Tiredness, Travel and the Risks


When out on the road it is important for the driver to be fully alert and the best of health. With the school community regularly using minibuses and the vehicle carrying 8 to 16 passengers, safety should be taken seriously.  Research shows that around 20% of major accidents on the road are caused by fatigue. A tired driver is more likely to speed due to lack of attention creating a 50% higher chance of an accident, resulting in serious consequences. With tiredness being easily avoidable, peoples’ lives and the school’s reputation are simple to keep safe.

As parents leave their children under the care of school staff, responsibility is key both in and out the classroom. With minibuses being used more frequently than ever before, it is vital that the driver has a full medical and visual assessment before taking children out on the road. The medical consists of a standard health check which includes a diabetes examination, blood pressure and family medical history. This must be performed by a certified GP as they can provide a certificate of health. The visual assessment is carried out by an optician, checking the persons vision and clarity. If the driver is taking prescribed medication there may be side effects, such as blurred vision to drowsiness, making an impact on the persons’ driving and reaction time. It is critical that the individual checks this and if in doubt talk to their doctor. The school must be made aware of anything that is affecting the driver. With a minibus holding at least 8 passengers, the drivers’ responsibility is heightened as it is not just their life they are looking after. 

Tiredness delays reactions, creates a lack of attention and affects a person’s judgement. To make for a safe journey and avoid any concern, here is what we (and the Highway Code) recommend.

  • Take a break for at least 15 minutes every 2 hours of driving.
  • Plan a route with petrol stations and rest stops, especially for long trips.
  • Always have a back up route in case incidents and delays occur.
  • Make sure there is more than 1 adult on board so the driver can pay full attention to the road and the children are looked after by other staff members.
  • If driving abroad we recommend 2 drivers on the journey as higher levels of concentration are required due to a difference in road safety.
  • Monitor the driver, speed and distance by installing a Tacograph (This is a legal requirement when travelling abroad).

Safety is not just for when the minibus is on the move:

  • Make sure the hazard warning lights are on when children are getting on and off the vehicle.
  • Make sure the hand break is on when the minibus has stopped.
  • Proceed with minibus checks before the journey, both interior and exterior.
  • Take a First Aid Kit.
  • Do not allow children to operate the doors.
  • Never leave young passengers on their own.

For further advice that call us on 0844 414 2906, or head to our Contacts Page.

Posted by:

John Couppleditch