Do You Need a CDL for an RV?
Driving an RV cross country has to be one of the most liberating experiences. You get to go on vacation, see the sights, and it feels like you are in the comfort of your own home.
When it comes to the driving aspect of it, you might be wondering if your regular driver’s license is enough to drive an RV, or do you need a CDL for an RV? If you don’t know what a CDL is, or you have never thought about special license requirements, you have come to the right place.
What is a CDL?
First things first, a CDL is a “commercial driver’s license,” and it is required in the United States in order to drive a commercial vehicle, such as a truck or a bus. If you are looking for a career on the road, you will most likely require a CDL.
However, what about an RV? An RV is not a commercial vehicle, but it can still be a very large vehicle. The rules and regulations surrounding the size of an RV in relation to the need for a commercial driver’s license can be a bit complicated, so we will do our best to explain.
RV Classes and Driver’s License Requirements
Something that is important to cover here is what kind of license you need to drive a motor home, and this is going to depend on the size of the RV in question. Smaller RVs may not require any kind of special license besides your own driver’s license, where some of the larger vehicles may require you to have a special driver’s license.
Something that you should be aware of is that most US states will require some sort of special driver’s license to operate an RV that is over 26,000 pounds.
So, in most cases, if you have an average RV or motorhome, you won’t need any special license, but there are special circumstances where you may require something like a CDL. There are three main classes of RVs which need to be covered here.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs or motor homes are the largest of all types, and these can weigh anywhere from 13,000 to 30,000 pounds, or more. Yes, these are some very large vehicles, and as you might be able to guess, this is one of the types of RVs where you will most likely require a special kind of license to drive it.
That said, in most US states, as long as the RV is under that 26,000 pound limit when fully loaded, and has less than 16 passengers, you probably won’t need a special license.
Class B RVs
Class B motor homes and RVs are smaller than class A motor RVs, as these usually weigh anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. With these RVs, chances are you won’t ever need any special kind of license to drive them. There are actually no US states where you need a special driver’s license to drive a class B RV.
Class C RVs
Class C RVs are like a combination of class A and Class B RVs. They usually come with the nice features and amenities of the class A models, but don’t weigh nearly as much, more like the class B models. Class C RVs typically do not weigh over 12,000 pounds, so it is very unlikely that you will be faced with any special license requirements.
Which States Have Special Laws Regarding RV Driver’s Licenses?
We have now covered the various classes of RVs, as well as if you may need a special license to drive them based on their class and size. However, that said, each US state does have its own laws and regulations, so we have listed these below.
Keep in mind that we have done our best to ensure that all laws listed here are up to date. However, for 100% confirmation, it is recommended that you check with the state government.
US States which Require a CDL to Drive an RV
There are some US states which require a commercial driver’s license for you to operate any RV that is over the 26,000 pound weight limit.
Keep in mind that this also applies to several vehicles; in other words, if you have a truck and a trailer, which combined weigh over 26,000 pounds, you may still require a CDL. Here are the states which require a CDL for any RV over 26,000 pounds.
- New Mexico
- Washington, D.C.
US States Which Require a Noncommercial Driver’s License
Here we have a group of states which may require you to get a special license to drive any vehicles over 26,000 pounds, such as large RVs. However, although you may need a noncommercial driver’s license in these states, you most likely will not require a CDL.
- North Carolina
- New York
- South Carolina
US States Which Do Not Require a Special License
For the most part, US states are pretty lax when it comes to laws regarding the driving of RVs. Here is a list of states which do not require any kind of special license to drive any kind of RV.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
When it comes to the question of whether you need a CDL for an RV, in most cases, the answer is no. Only in some states, if you have a very large Class A RV, you are required to have a CDL.