SOV S19 Permit - Drivers

Hello all,

I know the Section 19 Permit and SOV’s issues have been discussed to death but I need your input for the following scenario please.

Our Sqn has an SOV. We have a S19 Permit for said vehicle.
My Sector Commander has offered to drive the SOV to take cadets to an SMS activity. The Sector Commander is not on our Sqn SMS.

Sqn insurance permits them to drive the SOV.

The Sector Commander holds D1.

Can they drive the SOV?

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Insurance will also be something you should think about.

Ours states only members of the named organisation (our squadron) can drive.

Thanks. I’ve amended the post now.

This came up at our wing conference earlier in the year. The Wing HQ (for which your Sect Cdr is a member of) should also have a Permit 19.

Also, should be no reason why you can’t add the Sect Cdr to the SMS event.

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Just make the sector commander supernumerary to the unit, then they’re technically a part of the unit so it should be fine!

(This is not legal advice, never listen to me!)

Just do not do what someone in my wing has done (not sure if they still do…) But drive the SOV with only a B entitlement and claiming the permit 19 allows you to…

But that’s the great thing about P19, is that a B class only holder can drive a minibus so long as certain conditions are met. Mainly that they’ve had their license for 2 years and the total weight is under 3.5T! No D1 required!

At least I think so…

While I too thought this was a thing, I can’t see it on the Gov Website . . .

The same page you linked to says here you can! :wink:

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Oh Yes, Section 9.1

Well you can……as long as the bus isn’t too heavy.

Excepts it’s over 3,5t,

Careful: the wording says ‘maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes’. That’s not the same as the actual weight on the day: it means it must be certified for a MGW of 3.5t or less, so you can’t get around it by only putting a handful of people in it.

FWIW my school used to operate using B drivers and a S19 permit and we bought vehicles with <3.5t MGW but we suspected that a number of trips were being made over weight, so we replaced them all with vehicles with (IIRC) 4.2t MGW and just accepted that B drivers would need to do a D1 course. Driving a vehicle over its MGW is illegal and will invalidate your insurance.

tl;dr the exemption for B drivers to drive minibuses isn’t worth the hassle


There are companies making minibuses specifying aimed at this exemption now. Normally called lite or similar. Made a light weight as possible so you can fill the bus :grinning:

Rule of thumb. If a minibus has 4 tyres then it is likely to be 3.5 ton, it it has 6 tyres (two pair on the rear axle) then likely to be 4.25 ton.
Exceptions to this rule are French minibuses where they use larger tyres and vehicles with 4 tyres are 4.25 ton.
Another rule of thumb is if a minbus has 11,13,14 seats it is usually 3.5 ton. if 17 seats likely to be 4.25 ton.
Also my understanding was up to 3.5 ton P19 over 3.5 then D1 was needed (but this was not proven in case law).
Furthermore. With a P19 you can only tow trailers up to 750kg no matter the towing weight of the vehicle. If trailer was over 750kg a D1 is needed no matter what the towing vehicle is.

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If the trailer is over 750kg, you’d need a D1+E licence. D1 only allows up to 750kg to be towed.

Haven’t the trailer rules been ditched due to the covid backlog?

I was about to say I think that’s changed - but I don’t know specifically for minibuses.

The problem with the lightweight minibuses is it’s still easy to over fill them and unless you have a weighbridge you won’t know.

My understanding is that that’s only for B licences (ie B+E is no longer a thing) but I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

That’s correct - it’s only for B+E. You still need to do a +E test to tow trailers over 750kg MAM on a minibus.