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School minibuses

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have a number of services and teams that are using and re-fuelling authority vehicles at various locations in the County whilst carrying out essential services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read our guidance on using our vehicles safely during Covid-19, which aims to maximise the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees.

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Driving a school minibus is not a task to be undertaken lightly and the safety of pupils and staff must always be the first consideration.

The following rules apply to the incidental driving of minibuses by all types of educational establishments.

Drivers who passed a category B test (normal car test) before 1 January 1997 were automatically granted category D1 (passenger carrying vehicle – Restricted to not for hire or reward) entitlement.

Since 1st January 1997, drivers no longer receive automatic category D1 entitlement when they pass a category B car test.

A driver who holds a full passenger carrying vehicle category D1 licence (hire or reward) can drive any bus with up to 16 passenger seats.

NB: We only allow those holding a D1 restricted or full licence to drive minibuses.

A Permit 19 may be issued to a non profit making body such as a school and allows a passenger carrying vehicle to be operated without conformity to certain statutory legislation, such as drivers hours and vehicle operator licensing.

We are authorised to issue a Permit 19 on behalf of the Area Traffic Commissioner. Permits are mandatory for school minibuses and must be clearly displayed in the window of any vehicle operating under its auspices.

Permits may be applied for by contacting Huw Clement (Workshop Manager) on 01554 784140.

It is the driver's personal responsibility to ensure that the minibus is in a fit condition to drive on the road and that the necessary daily safety checks have been undertaken and the details entered in the vehicle defect book.

Driver checks should include:

  • Permit 19 displayed
  • Fuel level
  • Oil level
  • Tyres in good condition and correct pressures
  • Windscreen wipers/ washers working
  • Lights/brake lights working
  • Indicators working
  • Brakes (hand and pedal) working
  • Fire extinguisher (legally required)
  • Paperwork (insurance, driving licence)
  • Seatbelts working properly
  • Fully stocked first aid kit (legally required)

Any defect found by the police if the vehicle is stopped, is the responsibility of the driver who will personally receive any fine and / or subsequent points on their licence so it is vital these checks are undertaken.

Where defects are noted they must be reported to Liam Cole, Workshop Receptionist on 01554 784138.

We will maintain Council vehicles in line with all statutory maintenance requirements. This includes periodic safety inspections, servicing, repairs and annual testing (MOT).

This provision is subject to a Service Level Agreement being in place. Any school operating a minibus without the knowledge of the Authority should communicate this to the Fleet Manager, Antonia Jones at the earliest opportunity.

The driver has the responsibility for ensuring that seatbelts are worn by all passengers.

The driver is responsible for the general behaviour of their passengers. However, drivers must not be distracted from their principle focus and therefore, where support is needed, management should ensure passenger assistants are nominated to support the driver.

Speed limits for minibuses (not towing a trailer) for A class roads (where a lower limit is not sign posted) is 50mph. On a dual-carriageway the limit is  60mph and 70mph on motorways. When towing a trailer the limit on motorways this is reduced to 60mph. It should also be noted that the outer (overtaking) lane of a three or four lane motorway must not be used when towing a trailer.

All minibuses registered after the 1st January 2005 are fitted with a speed limiter restricting the speed to 62mph.

Page updated: 11/08/2020 16:14:44