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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > Do you need a special license to drive an RV?

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frankgibbons1947

Small City, NY

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Posted: 11/23/19 10:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was searching in the forums related to a topic regarding the special license required to drive an RV.

Unfortunately, nothing shows up. So, I've decided to create a topic about it.

If you’re looking at an especially large RV, it is important to note that there are a few states that will require a special license. Read more.

DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 11/23/19 11:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That web page has some erroneous information on it (as do many others I've seen). No state should require a genuine CDL to drive any RV for personal noncommercial use, as what constitutes a commercial vehicle for CDL purposes, as well as the various classes of CDLs and similar base requirements, are all defined at the federal level. Recreational vehicles are specifically exempted as not being commercial vehicles when driven for personal, noncommercial use.

This is a good thing, as a CDL carries with it a considerable amount of administrative overhead and additional regulations: mandatory rest periods and logging of the same, periodic random drug tests, annual pysical exams, and so forth. That's in addition to the training and testing of actual driving skills.

Several states do require non-commercial licenses different than those for standard passenger cars, at least for large RVs, and often but not always the classes of these non-commercial licenses parallel those of CDLs (i.e. they take effect at the same vehicle weights). The best guide is to check with the DMV or equivalent for your state. If your license covers the vehicle in the state it's issued in, you can use it in any other state legally; though that doesn't guarantee that the vehicle setup itself would be legal in all other states. One example of this is double towing: in some states it's simply not permitted at all.





ROBERTSUNRUS

Salem, Oregon

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Posted: 11/23/19 11:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[emoticon] Hi, I can't drive my RV because it's a TRAILER. Are you asking about a MOTORHOME?


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Ava

Vancouver Island. BC Canada

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Posted: 11/23/19 11:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In Canada if you have a rig with air brakes, you need an air brake endorsment on your license. Not sure about different US states

romore

Okanagan valley British Columbia

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Posted: 11/23/19 11:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is a provincial regulation so varies. I looked after a fleet of light and medium duty trucks for a helicopter company, it drove me nuts trying trying to keep up with different regulations as they tried to out duel each other.
I don't need a special license to drive a moho but must have a special endorsement or class 1 cdl for a trailer over 10,000#. Air brakes also require an endorsement but I don't know if it is a different course than commercial which is not really relevant for our purposes. Check with your dmv for the final word.

bikendan

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Posted: 11/24/19 02:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

frankgibbons1947 wrote:

I was searching in the forums related to a topic regarding the special license required to drive an RV.

Unfortunately, nothing shows up. So, I've decided to create a topic about it.

If you’re looking at an especially large RV, it is important to note that there are a few states that will require a special license. Read more.


In case you don't know, motorhomes/5th wheels/travel trailers/popups/truck campers are all considered RVs.


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wa8yxm

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Posted: 11/24/19 04:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most of the web pages I've seen about RV related legal stuff like

"Do you need a special license"
Or
What can you tow (single or double)
Or
DO you need brakes on the trailer

All have errors.

This is the only answer I'd trust: Your millage may vary.
By that I mean the answer depends on WHERE you live and WHAT you drive/tow

Some states require a special endorsement. Some require it if you are over xxxxx pounds... And the number of pounds varies from state to state. YOUR HOME STATE (That is the one that issues your license) makes the decidsions.

EXAMPLE. at Less than 26,000 pounds from Michigan I need only an "Operators" (Standard Driver's license)

IN Texas over 26000 pounds I'd need an endorsement. Under 26000 I do not know. Actually I do not know if it's 26000 pounds either.


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gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 11/24/19 04:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ava wrote:

In Canada if you have a rig with air brakes, you need an air brake endorsment on your license. Not sure about different US states

I think Pennsylvania requires an Air Brake Endorsement.

Captain_Happy

Pahrump, Nevada

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Posted: 11/24/19 06:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to check with your own state DWV requirements. Every state is different.

magicbus

Nantucket Island, MA

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Posted: 11/24/19 06:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From your New York DMV:

"A driver with a Class D license can now operate a personal use vehicle (for example a rental vehicle or a recreational vehicle or RV) with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less that tows another vehicle that has a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more, but the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of the two vehicles together must be 26,000 lbs. or less.

Note: The requirement for an "R" endorsement (Class D or Class E license) to operate a recreational vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more remains in effect."

From another site, the "R" endorsement is apparently a driving test to show proficiency but I can't seem to find that information on the NY DMV site.

Dave


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