering your forklift to the DVLA, a V55/5 form is required.
So if you’re wondering do forklifts need to be registered, the simple answer is yes, they do.
What Makes a Forklift Road-Legal at A Glance?
- Evidence of the vehicle’s age/Certificate of Newness
- Certificate of Insurance
- Valid test certificate
- Type approval
- Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (for imported vehicles)
- Copy of your driving license
Failure to meet these laws could result in your company receiving a fine and committing an offence without even realising it. In this article, we will help answer any queries about forklift road use and answer the question: can you drive a forklift on public roads?
Is it Safe And Legal to Operate A Forklift on The Road Over Short Distances?
If you’re now asking about the legalities of whether a forklift is road legal, you may be wondering ‘Can you drive a forklift on the road over short distances?’.
When driving a forklift on the road for less than 1000 yards, the forklift is classed as a ‘work truck’ and therefore will only require a more standard licensing and registration. Registration and licensing of forklift trucks is governed by the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act (VERA) 1994. For licensing purposes, a forklift truck may be described as a “Works Truck” when its use complies with the following criteria:
- The weight of the forklift.
- How it is propelled.
- Whether it’s designed for use in private premises
- In connection with road works or in the immediate vicinity (less than 1000 yards) of the company site
Is it Safe And Legal to Operate A Forklift on The Road Over Long distances?
We’ve spoken about short-distance forklift use but ‘Can you drive a forklift on the road over long distances?’.
Again, the answer is yes but If your forklift is to be used on public roads for more than 1000 yards, then it no longer receives the exemptions of being a ‘work truck’. This will mean that standard licensing and registration will be necessary. If the total weight of the truck (including its load) exceeds 3500kg, then it will be classed as a Heavy Goods Vehicle. Alternatively, If it weighs under 3500kg, it will be classed as a Light Goods Vehicle.
Does it Matter if The Forklift is 3 Wheeled or 4 Wheeled?
No, it does not. Both 3-wheeled and 4-wheeled forklifts are road legal so long as the vehicle complies with the Road Vehicles Regulations, which may require you to apply certain modifications to the forklift truck. If you’re operating an electric-powered forklift then it will need to be taxed under the electric vehicle tax.
It goes without saying that with all the rules and regulations surrounding forklift road use, there are still mandatory laws that must be adhered to when operating a forklift for public road use. For example:
- Have the correct driving licence
- Meet the minimum eyesight rules
- Driving eyesight rules
- Using a phone or a sat nav when driving
- The drink drive limit
- Drug use and driving
- Seat belts
A full list of The Highway Code, road safety and vehicle rules.
In conclusion, we have learned that yes, you can drive a forklift on public roads, no matter what distance. But as explained in the article, it is vital you understand the rules and forklift truck regulations for forklift road use to eliminate any possibility of breaking the law and unwanted fines.