• Driving licensing review – call for evidence

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    In October 2022 The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a call for evidence that sought views on potential opportunities to improve our driving licensing regime. They wished to explore whether there are any further opportunities that could be available to them that were partly due to the fact that we had left the European Union and had the freedom to change our legislation to improve our testing and licensing regime. These include whether to grant drivers who have category B car licence entitlement additional entitlement to category C1 (7.5 tonnes) goods vehicle entitlement and whether to grant drivers who have a category B licence entitlement to a minibus category D1 licence.

    CTA have been discussing this issue with DfT for some time and were pleased that we had this opportunity to gather the evidence and impact that any changes would have for the Community Transport sector.   Our Director for England fed into the development of this call and CTA  hosted an event with DfT in August 22 to enable an opportunity for members to share their views directly with policy makers.

    Update June 2023

    The DfT have released a summary report on the evidence submitted.   The full results of the D1 licence questions run from page 52- 64.

    The summarised findings indicate strong support for CTA’s stance on the necessity of changing the D1 requirement. This change would help us overcome a significant hurdle in volunteer and staff recruitment, as many respondents shared this viewpoint.

    Safety is of utmost importance to CTA and its members, and we prioritise driver training accordingly. The results of the call highlight widespread agreement on this matter. CTA stance is that by implementing comprehensive driver training, we can address concerns raised and provide assurance that road safety won’t be compromised.

    Summary results

    Of 2,052 who answered the question, most (73%) were supportive. This included three in ten (31%) who were supportive with additional stipulations.

    The main additional stipulation that was selected was that of drivers having a minimum age (86%).  This is an area which CTA has had mixed conversations with members on as some have raised the benefit of being able to recruit university students while some raising the potentially limited driving experience and the safety implications.   CTA did raise the age limit with their partner Endsleligh to understand the cost implication for members but were unable to get a clear position on the impact a reduced age restriction would have.

    Undertaking additional training such as MiDAS was a popular recommendation (49%).  CTA believe that this should be a requirement as it aims to ensure that services are operated safely.   Those that were unsupportive of the changes raised safety concerns as their main reason (92%).

    All consultees were then asked about impact on supply of minibus drivers if the requirement to obtain a D1 licence to drive a minibus were to be removed. Most (84%) believed this would increase the supply of such drivers

    Next Steps

    The released report only includes the results from the call. We have regular meetings with the DfT, and through these discussions, we will support and influence the next steps. The DfT will be conducting further investigations to understand the safety implications of the potential changes and if  implemented what measures will ensure no negative impact on road safety. Throughout this process, CTA will collaborate with the DfT to provide necessary information as needed.

    Currently, we don’t have specific timelines, but we will keep you updated as we receive more information to share.

    Previous documents

    This link contains the full call for evidence information

    On Thursday 8th September CTA and DfT held an event to share details on the call for evidence.

    Please find a copy of the D1 call for evidence Presentation from the meeting

    CTA submitted a response to the call which can be found here 

    Within this response we raise that we believe changing D1 licencing to grant drivers who have a category B licence entitlement to a minibus category D1 is vital for the future of the CT sector. This change will alleviate some of the current driver shortages that
    are caused by the current D1 licensing system that threaten the sector’s future and the provision of essential transport services

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    • Anthony Smith - Flintshire County Council

      12:11 12th February 2024

      There is so much confusion around the need for D1 licences in schools. We have taken the stance that all drivers should have a full D1 licence, but it’s causing a lot of problems due to the high costs involved in getting a licence. Further clarity is required around whether salary paid teachers are driving school minibuses for hire and reward. Because this has not been clarified or tested in the courts, many Local Authorities are taking the cautious stance and going down the mandatory D1 route. However, by doing this children are missing out on trips and sports events because they can’t afford to train any staff to drive the minibuses! Can you please offer any advise on this matter?

    • Wayne Tew - Sheffield city council

      13:35 30th September 2023

      I work at Sheffield city council, and cannot drive the minibuses.
      I have held a driving licence since 2004, and have drove vans bit cannot drive the minibuses has they have seats, but the vans I’ve driven are similar size.
      The department has difficulties on many occasions with staff shortages, with some former drivers, who got promotion to the office having to go out and drive.
      They have a lot of agency staff which come and go, and most of the team are ‘retired’, or just topping up their pensions.
      The average age must be about 65.
      If all these packed up at same time, the place would not be able to operate has they couldn’t cope with the demand with the amount of buses we send out.
      I could see this several years ago happening with an ever ageing workforce, and if it doesn’t change in the future I can see them going.

    • Mr Pickering Andy

      10:00 4th January 2023

      Please can you update the status or replies to this presentation, and when or if we could see a change to the licensing laws.

    • David - Charity

      09:43 24th November 2022

      I have a LGV Class 1 licence and wish to volunteer to drive the local mini bus to take the old people of the village to the shops in the nearest town.
      Volunteer Drivers are hard to come by for the charity because of the 1997 rule

      Seems bureaucratic to me that having held a HGV licence and driving professionally for 20 odd years I can’t help my village by driving a small mini bus

    • Angus Mackay - Strathallan School

      10:23 17th November 2022

      We operate a transport service within a boarding School with 650 Pupils; for them, this is their home, and the ability to get them where they need to be is key to education and welfare.
      If the D1 qualification were to become valid, it would hugely benefit the school and its Pupils.
      We operate an in-house Test and Training for all drivers so that safety training would be undertaken regardless of their current D1 status.
      In 2-3 years, the declining number of D1 valid drivers will become a significant issue for the school and the transportation of its pupils.

    • Kenneth Blackwood - Appleton Wiske Minibus Club

      14:14 31st October 2022

      There is a diminishing group of potential volunteers who hold a D1 license or who are prepared to have the medical and sight tests to continue to retain the D1 category once they reach 70. It also seems odd that there’s a maximum weight limit for drivers without a D1 license but it appears that the weight limit doesn’t matter if the vehicle has a wheelchair lift. What’s the logic?

    • Roy Weller - Community Transport for the Community Area

      12:05 21st October 2022

      I believe we need to allow a D1 on the licence but have a minimum age and only drive after a competency assessment ie MIDAS training.
      As a community transport company we need a larger pool of drivers so any solution without compromising safety get’s my vote.

    • Martin Howe - 5CMDT

      17:21 18th October 2022

      I’m in favour of the proposed change. I must add however that all personnel must undergo some form of assessment/training to ensure that we are all fulfilling our duty of care to our precious cargo.
      We mustn’t return to the days when asked if you have D1you are handed the keys without the training and assessment required.

    • D peter - Woodccaft folk

      18:48 17th October 2022

      Yes I agree so ever one can drive the minbus over 3.5

    • Debbie Avery - Westbank Community Health and Care

      13:43 14th October 2022

      Safety of drivers and passengers is paramount and must not be forgotten. Driving a minibus is very different than driving a car and brings a lot of responsibility with it eg passengers.
      As a charity organisation – we cannot afford to place “younger volunteers” on a minibus training course if they passed their car driving test post 1997.
      The volunteers who drive our minibus are the people who passed their car license pre 1997 – however, we still place them on 1 day minibus training to evidence their competencies, this is refreshed every 3 years. The difficulty ahead is that these pool of people who are able to drive minibuses are reducing.
      A solution does need to be found going forward but not at the expense of safety.

    • Jill Elson MBE - Exmouth and District Community Transport Group

      10:31 14th October 2022

      YES allow D1 on licence. This will help voluntary organisations

    • Anthony - .

      15:56 10th October 2022

      The spirit of the 1997 change was sound, in that it would attempt to protect all involved from incidents caused by a lack of experience.

      If vehicle capacity had reduced to reflect the change in MAM, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but instead busses retained capacity but were down plated, creating a significant risk to drivers carrying adult passengers. Also, loop holes have been exploited by widespread use of accessible busses to increase the plated weight.
      Our fleet of busses are all accessible and re-plated from 4005kg to 4025kg, allowing all of our Cat B drivers to drive them anyway, despite having no one on site that requires an accessible bus. The law might as well revert back as it would save time, confusion and expense.
      In my opinion, the first minibus familiarisation training even for D1 holders should be made compulsory by law, with attendance at subsequent refreshers non-compulsory, but assessed as required by the transporting company.

    • Fiona Love - NHS

      20:54 8th October 2022

      I would suggest that having a D1 on your license is insufficient proof that you are responsible for the safe transportation of vulnerable people . The Midas training course , as was, determined a comprehensive method of approach to safe and efficient driving which should be adopted by all personnel in their day to day employment, whether voluntary or otherwise . A moving and handling qualification should also be deployed.

    • Nicholas Price - Cuckmere Community Bus Co.

      19:59 6th October 2022

      We are a community bus organisation running scheduled and private hire services. We are finding difficulty attracting volunteer drivers to drive our services. Anything that can be done to loosen restrictions on the age of potential volunteer drivers would be welcome

    • Becky - Commonwork Trust

      17:35 3rd October 2022

      DfT survey completed.

    • Phil Paul - Wigan

      14:46 1st October 2022

      The current regulations prevent us as a school from offering a range of trips including extra-curricular fixtures.

    • Michael William BEll - Shrewsbury Dial A Ride.

      15:12 30th September 2022

      To lower the requirement of licence to drive a mini bus devalues the skill required to drive a PCV carring vehicle.
      Has a full PCV licence holder I will give up driving mini buses on a voluntary basis.
      I hope togod this does norhappen.

    • Richard Faunt

      13:37 16th August 2022

      The current anomalous situation, where different rules apply depending on the date a driving test was passed, create confusion and need to be rationalised. Add to this the recent changes applied to B licence holders ability to tow larger trailers/caravans (up to 7,000kg train weight) and it seems ridiculous to restrict minibus driving to 3,500kg. We need to rationalise the position by increasing the minibus weight limit by a similar amount.

    • David Muggeridge

      11:39 15th August 2022

      DFT survey completed

    • Marian Gilpin

      07:32 11th August 2022

      We currently have difficulty recruiting paid drivers as all of our D1 drivers are over 49 and so unless people do the PCV test they cannot undertake paid work. It would help our staffing problems if C1 drivers could drive minibuses, and even better if B category people could drive minibuses. Younger people being able to undertake paid work would help us to recruit more bank drivers as they also may be more likely to have more than one job. Category B drivers would be given additional training (MIDAS) and would be just as capable/efficient/safe and those with a ‘grandfather’ licence. Committee member Green Community Travel,

    • David Miles

      20:25 10th August 2022

      Time to break free from the chains holding everyone back. Red tape has been strangling the sector for too long.

    • Paul Whelan

      17:02 10th August 2022

      I help run a volunteer bus service once a week to the local town for the elderly residents of my village. There is not a public transport option available ( Freeland to Witney, Oxon).
      We need as many volunteer drivers as possible, we are always struggling to get them. Many are unable to help as they are younger and only have Cat B licences. Soon we will run out of drivers if this continues to be a D1 requirement that is not available for Cat B holders.

    • Stuart Hardie

      08:21 10th August 2022

      We are a small Community Bus operator, and we rely on persons with D1 on their licence. We are facing a future when when Cat B drivers lose the automatic right to drive a mini bus, and would face the expense of training all new volunteer drivers. We are in favour of the proposed change, particularly as we are committed to undertake MIDAS training for all our drivers.

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