Rules for buses and coaches used for driving tests

Buses and coaches used for practical driving tests have to meet certain rules, and some must also carry a minimum weight.

About the rules

Buses and coaches used in the practical tests have to meet certain rules. Some vehicles and trailers must also carry a minimum weight.

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if your vehicle doesn’t meet the rules.

Rules for all types of buses and coaches

All the vehicles used for categories D1, D1+E, D and D+E tests must be capable of 50mph.

The vehicle must be fitted with:

  • L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
  • 2 sets of externally mounted nearside and offside mirrors - one for the driver and one for the examiner
  • a seat belt for the examiner or any person supervising the test
  • a tachograph
  • anti-lock braking (ABS)

Stretch limousines and prison vans based on a lorry chassis can’t be used for the category D test.

Rules for minibuses: sub-categories D1 and D1+E

Category D1 vehicles are minibuses, which are passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs):

  • with between 9 and 16 passenger seats
  • with a maximum authorised mass of at least 4 tonnes
  • at least 5 metres in length

Category D1+E vehicles are D1 vehicles towing a closed box trailer:

  • with a MAM of at least 1.25 tonnes
  • at least 2 metres high
  • at least 2 metres wide

Rules for buses and coaches: categories D and D+E

Category D vehicles are buses and coaches, which are PCVs:

  • with more than 8 passenger seats
  • at least 10 metres long
  • at least 2.4 metres wide

Category D+E vehicles are category D vehicles towing a closed box trailer:

  • with a MAM of at least 1.25 tonnes
  • at least 2 metres high
  • at least 2 metres wide

Minimum load requirement

The table shows:

  • which vehicles and trailers need to carry a minimum weight for the test
  • what the minimum load requirements are
Vehicle category Vehicle or trailer affected Minimum real weight Minimum load requirement
D1+E and D+E Trailers 800 kg 600 kg of aggregates or one IBC of 1,000 kg or 600 kg capacity when filled with water

Rules about the load

The load can be water or bagged aggregates like sand, stone chippings, gravel or any other recycled material packages (but not toxic materials).

Bagged aggregates must be in sealed transparent bags and must:

  • all weigh the same
  • be at least 10kg
  • have the weight clearly stamped on them

Water must be in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) made from semi-transparent moulded plastic usually reinforced with a wire framework.

The examiner can inspect an IBC used as ‘load’ for the test, so it’s important that they can see it has the correct water level.

You can’t use any other type of load.

The load must be secured appropriately onto the vehicle or trailer.

Minimum real weight

The ‘real weight’ is the actual weight of the vehicle and the load combined. This cannot be more than the MAM.

Published 15 November 2013