One of the most popular questions that we get asked is “can I drive a minibus with my license?”, this is not an easy question to answer as it depends on what license you have and how long you have had it. There are a number of rules and regulations in place to ensure that the roads are safe. If you need more information on these rules and regulations, then you have come to the right place.
Can I Drive A Minibus? All You Need To Know
There is a lot of information that you will need to take into account when wanting to drive a minibus. Much like taking your theory or practical test, there are a number of highway code laws and safety measures that you will have to remember to ensure that your journey is safe. To help you remain safe on the roads and understand whether you are able to drive a minibus of not, we have come up with a helpful guide with all the information that you need to know before you get behind the wheel.
When Did You Pass Your Test?
There are different rules and regulations for those that have passed their driving test at different times. The laws on driving have changed over the years, meaning that the type of vehicles that you are able to drive changes depending on when you passed your test. If you look on the back of your license, there will be a list of vehicles that your driving license allows you to drive. If you passed your test before 1st January 1997, then you would have automatically been given a category B entitlement which allows you to drive a minibus with 9 to 16 seats as long as the passengers are not paying for a service. Unfortunately, for those that passed their test after this date, you will need to comply with an array of conditions before you are allowed to hire out a minibus. These conditions include the following:
- You must be 21 years of age or older
- You have had your driving license for a minimum of 2 years
- You meet the ‘group 2’ medical standards for driving
- The vehicle is used for social purposes and not for commercial use
- The maximum weight of the minibus should not exceed 3.5 tonnes
- You are not able to tow a trailer
Please note that although you may tick all of these boxes for driving a minibus, there may be other rules and regulations abroad. Make sure that before hiring out a minibus in another country, that you do your research about their driving regulations or contact the local licensing authority in the country that you are planning to visit. If you do not have a D1 entitlement on your license, but would like to drive larger vehicles, Pure Driving offers a range of D1 courses with professional D1 training. To complete a D1 training course, you will have to make sure that you meet all of the requirements listed above.
Can I Drive A School Minibus?
There is no simple answer to the question ‘can I drive a school minibus’ as although there are limited restrictions, it is recommended for you to take an additional driving course when carrying young or disabled passengers. If you have a D1 entitlement (of which those with a driving license before 1st January 1997 will have), then you can drive a 16 passenger minibus without any weight restrictions. However, if you do not have a D1 entitlement, then you are restricted in the weight of the minibus. For this reason, if you do not have D1 entitlement, then you could be restricted when needing to drive a minibus for school transport. Don’t restrict yourself in your driving capabilities and make sure that you have a D1 entitlement with a Pure Driving D1 driver training course.
Regardless of whether you have a D1 entitlement of not, when driving a school bus, you will need to ensure that you have a Section 19 Permit. A Section 19 Permit is required for all transport for a ‘not-for-profit’ basis, which includes school minibuses. To find out more about Section 19 Permits, take a look at Castel Minibus’ blog post.
Furthermore, although it is not required, we still highly recommend taking an advanced driving course if you are going to drive any other vehicle other than one that is the same size as your day to day vehicle. An advanced driving course has an abundance of benefits that will help you to drive safely with younger passengers. Knowing how to drive safely is extremely important in any circumstance, but when you have up to 16 young passengers, of which, let’s face it, will be making a lot of noise, you will need to know how to cancel out the noise while you focus on the road.
What Are The Regulations For-Profit Minibus Driving?
If you are driving a minibus for a service that passengers pay for, for example, a taxiing service for disabled persons, then you are not allowed to drive the minibus with a license that was obtained either before or after 1st January 1997. To drive a minibus for profitable purposes, you will have to complete a PCV driver training course as it is against the law to drive a minibus larger than 3.5 tonnes and charge passengers without a PCV license.
Driving A Minibus
Driving a minibus is extremely different from driving you’re everyday car; this is because they are wider, longer and heavier, meaning that it is harder to manoeuvre. Whether you are driving a minibus for a short or long amount of time, there are many ways in which you can improve the safety of your passengers. Taking an advanced driving course and ensuring that you have D1 entitlement will help you to gain knowledge on safe driving, particularly with a larger vehicle. Another way that you can maintain a safe journey is to make sure that you plan the journey before you take off. Planning the journey can help you to identify problems that you may have to over come and allow you to figure a way to resolve this problem. Here are a few ways that you can help to keep yourself and your passengers safe by planning your journey.
Plan Your Route
Regardless of where your journey starts and finishes, you will have to pull off at junctions, go around roundabouts and possibly drive around windy and unsafe roads. Before you set off, you should always research the route that you are taking, make sure that you plan a route that is safe to drive and stick to main roads where possible. By remaining on main roads, you are less likely to come across a disturbance, get lost or encounter tight and unsafe roads. You can find out where the latest road closures are by mapping out your journey with RAC. Knowing where these closures are can help you to avoid these roads and plan an alternative route.
When you plan your journey, make sure that you also include places for rest and refreshments, particularly if you have a long journey or are travelling at busy times. Tiredness can be extremely dangerous on the roads, so it is important that you get a good night sleep and make sure that there are places along the way where you can have a 15 to 20-minute nap if necessary.
Avoiding Dangerous Times
When you plan your journey, you should make sure that you plan it down to the last minute and add time where need be. If you have a destination you need to get to within a certain time frame, then make sure that you add an extra half an hour to a full hour onto your journey just in case you get stuck in traffic. If you are someone that has never driven a minibus before then it may take you a while to get used to it. For this reason, you may want to try and avoid any rush hour periods as this can make driving a stressful experience. Time your journey during the day and arrange to have a break during rush hour so that you are driving in daylight whilst also avoiding busy periods of the day.
No matter how long or short your journey is or whether you are driving a car or minibus, you should always have emergency numbers written down or saved on your phone. When you plan on taking a trip in a minibus, you should always charge your phone the night before and consider buying a portable charger in case your phone dies. It is vital to have emergency numbers at hand as it could cause delays in your journey and danger to passengers having to wait on the side of the road. Some emergency numbers that you should always have on your phone include:
- 999, 111 or 112 for accidents and injuries
- Your car insurance provider
- Emergency break down
- Family members – if you are driving a school bus for example
- Car hire company – let them know something has happened
Driving A Minibus
Driving a minibus requires you to adjust your driving, and it is considerably different to drive a car. This is why the laws have changed on what type of vehicles you are able to drive with your standard driving license. Even if you are able to drive a minibus with your license, we would highly recommend that you take an advanced driving course or undertake a D1 training course to ensure that you are driving to rules and regulations and keeping your passengers safe.