Minibus Driving Licences Explained

Passed your car test before 1997

If you passed your car driving test before January 1997 then you will most likely have minibus entitlement on your licence. This is shown on the back of the licence as category D1. You will also have a (101) code against this category, this is shown in the last column on the back of the licence. You should check your licence carefully as in some instances this is not the case.

The (101) denotes the fact that you have not passed a D1 driving test and that you are not allowed to drive a minibus for hire or reward, basically, you cannot drive for a commercial company. However, if you are driving for a non-profit making organisation such as a school or a charity and the vehicle is operated under a section 19 permit, then you can be paid for driving. Remember you can only be paid for driving if you have D or D1 entitlement on your driving licence.

Passed your car test after 1st January 1997

From the first of January 1997, the D1 category is no longer granted as an implied right. This means that if you want to have D1 added to your licence you will have to pass the D1 driving test.

However, you still may be able to drive a minibus on your car licence if you fulfil certain conditions as follows:

  • You must be over 21 years old
  • You must have held a full driving licence for at least two years
  • You are driving for a non -profit making organisation, on a voluntary basis.
  • You are driving for social purposes.
  • You are driving a minibus with a gross vehicle weight of no more than 3.5 tonnes (this weight can rise to up to 4.25 tonnes to take account of specialised lifting equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers).
  • You must conform to DVLA Group 2 medical standards.
  • You cannot be paid for driving, you may only claim out of pocket expenses.

It should be noted that the information regarding driving minibuses with no D1 entitlement is for guidance only, it is not the law and has never been tested in court. However, this information is also available on the DVLA website.

Drivers over the age of 70 years

At the age of 70, the D1 entitlement is normally withdrawn automatically, and you are not allowed to drive a minibus of any size or weight. If you wish to continue driving any minibus then you must pass a PCV medical and send the relevant form to the DVLA. This should be done in good time as usually once your minibus entitlement has been removed it will not be reinstated.

It is important to remember that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure they hold the correct licence for the vehicles they drive, and if they are not their insurance will also be invalid.

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