Can I Drive a 17 Seater Minibus?

If you have a standard car licence, are over 21 and have been driving for more than two years, and are not driving for reward or hire, you can drive a 17-seater minibus with a GVW of under 3.5 tonnes under a Section 19 Permit.

If you have a full D1 licence or a D1 (101) entitlement on your licence, because your licence was issued before 1st January 1997, you can drive a 17-seater minibus without having to meet the conditions below, outlined for standard car licence holders.

Under a Section 19 Permit there are some conditions drivers must meet when driving a minibus with a car licence.

  • They have held a full category B car licence for at least 2 years
  • They receive no payment or other consideration for driving other than out-of-pocket expenses
  • The vehicle has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes including specialised equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers)
  • For drivers aged 70 or over, that they don't have any medical conditions which would disqualify them from eligibility for a D1 licence
  • No trailer is being towed
  • Where the driver's licence only authorises the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission, that only a vehicle with automatic transmission is used
  • Drivers aged 70 or over who don't meet the higher medical standards are not authorised to drive small buses. They can drive small vehicles being used under a permit, provided they have renewed their car licence.

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Finding the GVW or MAM of your 17 seater minibus

The MAM is the weight of a vehicle including the maximum load (passengers, driver, luggage) that can be carried safely when it is being used on the road. This is also known as the gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight and it is what dictates whether drivers need D1 entitlement.

You can find the weight, sometimes also called the plated weight on the chassis plate or VIN plate that is usually in the door frame, under the bonnet or in a front foot well. It looks like the image below. The MAM is always the second largest weight, in this case, 4100.

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