As a minibus driver the care and safety of your passengers is very important.
To fulfill this duty and avoid having to make any unnecessary claims on your minibus insurance, consider the points outlined below:
1. Ensure the minibus is roadworthy. As the driver of a minibus you are responsible for its condition when it's on the road although the operator may also be responsible for permitting its use in a defective state.
Even if the vehicle has just returned from being serviced the responsibility for its use remains with you and operator. Apart from anything else failure to maintain a minibus’ roadworthiness may invalidate your minibus insurance.
2. Plan a journey before setting out to avoid adding extra journey time by getting lost. Consider your passenger's needs by factoring in adequate rest stops.
3. If you are transporting children you cannot be responsible for supervising their behaviour and also concentrate on driving the minibus. Take a passenger assistant with you, preferably someone who the children know.
It's useful if the assistant has the correct licence and training to drive a minibus if for any reason you are unable to continue with the journey.
4. Brief your passengers before commencing the journey. Tell them how long the journey will be and when you'll be taking any rest stops.
Advise the passengers of the safety issues including the dangers of boisterous behaviour, especially if they are children.
5. Ensure all passengers have a seat and seatbelts are worn if fitted. In case of emergency every seated passenger must have access to two exits at all times. Make sure luggage is not obstructing the aisle.
6. The minibus must be able to accommodate passengers with mobility difficulties. Wheelchairs can face forward or backwards, but not sideways.
Passengers may have other needs which could include mental, emotional, medical, behavioural or learning difficulties. As the driver it is important that you or your passenger's assistant are aware of these needs and are able to assist the passenger if required.
7. Before starting the journey check that all luggage and equipment is stored securely. Check the minibus doors are closed but not locked. Ensure the aisle and exits are free from obstruction.
8. Places where passengers are picked up and dropped off should be planned in advance of the journey. Consideration must be given to the safety of the passengers while waiting to be picked up, and when boarding and exiting the minibus.
If you are a regular minibus driver take a driver training course, such as the MiDAS (Minibus Driver Training Scheme) organised by the Community Transport Association (CTA). This will cover all aspects of passenger care and gives guidance on what to do in the event of an emergency or passenger illness.
Evidence that you've passed a driver training course may even entitle you to a discount on the minibus insurance.
The Minibus Club is a specialist minibus insurance provider and has offered UK minibus insurance quotes since 1997. Visit their website to get a free quote for charity minibus insurance or call their hotline on 0845 609 0323. See how much you could save on your minibus insurance.