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Debris from field on road .

  • 17-10-2021 6:01pm
    Registered Users Posts: 27 robm360

    Looking for any advice if anyone got anywhere from this instance.

    I was driving along a country road when I witnessed a tractor exit a field 200 metres ahead. When I got to the location were the tractor exited the field there was muck and what looked like a muck pile. I couldn’t avoid it as a car was coming the opposite direction.

    What followed was a Big Bang. I had obviously hit a big rock.I pulled in as quick as I could and witnessed a stream of oil running out from the oil sump. Sump is bust.

    So I called the gardai and reported the incident as I had left oil on the road. They came out and basically said the farmer had to admit to the stone coming from his field. I asked them could they have a conversation with said farmer as I happen to know (not personally)who it is. So my question is if he doesn’t admit to it,is there anything that can be done to get the costs to fix my car?

    I took photos of the debris from were the tractor exited the field and I also have a witness who was outside their house at the time I was dragging the rock under my car.Also the guards looked at the debris on the road and the oil slick from the point of impact with the rock to were my car was now parked.




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,934 ✭✭✭ GM228

    Indeed and failure to keep it clean is an offence, but that has nothing to do with civil liability.

    The difficulty here is proving that the farmers actions are (a) negligent, and (b) responsible for the damage, yes you may be able to show the tractor dragged mud onto the road, but, how do you show it also deposited the rock which did the damage.

    That said, assuming the farmer denies being responsible for the rock, that it was already there, you could then try argue the mud hid the danger, and so the farmer was partially liable, but it could be a weak argument because the behaviour must he negligent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 robm360

    I should have added it was on a bend and as I came around i had no other choice but to run over the debris. 80 km/h limit on road, I was doing 70km/h.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,404 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    the fact you were going below the speed limit is no bad thing in and of itself, but it does not mean you were driving to the conditions. 70km/h around a bend and unable to stop for a rock big enough to do that much damage will make you look negligent. it's unclear whether you could see the pile of muck as you approached the bend or whether it only came into view as you rounded the bend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,349 ✭✭✭ Ken Mc Carthy

    Whoaaaa there....... there WASN'T an accident.....there WAS however, an incident. Let's look at things in the 'round' ...... guards say to farmer ' hey,Tommy hit a rock & damaged his engine& thinks youre liable". 1st thing the farmer will say is " jeez that road is filthy all the time/ wish council would sweep it up or something....see ye lads". 2nd thing he'll say is " nope, didn't come from me, I'm very conscientious about dirt on the road" & then,having thought about matters for a moment he'll use the " if Tommy reckoned there was dirt on the road why didn't he slow down or stop?".

    Appropriating blame/ liability in this scenario is far far from 'cut & dried'.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,049 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    True there's never an accident on the roads, it's always someones fault.

    The farmer can't say the council should clean it because the farmer has dragged it onto the road and they ARE responsible for keeping the road clean and is committing an offence by not cleaning the road. As I said it isn't 100% the farmers fault but they will get a large percentage of the money off the farmers insurance.

    "(10) (a) A person who, without lawful authority or the consent of a road authority—

    (i) defaces a public road by writing or by any other means,

    (ii) damages a public road,

    (iii) excavates a public road,

    (iv) (I) places or deposits any material or thing on a public road,

    (II) permits dung or urine from an animal owned by him or any material or thing which falls from a vehicle owned or used by him, to be left on a public road, or

    (III) does any other thing,

    such that the material, thing, dung or urine or the doing of such other thing is a hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public road or obstructs or interferes with the safe use of a public road or the maintenance of a public road,shall be guilty of an offence."

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭ maestroamado

    Did the Gardai approach the farmer... i would not be hopeful as if the farmer denies unless the witness can comfirm they seen the muck fall from the tractor there is little you can do...

    I do not agree you were at fault in any way... you were driving within the limit and the reason the accident happened is someone put an object on the road causing this incident...

    I do think the rules for tractors on the road need to be tightened up as they have these big tractors driven by children that are very dangerous on small rural roads...

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,383 ✭✭✭✭ Dempo1

    That's actually quite interesting re points 4 and onwards as all are essentially ignored every day of week and I know this from living in Rural Ireland. Obviously the summer months are the worst but there's not a day goes by were I don't see cattle being either moved to another field across a main or indeed side road, this also occurs when for example a number of local farmers may have their milking parlours a distance from were cattle are kept.

    Ploughing season particularly bad with extraordinary levels of muck and debri spread across roads around rural Ireland. Its quite simply a fact of life in rural Ireland and personally, whilst annoying, particularly right outside my cottage, I live with it and actually clean it up occasionally.

    I'm not saying it's right or wrong but whilst the law seems quite specific and clear, is it realistically enforceable when drivers also have a duty of care and attention.

    I don't know what the stats are but I'd have to imagine if Farmers nationally were brought before the courts for defacing public roads or if accident claims were brought, the courts system would collapse.

    Again, I'm not saying either side of the argument is right or wrong, the entire situation seems to me to be bizzare because on the face of it, it would appear farmers breaking the law daily albeit not deliberately.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,556 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    Simply leaving dung or urine on the road is not an offence; it's only an offence if the dung/urine creates a hazard, or an obstruction, or interferes with safe use. If it's just offensive or inconvenient or dirty, that's not an offence.

    Bear in mind that animals have been travelling along the roads more or less forever and, unless they fall foul of laws e.g. banning animals on motorways, this is a normal and permitted use. Animals leave dung and urine wherever they go. So this is a normal incidence of normal road use. You need the additional factor of hazard, obstruction or interference with safety before the offence is committed. And, since this is a criminal matter, you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the hazard, etc, was created. Usually, this will involve pointing to an actual accident or similar that occurred, and showing that it was caused by the presence of the dung/urine on the road. If there hasn't been an accident, a successful prosecution is likely to be difficult.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,934 ✭✭✭ GM228

    "You need the additional factor of hazard, obstruction or interference with safety before the offence is committed. And, since this is a criminal matter, you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the hazard, etc, was created"

    Just to nitpick, but the offence does not just concern anything done where a hazard was created, but, also things done which have the potential to create a hazard, it is not a necessary ingredient that an actual hazard was created.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,383 ✭✭✭✭ Dempo1

    I agree generally but following the wording of the act to the letter it would seem to me the mere act of allowing either an animal (cow for argument sake) soil a main or any road causes a hazard, much the same as for example oil being spilled, whilst two extremely different scenarios ultimately the same results apply, the difference being you will see an immediate attempt to warn road users of an oil spill and an attempt to clean it up. The same would technically apply if a farmer spreads muck and debri across a road having just ploughed a field etc. Again, I'm not suggesting any diliberate or intentional act, I'm just pointing out the law seems quite clear with regard to defacing public roads. Is a prosecution likely, absolutely not but I have to say from personal experience, there is a genuine disregard by farmers on the potential hazards being created on rural roads and at a minimum they should be obligated (maybe they are) to clean or clear any potentially hazardous material they've left on public roads.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,934 ✭✭✭ GM228

    "I'm just pointing out the law seems quite clear with regard to defacing public roads"

    Defacing a public road may be criminal damage in and of itself depending on the nature of the defacement, however, defacing a public road simpliciter is not an offence under the 1993 Act being discussed, it is qualified in that it must create a hazard or potential hazard.

    "The same would technically apply if a farmer spreads muck and debri across a road having just ploughed a field etc"

    Asides from the creation of a hazard or potential hazard as already discussed a farmer has a legal obligation to prevent any soil or debris from their land falling onto the public, however it is not an offence for failure to clean up unless the LA has issued a notice requiring such, most, if not all LAs issue general notices to all land owners to that effect.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,556 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    Yes, I noticed that. But then I thought, what's the difference between a hazard and a potential hazard? Aren't all hazards "potential hazards"? A hazard is a risk or possibility of loss, harm or other adverse outcome. If the risk comes to pass, you no longer have a hazard; you have actual loss, harm, etc. Potential is implicit in the concept of hazard.

    So I'm not convinced that "potential hazard" adds anything here. I struggle to think of anything that is a "potential hazard" that wouldn't also be a "hazard".

    I suppose a "potential hazard" could be a cow, who might crap on the road, which would create the actual hazard of whatever loss or harm results from cowshit on the road. 😀

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,934 ✭✭✭ GM228

    I suppose it can be hard to draw a line between the two, but I can think of mud for example, take a thin dry layer for example which generally would not be a hazard, but, if it rains it can become very slippery, or a pile of debris on the side of the roadway, it may not be a hazard as it currently sits, but, it could be unstable and ready to fall further into the roadway creating a hazard.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,049 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    Muck and animal poo are a hazard to 2 wheelers and no matter how slow you go there's a risk of crashing if there's crap on the road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,383 ✭✭✭✭ Dempo1

    I do agree generally, I'm just surprised about the actual law, I wasn't actually fully aware of its wording and am actually more surprised that more enforcement not taking place, I'm honestly of the belief either farmer's not aware of their obligations or is it a case they turn a blind eye so to speak.

    I fully understand farmers have to make a living and absolutely respect their right to do so but I speak from personal experience and I'm not exaggerating when I say local to me, the roads are left in a shocking state, with absolutely no attempts made to clean up, I'm amazed actually there's not more accidents.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,556 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    Mmm. I remain to be convinced that cowshit on the roads is a factor in traffic accidents, or that it presents a significant safety issue. In terms of how it affects vehicle traffic, it's not remotely like oil, which is a hydrophobic lubricant. Cowshit is neither hydrophobic nor a lubricant. The main problem with cowshit is that it's unpleasant, but I struggle to see that as a hazard (or even a potential hazard).

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,016 ✭✭✭ XsApollo

    Cowshit It’s would be a potential hazard to a motorbike.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,404 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    i nearly came a cropper on a potato left on the road once. to be fair, i should have been paying more attention.

    on the bike, i should mention.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,863 ✭✭✭ D3V!L

    Real hazard where I live. All year round the local farmers pull half the field out with them onto the roads with the trucks. I've given up cleaning my bike because it's destroyed within days.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,418 ✭✭✭ Wildly Boaring

    The speed limit isn't a target.

    I for one would not drive straight into a lump of debris on the road.

    You must drive to the sightlines and conditions.

    If the OP drove straight into the tractor exiting the field or a stopped ambulance etc would all the "within the speed limit" merchants to as forgiving?

    There's muck everywhere on rural roads right now.

    Sowing, potato harvest and dung spreading.

    Farmers should keep the place clean after themselves. Many don't. It's a hazard I personally expect on rural roads in autumn.

    That said a rock on the road is unacceptable and the farmer's insurance should be covering your damage.

    Personally I'd not hold out much hope for the gardai investigating this.

    You're going to have to find out the farmer's details yourself. I'd then write to them for their insurance details.

    Then it's solicitor time.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,556 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    I don't think dirt on your bike is a "real hazard" of the kind contemplated by RTA 1993 s. 13. We're looking at safety issues here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ iColdFusion

    Live in the countryside too and farmers do actually get away with murder, if a construction site left that much crap on the road or had that many heavy vehicles coming onto main roads with no traffic calming/control there would be uproar, farmers seem to get away with throwing down a cone to force all traffic onto the other side of the road to give them room to emerge all the time.

    Around here part of it is pure greed too, farmers buying up random fields nowhere connected to their own farm just to expand, there should be some regulation of this that they have to present a plan to say the planning authority as to how this piece of land will be added to their farm without overly affecting the public roads, plenty of housing estates get shot down because planners say they will create too much of a traffic hazard but you see loads of tractor traffic through local villages and mayhem during silage season.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,404 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    i suspect that was an example given to highlight how much muck there is on the roads. recently, around north county dublin, i've seen roads with so much muck on them i half expect farmers to start planting spuds in them. and it genuinely is a potential hazard, especially when you've flattened pancakes of mud which get slick when wet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,863 ✭✭✭ D3V!L

    Thanks for that. There was me thinking soil, rocks, cow dung and grass were a hazard to motorcyclists. Glad to cleared that up for me 🙄

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,556 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    Mate, you're the one who brought up cleaning your bike as the issue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,744 ✭✭✭ BronsonTB

    I'd also check with the RSA, they should have a procedure when this occurs.

    Happens alot for motorbikes & whoever causes the debris usually sorts it out. (The local Co Co also get involved)

    BTB - Be sure to hit the 'Thanks' button please.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,153 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    Muck can easily be carried out on a tyre. But a rock - no. Especially not one large enough to cause the damage described. The OP goes into great detail about things but doesn't mention finding the rock. It might be just written badly but he refers to "obviously a rock" and then taking photos of "debris" which could be anything.

    In relation to thinking they were traveling at a safe speed but being unable to stop as they didn't see it until it was too late, you could try to use the same excuse for driving across a child on a bike. Bear in mind also that the OP's story is that he saw this tractor emerge from a field 200m in front of him. "Yes your honour, I saw the schoolchildren crossing over on their bikes from 200m away. But I kept motoring on and sure I didn't see the little fella at the end who had stopped because his chain slipped until after I ran across him. All good, yeah?"

    People moaning should also be aware that in many cases, the farmer owns the land on which the road was built. You do have a public right of way across it but it is part of their property. It doesn't mean they can make shite of it, but it is theirs and not yours.

    It is funny though to see people moaning about things they patently have no clue about. Especially the fella saying that a farmer should have to get permission to buy a field because tractors drive through a village.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,049 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    Rocks often get caught on vehicles with twin wheels, a lot of farm machinery and especially older trailers are twin wheeled.

    The law treats people and animals/objects differently. If I'm driving and an animal runs in front of me the owner is responsible, if I'm driving and a child runs in front of me I'm responsible.