MiDAS Drivers Guidance Information

Can I take part in Midas Training?

You must have a current, valid driving licence. You will need to bring it with you for the start of the course and to have provided us with a photocopy or scan beforehand, the copy needs to match the licence presented. All drivers must show their driving licence for examination at the start of the course.

You will also need to go to the gov.uk website (make sure you have your National Insurance Number and Driving Licence to hand) to generate a copy of your current driving licence information (vehicles you can drive or any penalty points or disqualifications) and print this out and bring this with you as well. (This needs to be done within the 21 days preceding the course start date.) If in doubt about this please contact us at bookings@cfirst.org.uk.

A driving assessment cannot be undertaken unless our trainer has confirmed that the driver is eligible to drive a minibus of that size. If you have more than 6 points on your driving licence you will not be able to attend this course. If your driving offence was serious (e.g. dangerous driving) you will not be able to attend this course.

While a clean driving licence is preferable, it is not essential (except under conditions out-lined above.) Note will be taken of any endorsements (penalty points) as it may indicate an underlying characteristic of the person’s driving skills and their suitability to drive a minibus. We must also be aware of any endorsements to ensure that we have suitable insurance cover.

Drivers must be over 21 years-old and may need to be 25 years-old for insurance purposes.

Drivers must also be able to read a number plate at 20 metres, and their eyesight will be tested before the start of the driving assessment.

Licence Restrictions

Drivers under 70 years-old, who have “D” or “D1” on their licence (or “A” on old style Green licences issued prior to 1990) are entitled to drive a minibus. There are however restrictions for some drivers, and a car driving licence does not automatically entitle anyone to drive a minibus. For more guidance, please see the Hampshire County Council’s Renewing a Driving Licence (Factsheet 2) or the DVLA guidance.

In particular:

Drivers over the age of 70 do not automatically retain the “D1” category but must apply to renew this with the DVLA providing a “D4” medical examination form filled in by a doctor (Renew your driving licence if you’re 70 or over).

Drivers who passed their test after 1 January 1997 and have category B only on their licence can drive a minibus if:

  • they are over 21 but under 70 (if you are over 70 please contact the MiDAS Coordinator to book a place)
  • have held a full driving licence for 2 years
  • are driving for a not-for-profit organisation
  • are driving as a volunteer (see Incidental Drivers if you are not a volunteer)
  • the minibus is less than 3500kg MAM or 4250kg MAM if it can transport passengers in wheelchairs – see information on Minibus Weight
  • the minibus does not tow a trailer

All these conditions have to be met.

Incidental Drivers

An incidental driver is someone who has Category B on their driving licence but doesn’t have category D or D1 and who might drive a minibus as a small part of their paid job (e.g. teachers or care workers). But if they are paid staff, can they be volunteers? Government departments were asked to answer the question: ‘Are teachers volunteers when driving the school minibus?’

They suggested that to be driving as a volunteer:

  • Minibus driving must not be on your job description
  • You must be able to refuse minibus driving duties
  • You must not be paid for driving but can receive genuine ‘out of pocket’ expenses.

This advice is not law. Some organisations follow the advice, whilst others insist all their drivers have D1 on their licence. Some organisations have minibuses over the weight limits, so drivers need D1 on their licence by law. For more information about how to get D1 entitlement added to a licence visit the adding higher categories to your driving licence page on the gov.uk website.

Minibus Weight (Maximum Authorised Mass or MAM)

Drivers who only have B or B(120) entitlement are the only ones who need to check the weight of the minibus. It does not affect other drivers.

You will find a plate on the minibus that looks like the picture on the right. It is sometimes called the chassis plate or VIN plate. It may be in the door frame, in one of the front foot wells or under the bonnet.

The relevant weight is always the second biggest weight on the plate – in this case 4100kg. If you are unsure, ask the minibus owner. This plate is on a standard 17 seat Ford Transit minibus. It would be illegal for a driver with only B entitlement to drive this minibus (4100kg) as the maximum MAM they can drive is 3500kg for a standard minibus. They would need to take and pass a D1 driving test in a minibus to drive this heavy 17 seat Transit.

Requirements for Accessible MiDAS

Drivers should be aware that Accessible MiDAS is likely to involve some manual handling (of minibus seats and wheelchairs) and awkward stooping/twisting (to secure a wheelchair in a minibus). Community First accepts no responsibility for any difficulties or injuries experienced by those training in connection with the Accessible training. Drivers and their sponsoring organisation should check that learners are reasonably fit for the tasks required.

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