Page 22 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Minibus licencing and you as legal and as safe
There is a lot of confusion surrounding licencing requirements for school staff who drive a minibus so, in an attempt to simplify the issue and ensure all schools are as safe and legal as possible Castle Minibus, specialist suppliers of minibuses and driver training to the education sector, have launched the Greater Than 8 campaign to educate schools, end confusion and ultimately change the law so that any driver of 8+ passengers must have taken the full D1 test that includes a medical.
Chris Maynard, MD of Castle Minibus explains the legalities, exceptions and legal loop holes that frighteningly mean some schools are unwittingly compromising on safety...
We have clients in the education sector
who have been struggling with con icting advice from minibus suppliers, panel van converters and the different requirements across local authorities. Because the exceptions to the licensing requirements are open to ‘interpretation’ schools are unwittingly exposing themselves to risk.
Without doubt the safest option for minibus drivers regardless of the type of organisation, is that they are a fully trained D1 licence holder whose practical skills are assessed at least every three years. (Those employed to be drivers
also need a CPC, certi cate of professional competence). The minibus should also be a factory built minibus and not a lightweight converted panel van. Any alternative combination of vehicle and licencing presents not only legal risks where licencing is
concerned but physical risks on the road, and I will explain how the ‘law’ currently allows it.
A quick history of the D1 licence
23 years ago, there was a terrible accident involving a minibus on the M40, resulting
in 12 children and their teacher sadly losing their lives. This led to the change in driving licensing law, so that from the 1st January 1997 everyone who passed their driving test after this date would need the full D1 licence to drive a minibus with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes.
This was a European wide change in the
law, however the UK made an exception for volunteer drivers fearing it would be too costly for the voluntary sector. So, volunteer drivers are not required to have a D1 licence. This is where it starts to get complicated and the loop holes appear.
22 Independent Schools Magazine
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