Video-sharing website TikTok has investigated several ’dangerous’ driving videos produced by young farmers.
Recent months has seen the emergence of videos on social media featuring young farmers performing stunts while driving tractors, quad bikes and heavy machinery, with Ireland’s former Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed branding the behaviour as ‘alarmingly immature’.
Mr Creed tweeted those who feature in the clips are ‘boys tasked with adult work clearly incapable of responsibility’.
In May, Tik-Tok investigated and removed several ‘dangerous’ driving videos following reports of people behaving irresponsibly.
A Tik-Tok spokesperson said: “Keeping our community safe is our priority, and we do not allow content that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury.
“We would encourage our community to use our extensive reporting tools to let us know about any content they are concerned about."
As part of this year’s Farm Safety Week campaign, running from July 20 – 24, the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF) has reminded farmers it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, and their use contributes not just to road traffic incidents, but also to deaths and life-changing injuries.
NFU deputy president, Stuart Roberts, who has been outspoken on the issue, said: “Why do some of our colleagues feel it is acceptable to use a phone while in charge of a 200-horsepower tractor driving down the highway?
“Mobile phones distract drivers and cause accidents.
“Even without looking at the multitude of evidence on this, we all know that if you are on your phone you cannot be in full control of the vehicle or your reactions.
“It does not matter how slow you are driving or how secluded the road is, it is dangerous and it is illegal.
“No one is immune and no one is exempt.”
Mr Roberts added it is also the culture of ’everyone else accepting poor behaviour’ and encouraged farmers to call each other out.
National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) transport adviser, Mike Sumner, warned that ‘a person using their phone would be liable for manslaughter and prosecution if they were involved in a fatal incident caused by their dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention’.
HGV drivers found using their mobiles while driving face a two week ban and any new road drivers caught using their phone within their first two years will have their licences revoked.
Mr Sumner added it was the employers’ responsibility to ensure employees abide by the law.