A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

The vanlife => Living and travelling... in a van => Topic started by: samwilsonsounds on January 27, 2016, 03:55:52 PM

Title: Driving a converted LDV convoy minibus abroad (licence issues)
Post by: samwilsonsounds on January 27, 2016, 03:55:52 PM
Hi all

I've just joined and hope that some information may be gleaned from your experiences!

I've just bought an LDV convoy minibus 3.5t (school bus) 2002 with 16 passenger seats. I'm in a band and we're removing seats to leave 6 in total (including the driver - me!) to use for an upcoming tour in April. We have great plans for the conversion but that's for another topic!

I passed my test in 2005 and DO NOT have a cat D1 minibus on my licence. However, after a bit of research and email exchange with the DVLA I have learnt that I am allowed to drive the vehicle in the UK as I am over 21, have passed over 2 years ago, and am driving voluntarily - not for hire or reward.

All good so far, except our tour starts in the UK and then enters Europe. My research led me to the following site https://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/finance/fcs-CTAMinibus_Legal_Going_to_Europe.pdf (https://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/finance/fcs-CTAMinibus_Legal_Going_to_Europe.pdf) which states the following:
On the January 1st 1997 new driver licensing rules came into force. Drivers who have passed their first test from that date no longer automatically receive minibus Category D1 (restricted) on their licence. Exemptions that exist in this country to allow these new drivers to drive minibuses in limited circumstances do not apply outside the UK. To drive a minibus abroad “new” drivers must sit a PCV test for either Category D (vehicles having more than 16 passengers seats, excluding the driver) or D1 (vehicles having no more than 16 passenger seats, excluding the driver).

Damn! Seeing as the vehicle I'm driving is only going to have 6 seats and will be standard car weight (under 3.5t) does anyone have experience of driving like this abroad and using the number of seats as a loophole to avoid the D1 licence issue. Feels a bit dodgy to me but I'm not keen on taking a PCV test unless I absolutely have to. If it's a definite no no we'll probably have to look into alternative transport abroad. I know that the LDV convoys are a common van to convert to campers so presumably someone must have been in my position if they've been looking to travel abroad and passed their test post '97. Are the authorities likely to know that the vehicle was built originally as a minibus class, or are they more likely to just see the 6 seats and class it as a standard van / camper.

Any advice or help will be much appreciated!

Sam (wannabe pop star)
Title: Re: Driving a converted LDV convoy minibus abroad (licence issues)
Post by: kryten on January 27, 2016, 06:19:56 PM
The only towo options I can come up with is 1) Take the PCV test or 2) Convert it into a basic motorhome with 6 seats and register that with DVLA.
Title: Re: Driving a converted LDV convoy minibus abroad (licence issues)
Post by: samwilsonsounds on January 27, 2016, 07:23:44 PM
Thanks! I actually thought of option 2 after posting. We weren't going to be adding things like water storage, cooking equipment, table etc though as we need room for instruments. So I'm not sure if it will be able to be classed as a motorhome, but perhaps we can get it classed as a van body type instead?