If you’re a teacher and drive a school minibus, the rules regarding the D1 driver licence may affect you. Everything depends on the date you passed your test.
Driving licences issued before 1 January 1997
If you passed your driving test for a car before 1 January 1997, you should find the code “D1″ along the bottom of your photocard. Check your photocard now if you have it handy. If D1 is on the bottom, turn the card over. On the back are a series of columns. In the column headed “9. Cat.” is a list of the codes with silhouettes of the vehicles they apply to. D1 appears alongside the image of a minibus.
If you have a D1 code on your driving licence, you can drive a minibus with a maximum of 17 seats, including the driver’s. But any driving you do in a minibus must not be commercial. If you’re a teacher who drives the school minibus, your licence covers you.
Driving licences issued after 1 January 1997
If you’re a teacher with a licence issued after 1 January 1997, don’t assume you can drive your school minibus.
Strictly speaking, with such a licence you can get behind the wheel of a minibus if you meet the following conditions:
- You’re aged 21 years or older
- You’ve had a full driving licence for at least two years
- The gross weight of the minibus is 3.5 tonnes, or 4.25 tonnes if it has a wheelchair ramp or lift
- You do not tow a trailer behind the minibus
- You drive the minibus on a voluntary basis
Two problems arise with these conditions. Many minibuses are heavier than 3.5 or 4.25 tonnes. And the word “voluntary” is almost impossible to define in law. To avoid difficulties, the only realistic option is for you to obtain a D1 licence.
How to get a D1 Licence
Obtain copies of the D2 and D4 forms. Main post offices have these. You can also ask for the forms online from DVLA.
D2 is a provisional licence application form. D4 is a medial examination form. You must ask a GP to complete D4. Your GP may charge for this service.
Send forms D2 and D4 to DVLA. Once you have your provisional licence, you should apply for the hazard perception and theory tests. You must pay for these.
After the hazard perception and theory tests, you take the D1 practical test. This involves driving a minibus for 90 minutes. The examiner is looking for high quality driving. You should therefore consider taking minibus driving lessons to make sure you meet the standard. Once again, there’s a test fee. DVLA has the latest details of all relevant costs.