The school minibus is an incredibly useful resource but to get the most out of it and ensure you're driving safely there's some simple things you can do. Every minibus requires an annual MOT test from the first anniversary of its registration date. A minibus with 13 or more passenger seats requires a Class V test, which can only be conducted at designated testing stations or LGV testing stations. A minibus with less than 13 passenger seats requires a normal car (Class IV) MOT certificate and can be tested at any garage with MOT test facilities.
In addition to the MOT, it's best practice for the driver to conduct a pre-drive safety check every day the minibus is used. This should be repeated whenever another driver takes over the vehicle and should include a walk around the vehicle, including the trailer if applicable, to check for visible defects using a defined checklist. Equally important is to ensure you have a system in place for your driver(s) when signing the vehicle in and out, and for reporting any damage or faults swiftly so they can be rectified. The law requires operators to keep records of how they ensure the service they provide is safe. RoSPA recommends that records are kept for at least 15 months, but preferably longer, particularly if there is a risk of litigation following an incident. This enables them to show that the service is being managed and operated with all reasonable care and efficiency and that drivers and passenger assistants are properly trained, adequately monitored and performing their duties effectively. When a fault that affects the safe operation of the vehicle or the safety of the occupants is recorded, the vehicle should not be used until the fault is rectified. A nil-reporting procedure, which requires the driver to record the results of the check even if there are no faults, is recommended, and nil-reports should be recorded.
SG World's pre-use inspection systems give drivers a clear, step-by-step list of best practice safety checks and a process for reporting and recording maintenance issues. Our unique duplicate format means you only fill in the details once but two records are created - one completed checklist that can be kept with the vehicle whilst the other is retained in a central inspection record. A Hi-Vis safety indicator wallet displayed on the minibus windscreen lets staff know if the vehicle has passed or failed it's check, warning drivers not to take out an unsafe vehicle and detailing the vehicle issue. The handy cheque-sized design keeps your documentation neat and tidy in case you ever need to revisit a safety issue.