Making minibus weights as simple as we can with a new video – it’s at the end of this blog.

Castle Minibus have created a new animation to help educate schools on the issue of minibus weights and the risks of overloading which can be both dangerous and illegal.

If you overload your minibus, you run the risk of the following:

  • It will be more difficult to handle
  • It can cause your tyres to overheat
  • Your stopping distances will need to be a lot longer
  • The minibus will cost more to run because of increased fuel consumption
  • You greatly increase your risk of an accident
  • Your insurance may be deemed invalid and therefore not pay out.

If you don’t know your weights and are concerned you are overloading your vehicle, then take the time to get to know your vehicle and payload weights.

  • MAM = the maximum authorised mass of the vehicle, also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) that can be carried safely on the road
  • UW = unladen weight of your vehicle
  • PAYLOAD = the weight of your driver, passengers and their luggage (MAM – PAYLOAD = UW)

Finding the MAM of your minibus

The plate is sometimes called the chassis plate or VIN plate and is usually in the door frame, under the bonnet or in a front foot well and looks like the image below. The MAM is always the second largest weight, in this case, 4100 kg.

Weights are especially important when driving on a Standard B car licence

The law says that people can drive a minibus on their standard B car licence if the MAM is up to 3500 kg or under (other conditions apply). There is a specific clause that an allowance of up to an extra 750 kgs is allowed only for specialist equipment for disabled passengers (for example an electric wheelchair lift). Ramps are not included.

Drivers who passed their car test before January 1997 have D1 (101) entitlement on their licence so the 3500 kg limit does not apply if they are driving under a section 19 permit. However, they still cannot drive a vehicle with more than 16 passengers.

Don’t risk over-loading your minibus, be aware of your weight restrictions for the safety of your pupils and staff. Where driving and licences are concerned, for minibuses that weight over 3500 kgs, get a D1 licence and take an additional vehicle for luggage if needs be.

For more information of advice on vehicles, weights and licences, contact our friendly team on 01869253744 email or visit our blog which is full of information on all things safety and compliance