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Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999

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(see regulation 50)

SCHEDULE 6Construction Requirements of Minibuses

Definitions

In this Schedule—

“driver’s door” means a door for use by the driver;

“emergency door” means a door for use by passengers in an emergency; and

“service door” means a door for use by passengers in normal circumstances.

Exhaust pipes

1.  The outlet of an exhaust pipe fitted to a minibus shall be either at the rear or on the off side of the vehicle.

Doors — number and position

2.—(1) A minibus shall be fitted with at least—

(a)one service door on the near side of the vehicle; and

(b)one emergency door either at the rear or on the off side of the vehicle so, however, that an emergency door fitted on the off side of the vehicle shall be in addition to the driver’s door and there shall be no requirement for an emergency door on a minibus if it has a service door at the rear in addition to the service door on the near side.

(2) A minibus shall not be fitted with any door on its offside other than a driver’s door and an emergency door.

Emergency doors

3.  An emergency door fitted to a minibus, whether or not required pursuant to these Regulations, shall—

(a)be clearly marked, in letters not less than 25 mm high, on both the inside and the outside, “EMERGENCY DOOR” or “FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY”, and the means of its operation shall be clearly indicated on or near the door;

(b)if hinged, open outwards;

(c)be capable of being operated manually; and

(d)when fully opened, given an aperture in the body of the vehicle not less than 1210mm high nor less than 530mm wide.

Power-operated doors

4.—(1) A power-operated door fitted to a minibus shall—

(a)incorporate transparent panels so as to enable a person immediately inside the door to see a person immediately outside the door;

(b)be capable of being operated by a mechanism controlled by the driver of the vehicle when in the driving seat;

(c)be capable, in the event of an emergency or a failure of the supply of power for the operation of the door, of being opened from both inside and outside the vehicle by controls which—

(i)over-ride all other controls.

(ii)are placed on, or adjacent to, the door, and

(iii)are accompanied by markings which clearly indicate their position and method of operation and state that they may not be used by passengers except in an emergency.

(d)have a soft edge so that a trapped finger is unlikely to be injured; and

(e)be controlled by a mechanism by virtue of which if the door, when closing, meets a resistance exceeding 150 Newtons, either

  • the door will cease to close and begin to open, or

  • the closing force will cease and the door will become capable of being opened manually.

(2) A minibus shall not be equipped with a system for the storage or transmission of energy in respect of the opening or closing of a door which, either in normal operation or if the system fails, is capable of adversely affecting the operation of the vehicle’s braking system.

Locks, handles and hinges of doors

5.  A minibus shall not be fitted with—

(a)a door which can be locked from the outside unless, when so locked, it is capable of being opened from inside the vehicle when stationary;

(b)a handle or other device for opening a door, other than the driver’s door, from inside the vehicle unless the handle or other device is designed so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the accidental opening of the door, and is fitted with a guard or transparent cover or so designed that it must be raised to open the door;

(c)a door which is not capable of being opened, when not locked, from inside and outside the vehicle by a single movement of the handle or other device for opening the door;

(d)a door in respect of which there is not a device capable of holding the door closed so as to prevent a passenger falling through the doorway;

(e)a side door which opens outwards and is hinged at the edge nearest the rear of the vehicle except in the case of a door having more than one rigid panel;

(f)a door, other than a power-operated door, in respect of which there is not either—

(i)a slam lock of the two-stage type; or

(ii)a device by means of which the driver, when occupying the driver’s seat, is informed if the door is not securely closed, such device being operated by movement of the handle or other device for opening the door or, in the case of a handle or other device with a spring-return mechanism, by movement of the door as well as of the handle or other device.

  • Provided that sub-paragraphs (a), (c), (d) and (f) shall not apply to a near side rear door forming part of a pair of doors fitted at the rear of a vehicle if that door is capable of being held securely closed by the other door of that pair.

View of doors

6.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), a minibus shall be fitted with mirrors or other means so that the driver, when occupying the driver’s seat, can see clearly the area immediately inside and outside the service doors of the vehicle.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) shall be deemed to be satisfied in respect of a rear service door if a person 1.3m tall standing 1m behind the vehicle is visible to the driver when occupying the driver’s seat.

Access to doors

7.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), there shall be unobstructed access from every passenger seat in a minibus to at least two doors one of which must be on the near side of the vehicle and one of which must be either at the rear or on the offside of the vehicle.

(2) Access to one only of the doors referred to in sub-paragraph (1) may be obstructed by either or both—

(a)a seat which when tilted or folded does not obstruct access to that door; and

(b)a lifting platform or ramp which—

(i)does not obstruct the handle or other device on the inside for opening the door with which the platform or ramp is associated, and

(ii)when the door is open, can be pushed or pulled out of the way from the inside so as to leave the doorway clear for use in an emergency.

Grab handles and hand rails

8.  A minibus shall be fitted as respects every side service door with a grab handle or a handrail to assist passengers to get on or off the vehicle.

Seats

9.—(1) A seat shall not be fitted to a door of a minibus.

(2) Seats and wheelchair anchorages fitted to a minibus shall be fixed to the vehicle.

(3) A seat, other than a wheelchair, fitted to a minibus shall not be less than 400mm wide, and in ascertaining the width of a seat no account shall be taken of arm-rests, whether or not they are folded back or otherwise put out of use.

(4) A minibus shall not be fitted with an anchorage for a wheelchair in such a manner that a wheelchair secured to the anchorage would face either side of the vehicle.

(5) A minibus shall not be fitted with a seat—

(a)facing either side of the vehicle and immediately forward of a rear door unless the seat is fitted with an arm-rest or similar device to guard against a passenger on that seat falling through the doorway; or

(b)so placed that a passenger on it would, without protection, be liable to be thrown through a doorway which is provided with a power-operated door or down steps, unless the vehicle is fitted with a screen or guard which affords adequate protection against that occurrence.

Electrical equipment and wiring

10.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) a minibus shall not be fitted with any—

(a)electrical circuit which is liable to carry a current exceeding that for which it was designed;

(b)cable for the conduct of electricity unless it is suitably insulated and protected from damage;

(c)electrical circuit, other than a charging circuit, which includes equipment other than—

(i)a starter motor,

(ii)a glow plug,

(iii)an ignition circuit, and

(iv)a device to stop the vehicle’s engine,

unless it includes a fuse or circuit breaker so, however, that one fuse or circuit breaker may serve more than one circuit; or

(d)electrical circuit with a voltage exceeding 100 volts unless there is connected in each pole of the main supply of electricity which is not connected to earth a manually-operated switch which is—

(i)capable of disconnecting the circuit, or, if there is more than one, every circuit, from the main supply,

(ii)not capable of disconnecting any circuit supplying any lamp with which the vehicle is required to be fitted, and

(iii)located inside the vehicle in a position readily accessible to the driver.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not apply to a high tension ignition circuit or a circuit within a unit of equipment.

Fuel tanks

11.  A minibus shall not be fitted with a fuel tank or apparatus for the supply of fuel which is in the compartments or other spaces provided for the accommodation of the driver or passengers.

Lighting of steps

12.  A minibus shall be provided with lamps to illuminate every step at a passenger exit or in a gangway.

General construction and maintenance

13.  A minibus, including all bodywork and fittings, shall be soundly and properly constructed of suitable materials and maintained in good and serviceable condition, and shall be of such design as to be capable of withstanding the loads and stresses likely to be met in the normal operation of the vehicle.

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