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Driving Minibuses Safely

All drivers must comply fully at all times with all relevant UK legislation! This is exceptionally important when traveling as a UPSU group and when driving passengers. There will be serious repercussions for groups who break the law!

UK Legislation

Drivers must not consume any alcohol or drugs prior to or whilst driving any vehicle.

It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the passenger limit is not exceeded (one passenger per seat), and to inform the passengers that they must behave in a responsible manner.


It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle does not exceed the maximum weight limit of 3500kg. As a rough guide, the vehicles are about 2000kg allowing 100kg per person including all their luggage (An average person is 80kg).

Drivers must observe speed limits at all times. The maximum speed, which vans may travel at is:

Built-up Area
Single Carriageway
Dual Carriageway

On the Road

It is the driver’s responsibility to check that all passengers are wearing a seat belt. However, if the police stop a vehicle, and passengers are found not to be wearing seat belts, the passengers will be held individually responsible and will be charged by the police.

You are strongly advised to take both parts of your driving license with you if on a long journey in case it becomes necessary to hire another vehicle.

Any equipment carried in a minibus must be securely fastened, so that it will not cause injury if, for example, the Driver braked suddenly.

No Driver should drive stints of more than:

  • 2 hours without a 15-minute break
  • 4 hours without at least a 1-hour break
  • 8 hours in any one day (24 hours) - This is reduced to 4 hours if the driver is also working or playing sport as well as driving

Where possible, change to another licensed driver but only if they have taken and passed the appropriate Union tests and meet all of the requirements.

Minibuses must not be driven through rough, hazardous and unsuitable terrain (e.g. off-road surfaces, the sea, etc).

If the vehicle is damaged whilst in your possession, you need to be aware that costs of the repairs may be charged to the group hiring the bus (normally internal damage) or to the driver (where it can be shown to be their fault).

Mobile phones must not be used at all whilst driving vehicles. The law is clear on when you can use a hand-held device behind the wheel. It is only legal if you are safely parked – and this does not include waiting in traffic or when sat at the traffic lights.



For using your mobile phone or similar device, you could be fined a total of £60 and gain 3 points on your license. For drink driving, this grows to a total of £5000 and you could gain between 3-11 penalty points on your license. 6 points would mean losing your license if you’re less than two years from passing your test!

Refuse to accept the fixed penalty and you could be taken to court. If the police think the offense so bad that a fixed penalty isn’t enough you could be taken to court.

Fines in court will almost certainly be larger than average and disqualification is possible. The maximum fine in a court for a more minor driving offense is £1,000, or £2,500 you were driving a bus or a goods vehicle.

First Aid

If you are concerned about keeping first aid equipment on board a vehicle before embarking on your journey speak with SSD or a member of the Groups Team on

Passenger Etiquette

In the rare occurrence of having unruly passengers, if a passenger ever displays threatening behaviour to the driver or any other passengers, you must stop the minibus as soon as is safely possible (e.g. pull into the hard shoulder on a motorway). It is then the Driver’s decision as to when and whether they think that it is safe to continue. This may mean asking the unruly passenger to leave the bus and not continue the journey with the rest of the group. On your return to the Student Union, you will need to notify of the incidence.

Fines will be issued for passengers found to be behaving irresponsibly (i.e. to the possible detriment of the bus, driver and other passengers), and not adhering to the requests from the driver.

The buses are no smoking zones. Any evidence of such will result in the guilty parties being fined. Where the guilty party is not easily identifiable, the group who has hired out the bus will be fined.

No drinking of alcohol is allowed on the bus. Any evidence of such (empty cans/bottles, spillages, stains or smells) will result in the guilty parties being fined. Where the guilty party is not easily identifiable, the group who has hired out the bus will be fined.


A moment’s thought goes a long way towards protecting your vehicle. Here are a few reminders:

  • Always check that all doors are locked and all windows are closed
  • Make sure that the steering column lock is engaged
  • Park in a well-lit area at night, wherever possible
  • Don’t leave your key in the ignition even if refueling or in a garage/carpark
  • If the vehicle has deadlocks or is alarmed, make sure that they are engaged
  • Don’t leave valuables on show – lock them in the glove box or vehicle boot, or take them with you
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