Forklifts cannot legally be driven on public roads without certain requirements because forklifts have large blind spots and very poor braking systems.
What Are Laws About Forklifts Driving on Public Roads?
Your forklift must be registered with the DVLA, taxed and insured. The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 states that all mechanically propelled vehicles must have the necessary registration and taxation in order to be used or stored on public roads.
Other laws you need to follow driving forklifts on public roads:
- Like any other road vehicle, your forklift will also need a license plate.
- The forklift must have appropriate lighting. This specifically includes an amber beacon that lights up when the vehicle is travelling below 25mph.
- The forklift driver must have passed their forklift operator training and have a full UK driving license. In some cases, however, there may be an age restriction on who can operate the forklift depending on its loaded weight. You will have to investigate this as this is only in specific circumstances.
- If you are operating an electric-powered forklift, then it needs to be taxed under the electric vehicle tax.
Travelling a Short Distance (Less than 1000 yards)
The requirements change slightly when you are travelling under 1000 yards on a public road. In this case, your vehicle will be classified as a “work truck” and will be exempt from the Road Vehicles Regulations. Your vehicle will still require licensing and registration, but it will be more standard licencing and registration according to the weight of the lift truck and how it is propelled.
To meet the “work truck” criteria, the forklifts should mainly be used on private premises. It should only be used on public roads for carrying goods between private premises, passing between private premises, or working in connection to road works. Of course, this only applies to distances under 1000 yards.
N.B. Even if you are travelling less than 1000 yards, you need to have a full UK driver’s license and formal training.
Travelling a Longer Distance (Over 1000 yards)
The exemptions of being a “work truck” no longer apply for distances over 1000 yards, and so your forklift will no longer be exempt from Road Vehicles Regulations. The licensing of your forklift will be dependent upon its total weight.
If the total weight of the truck (including its load) exceeds 3,500kg, it will be classified as an HGV. Otherwise, it will simply be classified as a light goods vehicle. To register your vehicle with your local DVLA, you need to fill out a V55/5 form.