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Health and Safety Services

Code of practice for driving Birkbeck and hired vehicles

1. Introduction
a) Although rare, serious, sometimes fatal, accidents have occurred with vehicles used by educational establishments including universities (even at Birkbeck). It is in order to minimise the risk of such accidents occurring that this Code of Practice has been written.

b) This code of practice applies to all vehicles used by the College whether owned or hired.

2. Minibuses
a) Further rules applicable to driving minibuses are set out in Appendices One, Two and Three. These are in addition to the requirements of the main body of this Code of Practice.

b) There are complex driving licence and 'hire and reward' permit requirements for the use of minibuses. These are set out in Appendix Two and these are also in addition to the requirements of the main body of this Code of Practice.

3. Application
a)
Compliance with this code is mandatory and the Code applies to any use of vehicles whether owned by the College or hired for College business.

b) This Code of Practice should be read in conjunction with any other school policies that relate to the use of vehicles.

c) The requirements of this Code of Practice represent the minimum standard to be adopted. Schools may impose additional requirements if they consider them appropriate.

4. Drivers
All drivers must be approved by a Head of School/section. Approval may only be given providing the following requirements are met.

a) Only employees of the College may drive College vehicles or vehicles hired for College business. An employee of the College is any person being officially paid by the College for the time they are driving on the College's behalf. Persons being paid a fee to drive for short periods such as the duration of a field trip are considered College employees. Such persons must however meet all the other requirements of this Code of Practice.

b) All drivers must be aged 25 or over - to drive a minibus.

c) The driver has a valid full driving licence for the vehicle to be used. Special licence conditions apply to the drivers of minibuses. See Appendix One.

d) In the case of minibuses, the driver has completed the approval form shown in Appendix Three. The completed form must be kept by the school/section. The form must be completed every two years.

e) All drivers are required to inform the DVLA in Swansea of any physical or mental disability, which might affect their fitness to drive any vehicle.

5. Roadworthiness of the vehicle
a) All vehicles owned by the University must be regularly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition.

b) All hired vehicles must be checked very carefully by the driver on delivery.

c) Before taking over responsibility for any vehicle, all drivers must carry out the pre-journey check list that follows or satisfy themselves that such checks have already been carried out by the operator prior to handing over the vehicle. Checks i & ii must be carried out on a daily basis thereafter whilst the vehicle is in use.

i) brakes and steering operate correctly
ii) there is an adequate supply of water in the windscreen wash reservoir, that windscreen and wipers function correctly and all windows are clean in order to ensure good all round visibility

iii) there are correct fluid levels in hydraulic systems, particularly the braking system, and the engine oil level is correct
iv) there is an adequately stocked first aid kit; any items used from the kit should be replaced without delay.
v) there is a vehicle fire extinguisher mounted in an easily accessible position
vi) tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and are free of dangerous cuts or cracks, tread depth is at least 1.6 mm, and wheel nuts are tight
vii) the spare wheel is also in good condition and correctly inflated. If a spare wheel is not designed to be carried then a temporary puncture repair aerosol must be carried.

6.  General Driving Legislation
The requirements of legislation governing driving must be observed at all times.  When driving abroad the legislation of the country to be visited should be checked for local variations from the UK.  In the UK, adherance to the 'Highway Code' is essential but drivers should pay particular attention to:
a) Seat belts must be worn at all times. The most senior member of staff present or the driver must ensure this.
b) The driver should not use a mobile phone or engage in any other activity that may distract his/her attention from driving while driving e.g. eating and drinking or adjusting the radio etc.
c) Smoking is banned in all enclosed places of work in the UK - this includes vehicles in use for business purposes.  Accordingly smoking is banned in all vehicles being used for Birkbeck business even if the driver is the only occupant.

7. Journey and Driving Times
a)
Tiredness of the driver has often been a significant factor in accidents involving minibuses. The presence of a second driver should always be considered both on account of possible incapacity of the first driver and also because of tiredness.

b) The maximum number of hours that a driver may drive in any 24-hour period is 9 hours subject to a weekly maximum of 56 hours. Every driver must take a continuous rest period of at least 11 hours in every 24-hour period. A bed, bunk or couchette must be available for use during the rest period. The driver must not be tired at the start of a journey.

c) The maximum continuous period of driving should not exceed two and a half-hours and should be followed by a minimum break of 10 minutes out of the vehicle. Time spent crawling in motorway type hold-ups should count as part of the driving period, as should any period spent driving to pick up a party.

d) Persons returning to the UK after a long journey abroad, even air travel, should be warned that they might not have had sufficient rest to undertake a further lengthy journey by road in the UK as soon as they have left the ferry or airport. Accidents frequently occur to drivers returning from abroad within one hour's driving distance from UK ports and airports because of tiredness and/or change from driving on the right hand to the left hand side of road.

8. Consumption of alcohol by any driver
Blood alcohol level should be zero during all driving activities. It is an absolute rule that a driver does not consume any alcohol during or for an appropriate period before any journey. As a guide only - it takes one hour for an average person to metabolise the alcohol from one half pint of average strength beer. Accordingly, it can take eight hours or longer to metabolise all the alcohol from four pints of beer and therefore if driving the next morning care should be exercised with regard to how much alcohol is consumed the evening before. If in doubt, no alcohol should be consumed on the evening before driving.

9. Medication
Drivers must adhere to any guidance accompanying medication, prescribed or otherwise. If driving ability may be affected by such medication then no driving should be undertaken.

10. First Aid and Emergency Procedures if a vehicle is involved in an accident:
· Make sure all passengers are safe and if necessary summon the emergency services for assistance

· Obtain the registration number(s) and insurance details of any other vehicle(s) involved

· Take the names, addresses and if appropriate vehicle registration number of any witnesses and the number and base station of any Police Officer who attends

· Write down as soon as possible after the accident all relevant details in a precise manner

· Report all the above details to the Finance Office as soon as possible

· The legal requirements for providing information after an accident are summarised in Appendix Four.

11. Documentation
Drivers should carry their driving licences but, wherever possible, any hire agreement or insurance certificate should be kept by the school/section. The driver should carry details of insurance in order to exchange the information required in 11.

12. Overseas Travel
There are likely to be special insurance requirements for overseas travel. Check with the Finance Department and the operator of any hired vehicle.

13. Security of valuables.
Always remove all valuables such as Sat-Nav instruments and laptops from sight and preferably out of the vehicle altogether when parking up since it is possible to scan vehicles for equipment fitted with blue tooth technology such as laptops etc.   If such equipment must be left in the car lock it in the boot and not the glove compartment and don't leave them on standby - switch it off completely. 

14. Insurance
All questions of insurance should be addressed to Mike Devereaux, Management Accountant on extension 6251.

Last revised - 07.01.08

APPENDIX ONE

Additional requirements for the Safe Use of Minibuses

1. Introduction
a) The skill and care exercised by the driver is undoubtedly the most important aspect of minibus safety. Driving a minibus, especially a fully- laden one over long distances, is much more demanding than driving a large car. The weight and the size of the vehicle are greater. In addition the driver takes on the responsibility for the safety of passengers.

b) The RoSPA booklet "Essential Minibus Driving" contains useful hints and all drivers should be issued with a copy by their School/Department. Supplies can be obtained from RoSPA, Cannon House, The Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 6BS. Tel: 0121 248 2000.

2. Definition
Minibuses are defined as vehicles "Constructed or adapted to carry more than eight, but not more than sixteen passengers, in addition to the driver".

3. Seatbelts
All minibuses purchased, leased or hired must have seat belts fitted to all seats. These should, as far as possible, be lap and diagonal belts, but where this is not feasible lap belts should be fitted. New minibuses must not have any sideways facing seats.

4. Minibus speed limits
a) The relevant limits for minibuses not towing a trailer towing a trailer are:
Motorways - 70 m.p.h.
Dual Carriageways - 60m.p.h.
Other roads where a lower limit is not signposted - 50 m.p.h.

b) The relevant linits for minibuses towing a trailer are:
Motorways - 60 m.p.h.
N.BThe outer (overtaking) lane of a three or four lane motorway must not be used
Dual Carriageways - 60 m.p.h.
Other roads where a lower limit is not signposted 50 m.p.h. .

5. Loading of minibuses
The number of people and the weight of luggage carried must not exceed the maximum limits specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle. If a large amount of luggage is to be carried it may be necessary to reduce the number of passengers in order to remain within the maximum loading limits. All luggage that may shift due to the movement of the vehicle must be safely secured. The use of roof racks must comply with the guidance given by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

6. Towing of Trailers
a) If a trailer is being towed no passengers may be carried behind the front row of seats unless there is a side door which is easily accessible to passengers.

b) Before towing a trailer, the following checks must be carried out to ensure that the vehicle being used is appropriate for this use:
· that the gross weight of the vehicle plus the trailer is within the vehicle gross weight limit
· that the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle is clearly marked on the front nearside of the vehicle
· that the downward force from the loaded trailer on the towing ball is within the limits imposed by the towing vehicle manufacturer
· that the axle loads of the towing vehicle are not exceeded
· that a breakaway chain is in use, which will activate the handbrake should the coupling break. Advice on this matter should be sought from the trailer manufacturer or approved dealer
· that the unladen weight of the trailer and trailer tyre pressures are clearly marked on the trailer
· that the total gross weight (trailer weight plus maximum load to be carried) is clearly marked on the front of the trailer
· that the trailer handbrake/overrun brake functions properly
· that the trailer lights and indicators work
· that the load is securely lashed to the trailer body or frame
· that there is suitable marking of any rear overhang greater than one metre by using a "Long Vehicle" sign or other approved method (e.g. warning tape) or an approved light in hours of darkness or bad weather.

c) When towing a trailer drivers must be very cautious about the vehicle speed. Vehicle/trailer combinations can become unstable at speeds below the legal maximum, particularly when being passed by fast moving large vehicles, in windy conditions, or when manoeuvring. On long journeys the trailer and vehicle should be checked at least once every two hours of travel.

d) Users of boat trailers are strongly advised to refer to the Amateur Rowing Association's booklet "Towing of Boat Trailers".

8. Overseas Travel
Vehicles seating more than 9 and travelling outside the British Isles will encounter different driving and transport regulations in Continental EC countries, and different standards again outside the EC. Minibuses driven outside the British Isles require 'own account certificates' if they are College owned and 'waybills' if hired. Check requirements with the Safety Office if in doubt.

9. Administrative
a) The Heads of all departments that own or regularly hire minibuses must nominate a member of staff or have other effective mechanisms to oversee compliance with this code of practice.

b) It is often an advantage in dealing with an emergency to have knowledge of the identities of the people present in the minibus. Wherever practicable a system should be in place whereby this information will be available. In the case of journeys organised by a school, the names could be kept on a list within the school.

APPENDIX TWO

Driving Licence Requirements for Driving a Minibus

1. Minibuses are defined as vehicles "constructed or adapted to carry more than eight but not more than sixteen passengers, in addition to the driver". The legal requirements relating to minibus driving licences depend upon whether the vehicle is being driven for 'hire and reward'. 'Hire or reward' encompasses any payment in cash or kind by (or on behalf of) passengers which gives them the right to be carried. Current opinion is that the driving of students in minibuses for non-social purposes such as field trips is likely to be viewed by a court of law as being for 'hire and reward'.

2. To drive a minibus for 'hire or reward' a driver will normally need a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) D1 or D licence. To obtain this the driver must meet higher medical standards and take a further driving test. However, the College has a number of 'Minibus Permits' which remove this strict requirement. The age and driving licence requirements for driving a minibus covered by a College permit on a journey within the UK are therefore:

a) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full United Kingdom driving licence to drive a car issued before 1 January 1997 - shown as group A (B for automatics) on an old style licence or as category B and D1 not for hire and reward on a new style licence OR

b) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full driving licence to drive a car issued by a member state of the European Community. The licence must have been issued before that state implemented the Second EC Directive on the Driving Licence (91/439/EEC). The licence must indicate that it is valid for driving minibuses with more than 8 passengers plus the driver OR

c) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full driving licence, issued either by the United Kingdom or by another member state of the European Community, to drive Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) Category D1

Note therefore: College employees with UK driving licences issued after 1 January 1997 will not be able to drive minibuses without passing the full PCV, D1 test.

3. The age and licence requirements to tow a trailer with a minibus on a College permit.
a) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full United Kingdom driving licence to drive a car and the licence must have been issued before 1 January 1997 OR

b) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full driving licence to drive a car issued by a member state of the European Community. The licence must have been issued before that state implemented the Second EC Directive on the Driving Licence (91/439/EEC). The licence must indicate that it is valid for driving minibuses with more than 8 passengers plus the driver OR

c) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full driving licence, issued either by the United Kingdom or by another member state of the European Community, to drive Passenger Carrying Vehicles Category D1. The maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer must not exceed 750kg OR

d) the driver must be aged 25 or over and hold a full driving licence, issued either by the United Kingdom or by another member state of the European Community, to drive Passenger Carrying Vehicles Category D1+E. The combined MAM of the trailer and the towing vehicle must not exceed 12 tonnes and the laden weight of the trailer must not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

4. Display of minibus permits
A minibus permit disc must be fixed to the inside of the windscreen so that it can be easily seen from outside the vehicle but does not obstruct the driver's view of the road.

5. Overseas travel
In addition to 'own account certificates' and waybills (see Appendix One, Section 8) drivers of vehicles with more than 9 seats require a full PCV D1 Licence. Minibus permits do not apply abroad.

APPENDIX THREE

Approval of drivers to drive minibuses

This form must be completed before driving any College vehicle or vehicle hired for College business. On completion it must be signed by the Head of School/section.

Section 1 - To be completed by all drivers

a) I confirm that I am 25 years of age or over.

b) I confirm that my driving licence is free/is not free*+ from endorsements

c) I understand that any future endorsements/convictions will be reported to the person completing Section 2 below before driving a College vehicle or vehicle hired for College business again and this may result in suspension of my approval to drive such vehicles.

d) I confirm that I hold: - * a full United Kingdom driving licence to drive a car OR
* a full driving licence to drive a car issued by a member state of the European Community

e) For drivers of minibuses only - I confirm that I hold * a full United Kingdom driving licence to drive a car category A (B for automatics) and that the licence was issued before 1 January 1997 OR

* a full driving licence to drive a car issued by a member state of the European Community issued before that state implemented the Second EC Directive on the Driving Licence (91/439/EEC). The licence indicates that it is valid for driving minibuses with more than 8 passengers plus the driver OR

* a full driving licence, issued either by the United Kingdom or by another member state of the European Community, to drive Passenger Carrying Vehicles Category D1

Name: ____________________________ Department: _______________________ (PLEASE PRINT) Licence Number: ____________________ Category: ____________________
Signed: ____________________________ Date: ________________________

Section 2
Approval by Head of School/section or person designated by the Head of School/section

The above named person is approved to drive a vehicle owned by the College or hired for College business.

Signed: ____________________________ Date: ________________________

* delete whichever statement is inapplicable
+ if the licence is not free from endorsements, the Head of School/section may permit the applicant to drive a minibus, subject to any restrictions imposed by the insurance policy covering the minibus.

The College reserves the right to refuse to approve any driver.

APPENDIX FOUR

Legal Requirements for providing information after an accident

The information below is taken from The Highway Code, 1993

If you are involved in an accident which causes damage or injury to any other person, or other vehicle, or any animal (horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog) not in your vehicle or roadside property

You MUST:

· stop;

· give your own and the vehicle owner's name and address and the registration number of the vehicle to anyone having reasonable grounds for requiring them;

· if you do not give your name and address at the time of the accident, report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours.

If any other person is injured and you do not produce you insurance certificate at the time of the accident to the police or to anyone who with reasonable grounds has requested it, you MUST also:

· report the accident to the police as soon as possible, and in any case within 24 hours;

· produce your insurance certificate to the police either when reporting the accident or within seven days at any police station you select.

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Health & Safety Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Tel: 020 7631 6218, email: healthandsafety@bbk.ac.uk