Forklifts are great within warehouses and yards, but can you take them on the road? To summarise in short, yes you can. However, forklifts can only be driven on the road when they are compliant with all legal requirements.

Forklifts on the Road: Legal Requirements

If you plan on driving a forklift on the road then you must adhere to the following requirements: 

  • The forklift truck must be registered with the DVLA 
  • The forklift must be taxed and insured for road use 
  • Registration plates must be displayed on the forklift 

The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act (1994) declares that all motorised vehicles must be registered, taxed, insured and have a valid license plate to operate on public roads. If you are driving an electric powered forklift, you must tax it under the electric vehicle tax.  

 In order to register your forklift with the DVLA, you will need to request a V55/5 form online. This will be posted to you with an information pack outlining the documents you need to complete the form. We recommend checking with the DVLA before you fill out any paperwork as requirements may change depending on the type of your forklift.  

Other rules you need to follow when driving a forklift on public roads: 

  • The forklift must have appropriate lighting for driving on a public road, this includes an amber beacon that lights up when the vehicle is travelling below 25mph 
  • The forklift driver must have both their forklift license and full UK driving license. There may be an age restriction in some cases depending on the forklifts loaded weight, so it’s important to check these regulations before assigning a driver
  • For your forklift to conform to government legislation for public road use, you must have evidence of the age of the vehicle, vehicle type approval, and a valid test certificate
  • The operator must be wearing a seat belt 
  • All usual road rules and laws still apply when driving a forklift 

Failure to comply with these laws is an offense and could result in a hefty fine for your company.  

Further Regulations to Consider

In addition to these laws, there are different licensing rules and regulations in place depending on whether you will be using the forklift for long or short distances.  

When you are travelling short distances under 1000 yards on public roads, the forklift will be classified as a ‘work truck’ and is exempt from the Road Vehicles Regulations, only requiring a standard registration. This registration is dependent on: 

  • The weight of the truck 
  • How the forklift is fuelled 
  • Whether it’s designed for use in private premises 

The forklifts should mainly be used on private premises and only used on public roads for carrying goods or passing between private premises or working in connection to road works, as long as it is under 1000 yards. You will still need to have a forklift license and a full UK driver’s license to operate the forklift, even when travelling under 1000 yards. 

If the forklift is being used to travel over 1000 yards, it will no longer have the exemption of being a ‘work truck’ and standard licensing and registration will apply. The licensing of your forklift will depend on its total weight. If the total weight of the truck and its load exceeds 3500kg, it will be classed as an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle). If it weighs under 3500kg, it will be a Light Goods Vehicle.  

It is recommended to contact the DVLA for the regulations on the specific truck you will be using to ensure compliance with all the relevant rules.  

To conclude, forklift trucks can be driven on the road both long and short distances, but it is important to understand and ensure that your forklift truck complies with all laws and regulations. This ensures safety for the operator and all road users, as well as avoiding any hefty fines!  

Need help with your forklift needs and questions?

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