In most circumstances, staff must have a 'D1' entitlement on their driving licence to drive a minibus. Those who passed their driving tests before 1997 will have received this entitlement automatically. However, drivers who passed their tests in or after 1997 have only received category B entitlement (cars and vehicles for up to eight passengers). Similarly, drivers who passed their car driving test outside the UK will not have D1 on their licence. Drivers without D1 can either:
- Pass a D1 (minibus) driving test which is recommended best practice for driving a minibus, or
- Use the D1 ‘exemption’ set out in guidance issued by the Department for Children, Families & Schools. This requires completion of recognised driver training (see Driver Training & Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme); however, a long list of restrictions applies to the exemption, including weight limits that exclude many minibuses. If the driver is unable to comply with the restrictions he or she will still need to pass the D1 test.
New driver licensing guidance was issued to schools by HCC Children’s Services in November 2008. It gives information to schools on the process for obtaining training to pass a D1 driving test for those who passed their normal driving test after 1 January 1997.
There has been a recent minibus accident in Hampshire where the driver should have had D1 but the police found that he did not. Because the driver was unlicensed the minibus insurance is invalid and the minibus owner will have to pay any claims out of their own funds - many thousands of pounds. Make sure that this doesn't happen to you!
For further information, contact:
Tel: 01962 846983