Most of the rules and advice given to drivers in chapter 5 apply to drivers of commercial vehicles.

To drive a vehicle other than a private car, light goods vehicle or motorcycle, you must be aged at least 21, have held a driving licence for a private car for more than three years and have a valid driving licence for the appropriate vehicle class. Information on the different types of driving licence and driving tests may be obtained from any Licensing Office of the Transport Department.

The heavier the vehicle the longer the braking distance. For a heavy vehicle the distance may be twice the distance needed by a car. So keep a longer distance between your vehicle and the one in front than is normal for a car driver. ( See pages 46 and 47.)

Goods vehicles

The maximum speed limit for medium and heavy goods vehicles is 70 km/h. You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the road or your vehicle, whichever is the lower.

Under the Road Traffic (Expressway) Regulations, medium and heavy goods vehicles are prohibited from using the offside lane of an expressway where there are three or more lanes available, unless it is necessary to do so in order to reach an off-side exit.

Dust, mud and other debris blown or dropped from a vehicle can be an inconvenience or a danger to other road users. You must properly secure a load - cover it if necessary. Keep your vehicle clean, for example by sweeping the trailer floor or washing mud off the tyres before leaving a construction site.

You must not smoke in or near a vehicle carrying inflammable or explosive goods.

Passengers, including members of any work crew, should be carried only on properly provided and secured seats. Passengers should not sit on loads or in the load-carrying part of the vehicle.

Do not allow passengers to get on or off your vehicle when it is in motion.

Buses and minibuses

There are additional rules for the driving and operation of buses, coaches and minibuses. These rules are contained in the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations and in the conditions for the passenger service licence for your vehicle. Ask your employer about these and other rules that apply to you if you drive a public service vehicle.

Under the Road Traffic (Expressway) Regulations, public light buses are prohibited from entering an expressway unless specially authorised and buses are prohibited from using the offside lane of an expressway where there are three or more lanes available, unless it is necessary to do so in order to reach an offside exit.

Any driving action you take, whether it be changing speed or direction or stopping, must be carried out in a manner that does not put your passengers at risk. You must drive with consideration for your passengers, as well as other road users.

After picking up passengers do not move off until they are properly seated or, if permitted to stand, are able to grasp a secure handrail or hand hold. Passengers may change seats or move towards the exit door while the vehicle is moving. Therefore driving actions should be carried out smoothly and gradually.

The maximum speed limit for buses is 70 km/h. You must not drive faster than this speed or the speed limit for the road on which you are travelling, whichever is the lower.

Taxis

There are additional rules for the driving and operation of taxis. Information about these rules can be obtained from any Licensing Office of the Transport Department.

Bus lanes

Bus lanes are for franchised buses use only. If the 'Bus lane' signs indicate, other buses or permit holders may also use a bus lane.

When using a bus lane during its period of operation look out for other road users. Cyclists are permitted to use a bus lane - give them plenty of room when overtaking and be prepared for sudden sideways movements. Pedestrians may step unexpectedly into the bus lane or wait at the edge of the bus lane on the bus lane marking when crossing the road. Drivers may drive into a bus lane to gain access to premises or when taking evasive action. If the traffic in the normal lanes is moving slowly or is stationary then look out for pedestrians emerging from between vehicles.

(See pages 57 and 58 for more information on bus lanes.)