Most of us who have purchased an RV assume that we can just hop in and go. But have you ever wondered if you need a special license to drive an RV?
In many cases, our current driver’s license may be all we need to navigate down the road in our Class A, B, or C rigs or trailers. But when does it become necessary to have a special license to drive an RV? Let’s review.
What is a Special License?
Let’s start by defining what constitutes a “special license.” For instance, this refers to any license that isn’t a passenger vehicle license. In other words, there are several types of endorsements that fall under a special license, like a motorcycle or a chauffeur endorsement.
There is also what is known as a CDL, an acronym for “Commercial Drivers License.” For example, over-the-road truckers have CDLs to operate 18 wheelers. School bus drivers are also required to have one to maneuver their vehicles through our neighborhoods, as are garbage truck drivers, and those that transport hazardous waste materials.
Lastly, the process to qualify for a commercial driver’s license is much more involved than our typical motor vehicle license. Not only do candidates have more in-depth and thorough testing, but they must also be over the age of 21, pass a medical examination and vision test, get a learner’s permit and go through a pre-trip inspection before they can take a road skill and driving examination.
Are RVers Required to Have a Special License?
Most special licenses to drive an RV are based on the weight of the RV. For instance, if your RV is less than 26,000 pounds then nothing more than a regular passenger vehicle license is needed.
Once you go over 26,000 lbs. however, that’s when special licenses kick in, and there are several different types.
States That Require a Non-Commercial Driver’s License
Class A non-commercial special license to drive an RV is required if you are driving a combination of vehicles/towing that weigh over 26,000 lbs. in these states:
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- Washington, D.C
Similarly, a Class B non-commercial special licenses are required if your RV weighs over 26,000 lbs. in these states:
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- Washington, D.C.
In addition, a Recreational Double R endorsements are required if you are towing a 5th wheel and a trailer behind in:
States That Require a Commercial Driver’s License
If your RV is over 26,000 pounds, a Commercial Drivers License is required in the following states:
- New York
- South Carolina
States That Do Not Require a Special License to Drive an RV
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Special License to Drive an RV in Canada
Lastly, if you are considering travel through Canada with your RV, all provinces now accept reciprocal licenses from The States. So, you will not need anything more than your current driver’s license to operate your vehicle in The Great White North.
In conclusion, the weight of your RV is the deciding factor if you indeed need a special license to drive an RV. It’s important to know the weight of your RV, or the combined weight of your truck and towable to determine if you are driving legally. If you want to know how to weigh your RV at a truck stop, read the guest article we wrote on how to do that.