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How to gain Category D1

Anyone who passed a car-driving test on or after 1st January 1997 will not have category D1 on his or her licence. This is the category required to legally drive a minibus on the public highway. A minibus is a vehicle that carries between 9 and 16 passengers. The information below will explain how to do this.

Adding provisional D1 to your driving licence

You will first need to obtain an application form D2, available from the DVLA or Local Traffic Offices. The DVLA can also provide the addresses of Local Traffic Offices.

Complete the relevant sections appertaining to adding provisional D1 onto your licence. Full instructions on where to send this form and associated fees are explained within the notes accompanying this form.

Contacting the DVLA: -

Tel: 0870 240 0009


Medical clearance

Drivers of passenger carrying vehicles, including minibuses, have to satisfy a higher medical standard than car drivers. To obtain the appropriate medical clearance, first obtain the form D4, available from a Post Office. This form will need to be completed by a medical practitioner, usually your own GP, and must accompany your D1 driving licence application form. GP's are likely to charge you in the region of £80 for this service.

Upon receipt of your licence, containing provisional D1 entitlement, you are entitled to drive a minibus provided: -

Your minibus displays regulation L plates at the front and rear.
Your are accompanied by another driver who holds a licence with category D1 entitlement.
The D1 minibus driving test

There are two tests, which have to be passed in order to gain full category D1 entitlement, a theory test and a practical driving test. The theory test has to be passed before being allowed to take the practical test.

The Theory Test

Consists of 35 multiple choice questions, time allowed 40 minutes. The test is computer based and the pass mark is 30 correct out of 35. Some questions require multiple responses.

In addition to the above, there is now a computer based hazard perception test. On completion of the multiple-choice test you have the option of a three-minute break followed by an optional practice session lasting 15 minutes. You can take the hazard perception test immediately if you prefer.

The hazard perception test consists of 15 video clips which contain a number of hazards that you must identify. The pass mark for this category of vehicle is 50 correct out of 75.

You will be given your results immediately on completion of both parts of this test. You have to pass both parts at the same time. A certificate will also be provided.

The Practical Test

The practical test must be taken in a minibus, which you must provide yourself. The test lasts for 90 minutes, during which you will be required to demonstrate a safe and competent driving standard . Each driving fault will be assessed and recorded by your examiner. One or more serious or dangerous faults will result in failure, as will 16 or more minor faults.

As well as conducting a number of off-road manoeuvres, you will be required to drive on a variety of roads both urban and rural and answer some questions on basic vehicle maintenance.

Practical minibus tests are conducted at heavy good vehicle testing stations, not local car driving test centres. The DSA will be able to provide details and addresses.

The standard required to pass a minibus driving test is high and you would be advised to seek professional guidance before taking such a test.

Applying for both tests

You can book the theory or practical test by telephone, via the internet or by means of an application form available from local driving test centres.

Telephone bookings: - 0870 0101372

On-line bookings: - www.dsa.gov.uk|


There are a number of documents that must be provided on the day of each test. The letters from the DSA confirming your test appointments will explain what is required. It is essential that you follow these instructions.

Upon passing the practical test, you will be issued with a certificate which contains instructions on how to upgrade your provisional D1 to 'full' entitlement.

Professional Training for gaining category D1

Staffordshire County Council does not provide professional training for the D1 test. You are advised to seek the advice of an organisation that specialises in PCV training. The Yellow Pages directory contains a number of training establishments offering such a service. They can be found in the 'Driving Schools' section.

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