Vehicle standards required for minibuses
used for the DSA practical driving test

If you wish to use your own organisation's minibus for the PCV D1 practical driving test, you may wish to check that your minibus conforms to the MTV (minimum test vehicles) specifications.

These MTV specifications are:

  • The minibus must be unladen and be capable of a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • Constructed with 9-16 passenger seats
  • Minimum length of 5 metres; maximum authorised mass 4 tonnes (Beware! most older minibuses have only a MAM of 3.5 tonnes, and some of the newer minibuses only up to 3.9 tonnes.)
  • The minibus must be fitted with Anti lock brakes and a tachograph

D1+E (category upgrades with heavier trailers)

  • The trailer used must have a maximum authorised mass of 1.25 tonnes with a closed box bodied cargo compartment of at least 2 metres wide and 2 metres high


To comply with health and safety recommendations, a two or three point seat belt must be fitted for use by the driving test examiner or any person supervising the test.

Mirrors for the use of the examiner

Irrespective of the date vehicles were first registered, all vehicles used for a D1, D1 + E, D and D + E practical driving tests must have externally mounted nearside and offside mirrors for use by the examiner or any person supervising the test.

Other vehicles not suitable for the practical driving test

Stretched limousines and prison vans based on a lorry chassis are not suitable vehicles for a PCV (category D or D1) practical driving test

If your minibus does not conform to these specifications, your driving test could be cancelled by the examiner with no refund of any test fees. If in doubt, please check with your local DSA (Driving Standards Agency) test centre.

High visibility jackets

PCV practical driving tests are usually conducted from the premises of VOSA testing stations. VOSA have a policy of the wearing of high visibility jackets whilst in testing areas, including the driving test area.

Therefore you are advised to wear a high visibility jacket or vest whilst undertaking the first part of your driving test. i.e. “show me” and “tell me” safety questions, The S- shaped reverse into a parking bay, the braking exercise and demonstrating the uncoupling and re-coupling procedure if taking a test with a trailer. 

The safety of minibuses on the test

Driving test regulations require a candidate to provide a suitable vehicle for the purposes of the test. This means that the vehicle must be roadworthy, taxed, insured, and of such a construction and design to enable the examiner to conduct the appropriate test properly. In addition, all vehicles presented for test, must meet the minimum test vehicle (MTV) specifications

These include having working lights, seatbelts, mirrors, integral head restraints, seats which allow examiners a proper view,etc. If any vehicle presented for a test does not meet the required suitability or MTV standards, the examiner will refuse to proceed with the test.

..other safety hazards!

Vehicles presented for test often have other potential problems which may make them unsafe for examiners. These include the following – there are others not illustrated here.

Objects such as mobile phone bracket, placed in the deployment area of the passenger/examiner airbag. This could render the airbag useless in the event of an accident.

Mobile phone brackets, fire extinguishers, etc, intruding into the examiner’s space. They could injure the examiner in the event of an accident.

Items such as pens stuck into air vents, loose objects on dashboards, loose objects on the floor on the examiners side’ side or on the rear passenger seats which could fly around in an accident and injure the examiner or candidate.

Avoid cancelled tests

Please make sure your test vehicles have no hidden safety problems, to protect examiners and your candidates, and prevent the disappointment of cancelled tests. If in doubt, please contact your local test centre.

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This website is only intended for general guidance and advice only, it is not a legal document.
Therefore you should seek your own legal advice if you have doubts with any of the issues contained within.