As recently as yesterday – local schools in Northern Ireland received a stern warning over potential repercussions behind driving school vehicles without the correct driving licence or category.
Many schools in the UK have their own means of transportation for school or educational events. These could include school field trips, sports days and inter school competitions. Without the correct licence category – they may be forced to cancel these types of events.
Educational authorities in Ireland had contacted and warned a number of schools that may already be transporting its students illegally. A principle from one of the schools contacted said that the changes could have “huge implications” for local and national schools.
What Licence is Needed?
To legally drive a minibus with passengers, the driver of the minibus must hold a valid D1 licence. Without it, schools and other educational bodies could find themselves in a lot of trouble.
A lot of schools have since undergone a number of D1 training courses for specific members of their staff to ensure that any law changes are not broken, allowing the educational facilities field trips and sports competitions to maintain a consistent appearance throughout the year.
Those that provide driving lessons in Norwich may be able to provide additional advanced training. However, not every driving school is able to offer such advanced driving.
There Could Be Prosecutions
The chief executive of the education authority had this to say on the pressing matter:
“If this criteria cannot be met, any journey undertaken by its staff will not be considered legal and may leave the driver and the employer facing prosecution and penalties”
As a result of this new change – many schools have to find additional funding for travel expenses until such training has been completed.
Mr Michael Allen, the principle of the Lisneal College in Londonderry had this to say:
“No-one at my school currently meets the new criteria”
This is not the only problem, and not just for schools. Many professions actually require an additional driving licence category. For example, those that provide removals and man and van London may need to take additional training due to the additional weight in their vehicles during working hours.