Safety, Health & Environment Section
FM SHE P/G 051
PROCEDURE FOR THE SAFE
USE OF MINIBUSES
Document review due: May 2012
Please Note :This is a controlled document, please ensure you are using the most recent
version available at: FM SHE 051 Procedural for Safe Use of Minibuses.doc
1. Introduction 3
2. Definition 3
3. Driving Licences 3
4. Training 3
5. The Small Bus Permit Scheme 4
6. Insurance 4
7. University Owned Minibuses 4
8. Responsibilities of the Head of School / Service 5
9. Driver Responsibilities 5
10. Risk Assessing Travel 6
11. Procedure in the event of an accident 6
12. Minibus Security 8
13. Disability related issues 8
14. Overloading of Minibuses 9
15. Trailers 9
16. Driving Hours 10
17. Vehicle Breakdowns 10
18. Passenger Code of Conduct / Seat Belts / Mobile Phones 11
19. Driving Abroad 11
20. References 14
Appendix 1. Checklist for Minibus Roadworthiness 15
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Procedure for the Safe Use of Minibuses
Anyone who drives or operates a minibus to carry passengers has a legal duty to take all
reasonable precautions to ensure that it is operated safely. It is an offence to cause or
permit a minibus to be driven on the road when its condition, or the way in which it is driven,
could cause danger to anyone in the minibus, other road users or pedestrians.
This procedure is intended to promote the safe use of minibuses whether owned, leased or
hired by any University School, Service, etc.
For legal purposes a minibus is a vehicle constructed or adapted to carry between nine and
sixteen passengers, not including the driver.
3. Driving Licenses
To drive a minibus on University business whether University owned, leased or hired you
Be over 25 years of age for insurance purposes;
Hold a current and full driving licence;
Have at least two years driving experience on a full licence;
Should any driver have more than 2 fixed penalties or 6 points on their licence,
confirmation of cover should be sought from the University Insurers via Financial
Services (Purchasing Office);
Have submitted copies of your driving licence to your School/Service and have them
checked at least every 12 months;
Have passed your car driving test before January 1st 1997, or if you passed your test
after this date, you must normally have passed a second driving test to obtain full D1
entitlement on your licence.
Note: this latter requirement may be waived (under the small bus permit scheme) if:
The driver fulfils requirements of the first three points above;
The vehicle does not have a gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes (or 4.25 tonnes if
there are any specialised equipments for carriage of disabled passengers);
They provide the service on a voluntary basis;
The driver receives no payment or consideration for driving the vehicle other than
out-of-pocket expenses. There are no exemptions granted in respect of volunteer
drivers outside the UK.
The full PCV D1 or D licence will therefore be needed for any trips to other parts of the
Note: A member of paid staff for whom driving is an implicit part of their employment under
and included within their contract of employment is very unlikely to be considered to be
meeting this waiver.
All drivers of minibuses (whether University owned, leased or hired) must have successfully
completed the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) training. The training is
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designed to enhance minibus driving standards and promote the safer operation of
minibuses. Training is retaken by drivers after 4 years.
MiDAS training is arranged through Facilities Management Business Services. All the
necessary information and an application form for training can be found at
5. The Small Bus Permit Scheme
As an educational establishment the University is exempt from the main licensing
requirements of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act, 1981, as it now operates a Small Bus
Permit system for minibuses.
Before you use a minibus (whether owned, leased or hired) for University-associated
purposes you must ensure that a permit is displayed on its windscreen. Small bus permits
are not specific to a certain vehicle and are transferable between minibuses.
All University minibuses will already have a permit displayed but you must double check to
ensure it is in place. You must ensure you complete the FM Transport Request Form to use
University minibuses giving a clear indication of what the use is for and emergency contact
For hired minibuses you must obtain a permit from the Transport Supervisor, Mail Room,
Peel Building and place it in the windscreen. You will need to give a clear indication of where
the trip is going and emergency contact details. When you return the minibus you must
remove the permit from the windscreen and ensure it is promptly returned to Peel Building.
Note: If a driver is supplied by the minibus hire company you will be covered by their
The University has a standard Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy in place that covers University
owned minibuses and also those hired or leased for University work purposes by staff.
Details of the Policy can be obtained from Financial Services at:
Please note: The University’s motor-vehicle policy does not cover for hire or reward, you
therefore CANNOT charge passengers, including students for the cost of hiring a minibus.
7. University Owned Minibuses
The University Transport Services Manager is responsible for ensuring:
The operation of Small Bus Permits including ensuring that every minibus in use has
a permit and is displaying the corresponding disc;
Production of a written risk assessment for operation of the minibuses;
Every minibus driver possesses an appropriate driving licence, is not disqualified
from driving and that a photocopy of the licence has been filed;
Every driver has undergone MiDAS training within the past 4 years;
Each vehicles is taxed, has a current MOT and is appropriately insured;
Each vehicle has an on-board log book;
Each vehicle is covered by a roadside recovery or repair scheme;
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Each vehicle has regular safety checks and maintenance in accordance with
That any special access equipment for disabled passengers is fully operational,
maintained, drivers are trained in its use and written instructions provided.
The daily operational duties for the Transport Service are carried out by the Transport
Supervisor, based in the Mail Room, Peel Building.
8. Responsibilities of the Head of School / Service or their appointed nominee
Every minibus driver possesses an appropriate driving licence, is not disqualified
from driving and that a photocopy of the licence has been kept on file within the
If a driver holds more than 2 fixed penalties or 6 points on their licence contact the
Purchasing Office for further advice;
Every driver has undergone MiDAS training within the past 4 years;
Use of a Small Bus Permit has been applied for;
Ensuring a written risk assessment is in place for the use of the vehicle;
An approved minibus provider is used for hired vehicles via the University’s National
Car Hire Contract
Hired/leased vehicles are covered by a roadside recovery or repair scheme (e.g. AA
Drivers are fully conversant with the requirements of this procedure;
No driver exceeds the maximum permitted times for a working day and for driving
periods (see section 16);
A second driver is appointed for longer journeys where this might otherwise occur;
That hired or leased minibuses conform to the requirements described in this
That where disabled persons are to be carried that vehicles are suitable for this
purpose (see section 13.).
9. Driver Responsibilities:
Comply with licences and training requirements set out in sections 3 and 4;
Drive safely, with due care and in accordance with the Road Traffic Act, Highway
Code and MiDAS training;
Pre-planning the journey and allowing sufficient time for the proposed travel;
Ensuring they are fully conversant with the requirement of this document, University
insurance requirements and relevant legislation covering the driving of minibuses;
Not consuming any alcohol on the day of driving until after the driving has been
Not consuming excess alcohol on the evening before driving;
Not be taking any medication which could affect their fitness to drive (consult with your
GP or the Occupational Health for advice);
Use the checklist in appendix 1 to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy before any
journey, whether the vehicle is owned, leased or hired.
Report any vehicle defects to The Transport Supervisor, Mail Room, Peel Building
Reporting all accidents and incidents;
Not to use any minibus whether owned, leased or hired for private use;
Not work for more than a maximum of 12 hours or exceed a maximum of 9 hours
driving in any 24 hour period (see section 16);
Not to use a mobile phone while driving;
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Carrying out reversing manoeuvres carefully, requesting the help of a capable
passenger if necessary to guide you.
Ensuring the vehicles carrying capacity for passenger numbers and load is not
If a roof rack is used ensuring the load is secure, evenly distributed and within the
recommended weight limit for the vehicle, minibus can easily be overloaded by
carrying luggage in or on the vehicle;
Ensuring the vehicle has a spare wheel;
Ensuring all walkways are clear of trip hazards/obstructions, doors are closed, but not
locked and the emergency exit doors are not obstructed;
Ensuring that no hazardous materials or flammable liquids are being carried;
Ensuring no-one aboard smokes;
Leaving the vehicle interior in a clean condition;
Request passengers to wear the provided seat belts (see section 18);
Ensuring that there is sufficient fuel left to allow the next user to begin the next
journey and re-fuel;
Completing the vehicle log book (university owned or leased);
Returning the vehicle to the designated place, in good order and at the time stated on
the booking form.
Note: Although a hired minibus should have undergone a safety inspection by the hire
company before collection, the driver is still legally responsible for ensuring that it is in a
roadworthy condition. If the driver has concerns about vehicle safety it should NOT be used.
10. Risk Assessing Travel
All UK and overseas work related travel and its associated work activity must be risk
assessed in advance of travel commencing and approved by the relevant line manager.
Further guidance can be found in FM SHE 009 Procedural Guidance for the Management of
Health & Safety on Field Trips, Fieldwork & Educational Visits and FM SHE 013 Procedural
Guidance for the Management of Health & Safety for Overseas & UK Travel and available on
the SHE Section website at:
11. Procedure in the Event of an Accident
If you are involved in a road traffic accident where injury or damage is caused, to comply with
the law and to help later when completing an insurance claim form drivers must comply with
Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period, unless injured and requiring medical
Give your vehicle registration number, name and address and the name of the University
as the vehicle owner to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details;
If injury has been caused to another person, arrange to produce your certificate of
insurance to a Police Officer or any other person who has reasonable grounds to require
you to do so;
Notify the Mailroom, Facilities Management as soon as possible if it is a University
If, for any reason, you do not comply with these requirements you must report the accident at
a Police Station or to a Police Officer as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case
within 24 hours (to telephone is not sufficient). If injury has been caused to another person
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and you did not produce your certificate of insurance at the time or when reporting the
accident, you may present the certificate within 7 days of the accident at the Police Station
nominated by you when you reported the incident.
You should also comply with the above even though you may not have been directly involved
in any collision itself, but where there is an allegation or possibility that your vehicle’s
presence on the road was a factor.
Also, regardless of whether there was personal injury involved or not, if some other person
holds you responsible for the accident they have a right to request your insurance details.
Failure to provide that information without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence. This
request may be made at a later stage, it does not necessarily have to be made at the time of
Note: Under no circumstances admit liability to the accident. This is a matter for the insurers
to decide and may need to be determined in a court of law.
Essential details to record
Note down the following details on the form provided at the rear of the procedure, which will
help you complete the Accident Report Form for the University’s insurers:
The name and address of the other driver and those of the vehicle owner, if different;
The name and address of each witness (independent witnesses are particularly important,
i.e. persons not present inside the vehicle or involved in the accident itself);
A description of any injuries to yourself or others;
The damage to the vehicle(s) or other property involved;
The name and address of the other driver’s insurance company and if produced, the
The registration number, make, model and colour of the other vehicle;
The number of any Police Officer at the scene;
The date, time and exact location of the accident;
The speed of any vehicles involved;
The width of the road, road markings, signs, state of the road surface and weather
Any marks/debris on the road relevant to the accident;
A rough sketch showing vehicle positions before and after the accident;
Use the disposable camera provided to take a picture of the scene and vehicle damage;
If the accident happened in poor light or visibility, state if street lights or vehicle lights were
Were the other driver and passengers wearing seat belts?
If the other driver refuses to give their name and address, or if you consider they may have
committed a criminal offence (suspicious manner, suspect stolen vehicle, alcohol smell on
breath, etc), inform the Police immediately.
All accidents, incidents and near-misses must be reported on the University’ HS3/4 standard
accident reporting form, available on the SHE Section website at:
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12. Minibus Security
If a University owned minibus is broken into or stolen, you must report the circumstances to
the Police and to Facilities Management immediately - The Mailroom on 01772 892075 or
out of office hours, Security 01772 892068/78.
Whenever a vehicle is left unattended, for however short a period, IT MUST BE LOCKED. If
an alarm/immobiliser is fitted – IT MUST BE USED.
If vehicles are to be parked overnight or long-term, ‘high-risk’ sites, such as multi-
storey/railway station car parks, unlit side streets etc. should be avoided wherever possible.
Steering locks must be fitted where provided.
13. Disability Related Issues
Where disabled passengers are carried, appropriate access equipment may be required.
This can include:
Wheelchair clamps and tracking;
Harnesses and seat-belts for seated passengers;
Inertia reel harnesses and headrests for wheelchair passengers ramps for wheelchair
access and egress.
How to assist wheelchair users in an emergency.
If you are transporting wheelchair users in a lift-equipped vehicle the following methods are
recommended in order of preference:
Use the passenger lift. Even in a fire emergency it is the safest way for wheelchair users to
evacuate a vehicle;
If the lift cannot be used in the usual way but the vehicle has a relatively low floor, the lift
may be positioned half way between ground and floor, and used as a step. In this case
bring the passenger in the wheelchair out backwards;
If the lift cannot be used at all and another person is available to help, the passenger
should be lifted, while seated in the wheelchair, backwards through the vehicle door;
If no other help is available, or the wheelchair cannot be released from its restraints, the
passenger must be carried from the vehicle. Check with the passenger how best to carry
them. If they are unconscious, drape their arms around your shoulders and with their face
to your back, carry them to safety.
Parking when carrying blue badge holders
Blue badges are issued to people with certain disabilities, mainly where walking difficulties
are involved. Operators of minibuses can display either their own institutional badge or the
badge of a qualifying individual when carrying the badge holder/person who would qualify for
a badge. Carrying includes waiting to allow a passenger to board and alight. The card
showing the time that parking commenced must be displayed on the dashboard. The badge
cannot be used however on private roads, off road car parks, some town centres with limits
on vehicle access and parts of central London.
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14. Overloading of Minibuses:
The majority of minibuses have a pre-determined specified maximum gross vehicle weight
(GVW). This figure is to be found in the manufacturer’s handbook provided with the vehicle
from new or through the local dealership.
It is VITAL that this weight is not exceeded at any time. Over-loading is illegal and is also
potentially unsafe. Minibuses handle significantly differently from private cars, whether laden
or empty. Overloading even by small margins, may make the vehicle more difficult to control
and it will increase its braking distances. In some circumstances, this may lead to an
For every journey you should make an accurate estimate of the weight of the passengers,
driver and additional luggage or equipment to be carried. (It may be impractical to actually
weigh all the passengers and luggage or to take the laden vehicle to a weighbridge for each
Note: Minibus manufacture’s only work to an average per person of 68 kg when calculating
the maximum gross vehicle weight of the vehicle.
If the vehicle’s maximum gross vehicle weight will be exceeded, then the number of
passengers or the amount of equipment to be carried must be reduced. If the minibus is
meant to carry two front seat passengers, reduce this to one front passenger, before
reducing the number carried in the rear of the vehicle.
If driving a minibus, which is close to its maximum weight limit, remember that its
braking distances will increase therefore reduce driving speed accordingly.
Legally drivers who passed their test before January 1st 1997 will be able to drive minibuses
with trailers of any weight. Those who passed after this date will need to pass the PCV D1
test for trailers up to 750kg. For over 750 kg they need to do yet another test to obtain D1
Towing trailers behind minibuses are subject to several other legal requirements:
The weight of vehicle plus trailer must not exceed the maximum ‘Train Weight’ set for
The GVW of the trailer itself must not be exceeded;
The GVW of the towing vehicle must not be less than that for the trailer;
The trailer will be required to have additional braking, indicator and tail lights and a
second registration plate;
Separate braking for the trailer may also be required;
Rear door access must be avoided;
The motorway speed limit is 60 mph;
It is illegal when towing a trailer to use the outside lane of a motorway of three or
more lanes. It is also illegal to use the outside lane of a three or more lane
carriageway in a restricted minibus. In both instances unless duly told to do so by
the Police or other authorised person;
It is important to realise that towing a trailer can significantly affect the performance
and handling of the minibus and that reversing in particular requires different skills;
Any driver who will be towing a trailer must be suitably trained and experienced in
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16. Driving Hours
Driver tiredness is a significant factor in road traffic accidents. In any 24 hour period a driver
may only drive for a maximum of 9 hours with a weekly maximum of 56 hours. Every driver
must take a continuous rest period of at least 11 hours in every 24-hour period. The driver
must not be tired at the start of a journey.
The maximum continuous period of driving should not exceed 2½ hours, with a minimum
break of 10 minutes out of the vehicle. After a driving period of no more than 4.5 hours, a
driver must immediately take a break of at least 45 minutes unless he takes a rest period. A
break taken in this way must not be interrupted.
The maximum working day for a driver is 12 hours this includes any teaching, supervision or
other work activities in additional to the driving. If it is likely that these hours are to be
exceeded a second driver must be appointed for the trip.
A regular weekly rest of at least 45 hours, or a reduced weekly rest of at least 24 hours, must
be started no later than the end of six consecutive 24-hour periods from the end of the last
weekly rest. In any two consecutive weeks a driver must have at least two weekly rests –
one of which must be at least 45 hours long.
Detailed information on calculating drivers working hours can be found at:
17. Vehicle Breakdowns
On the road:
Try to get your vehicle off the road;
If you must stop immediately, pull well into the kerb or on to the verge;
Switch on your hazard warning lights;
If your vehicle is not safely situated, evacuate the occupants as a precaution against being
struck by another vehicle;
Do not put yourself or others in danger at any time.
On a motorway:
If possible leave the motorway at the next exit;
Otherwise switch on your hazard warning lights, drive on to the hard shoulder and stop as
far to the left as possible, with the vehicle wheels turned to the left;
Try to stop near to an emergency telephone, they are situated every 100 metres and
indicate the nearest telephone (this will be half a mile at the most). Remember, it is safer
to walk back in the direction from which you came in order to observe oncoming traffic;
Get everyone to leave the vehicle by the nearside doors. If possible lock all doors except
the front passenger door in case you need to get back into the vehicle quickly;
Ensure that you have all the relevant breakdown information (see below);
Walk to the nearest emergency telephone. Keep to the inside of the hard shoulder;
Do not attempt repairs on the offside of your vehicle;
Do not cross the carriageway under any circumstances;
Do not put yourself or others in danger at any time.
Note: Do not attempt to change a wheel on a minibus yourself this is a job for a competent
person with the correct tools.
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After finding the nearest telephone.
The AA breakdown number is on the sticker in the vehicle. If there is no AA cover please
see other contact information on the windscreen.
Have the following information ready:
AA Membership number/ Other Emergency service contact number;
Vehicle make, model and registration number;
Nature of the breakdown;
IF YOU ARE A WOMAN ON YOUR OWN, BE SURE TO MAKE THIS CLEAR
AS THE SERVICE WILL RESPOND AS A PRIORITY;
Wait high-up on the embankment in a place of safety.
18. Passenger Code of Conduct / Seat Belts / Mobile phones
Passengers have a responsibility to ensure that their behaviour does not distract the driver in
any way and does not put at risk the health and safety of themselves, other passengers or
All minibuses and coaches registered on or after 1 October 2001 (whether they carry child or
adult passengers) must have forward-facing or rearward-facing seat belts.
All minibuses (whether owned, leased or hired) must be fitted with seat belts for the driver
and all passengers and these must be used. Passengers over the age of 14 years in
minibuses are legally responsible for wearing a seat belt themselves.
The use of hand-held mobile phones while driving was banned in 2003. Drivers still risk
prosecution (for failure to have proper control) if they use hands-free phones when driving.
Additionally employers will be found guilty of an offence if they cause or permit their staff who
drive for work to use a hand-held mobile (or similar device) whilst driving.
All University employees using hand-held and hands-free mobiles (or similar devices)
whilst driving under the scope of their employment, should only do so when their
vehicles are parked in a safe place and the engine is switched off;
It should be considered a disciplinary offence if employees breach the Regulations
during their normal working hours or outside of normal working hours when using
their mobile phone for work purposes.
Legislative guidance on mobile phones and driving is available from the Department for
Transport at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/drs/mobilephones/
19. Driving Abroad
There are a number of rules and regulations affecting the use of minibuses on international
journeys. It is important to have in mind the legal requirements when planning or undertaking
an international journey. Obligations will differ, depending on the country being visited and
you should consult foreign embassies for information on local rules.
The exemptions for drivers under the Small Bus Permit system (Section 5) only apply to
driving in the UK. All drivers of minibuses abroad (whether owned, leased or hired) must
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obtain a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) category D or D1 licence, ‘grandfather’ rights do
not apply abroad.
A ‘control document’ in the form of a ‘waybill’ or an ‘own account certificate’ must be carried
on vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, on all international journeys, regardless of
whether the vehicle is used for ‘hire or reward.’
University owned minibuses taken overseas within EU
International journeys carried out within the EU in a University owned vehicle driven, by a
member of staff fall within the category of ‘Own Account Operations’. Such journeys can be
carried out under an Own Account Certificate, these are valid for up to five years and are
available on application from the Department of Transport’s International Road Freight Office
(IRFO) - (tel. 0191 2014090).
Hired or leased minibuses taken overseas within EU
An EU Journey Form (waybill) must be completed before each international journey in a
hired or leased vehicle. The EU waybills are available from the Confederation of Passenger
Transport (Tel: 020 72403131) or the International Road Freight Office (tel. 0191 2014090).
Waybills are available in singles or in a book of 25 and the driver is obliged to carry the
drivers’ copy throughout the journey. This will provide exemption from the local licensing
requirements of other EU countries.
Owned, hired or leased minibuses taken out of the EU
The system of Own Account Certificates does not extend to countries outside the EU so it is
necessary to carry an ASOR waybill if traveling beyond the EU. It is also advisable to seek
further information on the countries to be visited from embassies and tourist information
offices. In addition to the ASOR Waybill a set of translations will also be needed. These,
along with the ASOR waybills can be obtained from the International Road Freight Office (tel.
Further Vehicle Documentation
The following documents should accompany the vehicle and be available for inspection at all
times throughout the journey:
EU Waybill, Own Account Certificate or ASOR Waybill (as appropriate);
Translation of the ASOR Waybill (if appropriate);
Insurance Certificate. Insurance against third party risks is compulsory in most countries. It
is advisable to obtain a Green Card when traveling abroad. This is not compulsory for
journeys within the EU but will be compulsory for other international journeys;
European Accident Form. This can be obtained from the University insurers;
The Vehicle Registration Document. The original document and not a photocopy will be
required for inspection;
GB or EU style GB sticker.
Further Driver Documentation
International Driving Permit (IDP) - The UK licence is valid for journeys within the EU and
EEA. However for journeys beyond the EU/EEA it is advisable to obtain an IDP.
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Information on individual countries is available from relevant Embassies and tourist
‘Permission to Drive’ - As it is unlikely that the driver will be the registered keeper of the
minibus. They will need ‘permission to drive.’ A formal letter on the organisation’s
letterhead stating that it is the registered keeper and owner and that the driver has
permission to drive will be sufficient;
Tachograph charts - need to be used from the journey in the UK if the minibus is on an
international journey. This will not apply however to journeys between the UK and Eire.
Drivers must also comply with EU drivers’ hours rules on international journeys.
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Community Transport Association - ‘Taking A Minibus To Europe’: www.ctauk.org
Directgov - Driving a minibus:
DVLA - Driver enquiries (email) - email@example.com
Driving Standards Agency - www.dsa.gov.uk
Department for Transport (DfT) -
The Minibus Club – information on minibus safety and regulations:
The Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ORSA) – Minibuses A Code of Practice:
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – Minibus safety and codes of
RoSPA - Seat – belts:
VOSA - Rules on Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs: Passenger-carrying vehicles in the UK
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Checklist for Minibus Roadworthiness
Yes No Comments
Windscreen wipers and washers
Horn (unless after 10pm in a built up area)
Mirrors condition / aligned
First Aid Kit carried and complete
Fire extinguisher carried
Warning triangle & Hi Viz vest carried
Road-Fund Licence and Small Bus Permit
Vehicle has current MOT if over three years
Serviceable spare tire and wheel changing
equipment for use by breakdown service
Emergency door(s) are clearly marked
Reversing warning alarm (required on all
University owned vehicles)
Reversing lens fitted to rear window
Fuel cut-off switch
Vehicle carrying capacity clearly marked
Special access equipment for disabled
passengers (if fitted)
Inspected by: Date: Signed:
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