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Old 08-19-2009, 09:22 PM   #1
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Drivers License Needs for 42' RV

We are looking at some 42' RV's. In Maine, we can drive a 42' RV with a standard automobile drivers license. I have read that some states require a special license for longer RV's.

Does anyone know if there are any states that would not legally allow me to drive a 42' RV in their state?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tllapointe View Post
We are looking at some 42' RV's. In Maine, we can drive a 42' RV with a standard automobile drivers license. I have read that some states require a special license for longer RV's.

Does anyone know if there are any states that would not legally allow me to drive a 42' RV in their state?

Thanks,
Tom
Tom,

It is my understanding that if your current standard license allows you to drive the 42 foot rig in your state then it is valid accross the country. Now if you took up permanent residence in another state then you would have to get the appropriate license for that juristiction.

Where I grew up the standard license was not considered an automobile license but a Class E(?) which allowed you to drive any combination asside from a tractor trailer that was less than 10 tons in combined weight for non-commercial purposes however I don't recall what the RV limitation was or if there was any. Here in Florida the standard drivers license allows you to drive any RV but does have an requirement for an air brake rider to be appended to it.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:59 PM   #3
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Thanks Neil. That's what I hoped.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:24 AM   #4
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Neil is correct. Every state has agreed to driver license reciprocity, so if your driving license is legal for your vehicle in your home state, it is good everywhere else as well. However, that reciprocity does not apply to the RV itself or your operation of it. You still have to follow the rules of the road in each state, including any weight or length restrictions. California, for example, has restrictions on motorhomes over 40 feet in length.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:15 AM   #5
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Gary let me get this straight, are you saying that my state license is good to operate in another State, but if that State requires a Air Brake rider than I need one?
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:21 AM   #6
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Not to put words in Gary's mouth, but no, that's not the case. Rather, if your state has a maximum combined length of 65' and the state you're traveling through has a maximum combined length of 55', then you must conform to the 55' length. It's no different than having a maximum speed limit when towing of 70 MPH in Texas (my home state) and a maximum speed limit when towing of 55 MPH in California - if you're driving in California, you're expected to conform to their speed limits, not those in Texas.

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Old 08-21-2009, 08:39 AM   #7
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I'm always curious about driver's license requirements in other States. Many adopt the Federal standards and the language is fairly consistent. Some, apparently including Maine, take different approaches.


First, the Maine website for Driver's license information is the one of the more difficult ones. I opened the Driver's Exam Book. In a paragraph with this title. "Message For Those Transferring their Out-of-State License to a Maine Non-Commercial Driverís License", I found this statement:
- You will need to apply for a Commercial Driverís License if you expect to operate:
a) A combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or registered weight of 26,001 or more pounds, if the gross vehicle weight rating or gross weight of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

On face value, it would say that you need a CDL to operate a 28K MH in Maine. That may not have been what they meant but that is surely the way that it reads, at least to me.

I find it fascinating that trying to get information about the Statues governing driving. I realize that the various governmental entities are trying to cover many situations with as few words as possible. Still, it making figuring things out very much open to interpretation. When I call our Texas DPS, I got multiple, conflicting answers to things like what type of license I need for our RV. If the State workers often are not sure of the correct answer.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:50 AM   #8
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Charlie,

That's why, when it comes to Texas, I go directly to the source HERE and recommend that others do the same when it comes to other states' requirements. (Expand Texas Statutes, then Transportation Code in the link I provided.)

I've gone so far as to print out the specific Texas statutes that govern my driver license and RV licensing/operation and carry the printouts in the console of my truck "just in case" I might wind up in a roadside discussion.

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Old 08-21-2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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NO state requires a CDL to drive a RV, MH or 5th wheel for your own personal use.

A CDL is required if you operate your RV commercially, as a delivery driver for instance.

RV drivers license exemptions and requirements are not usually in the CDL section of drivers license requirements and can be difficult to find.

Some states may require a higher class of non-CDL license for their residents because of weight or air brakes.

However, if you have the proper drivers license in your home state, then you are legal in all states.

Your RV may not be legal in all states due to length or weight restrictions.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:15 PM   #10
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Gary let me get this straight, are you saying that my state license is good to operate in another State, but if that State requires a Air Brake rider than I need one?
No, that's NOT what I mean at all. That sort of thing is part of your driving license. I was referring to the manner and place in which the vehicle is driven, e.g. speed limits, weight and length regulations, required equipment, etc. Rusty summed it up nicely.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #11
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Charlie,

That's why, when it comes to Texas, I go directly to the source HERE and recommend that others do the same when it comes to other states' requirements. (Expand Texas Statutes, then Transportation Code in the link I provided.)

I've gone so far as to print out the specific Texas statutes that govern my driver license and RV licensing/operation and carry the printouts in the console of my truck "just in case" I might wind up in a roadside discussion.

Rusty
I completely agree, Rusty. My point wasn't that I believe that Maine requires a CDL to drive an RV but just that the handbook sure looks like it reads that way. Actually, I tried to find the Maine equivalent of the Texas Statute web page but I must not have been on the same wave length as those would support Maine's websites and I couldn't. Even the Statutes, however, seem to leave a lot of room for interpretation. For example, 545-413 specifically excludes RVs because that is not a named type of passenger vehicle. I can find no other seat belt restriction for an RV yet all of us seem to go around and around on what is required. We do use our seatbelts for the driver and passenger chairs but the real question is about the rest of the MH. The open container statute specifically excludes the house portion of the MH. It is open to the interpretation as to whether that exclusion could cover seat belt use in that section.

I won't want to be have that roadside discussion. I feel that the chances of it happening are very slim so i don't worry about it.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chasfm11 View Post
First, the Maine website for Driver's license information is the one of the more difficult ones. I opened the Driver's Exam Book. In a paragraph with this title. "Message For Those Transferring their Out-of-State License to a Maine Non-Commercial Driver’s License", I found this statement:
- You will need to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License if you expect to operate:
a) A combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or registered weight of 26,001 or more pounds, if the gross vehicle weight rating or gross weight of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

On face value, it would say that you need a CDL to operate a 28K MH in Maine. That may not have been what they meant but that is surely the way that it reads, at least to me.
However, they (Maine) go on to say that Private RV's are excluded from that requirement.

FYI Much has been said of length when actually if a special license is required, it is weight causing that requirement.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:44 PM   #13
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Tom,

It is my understanding that if your current standard license allows you to drive the 42 foot rig in your state then it is valid accross the country. Now if you took up permanent residence in another state then you would have to get the appropriate license for that juristiction.

Where I grew up the standard license was not considered an automobile license but a Class E(?) which allowed you to drive any combination asside from a tractor trailer that was less than 10 tons in combined weight for non-commercial purposes however I don't recall what the RV limitation was or if there was any. Here in Florida the standard drivers license allows you to drive any RV but does have an requirement for an air brake rider to be appended to it.

From the Florida DMV website:
CDL Exemptions



The following persons are exempt from the requirements to obtain a commercial driver license:
  • Drivers of authorized emergency vehicles that are equipped with extraordinary audible warning devices that display red or blue lights and are on call to respond to emergencies;or
  • Military personnel driving military vehicles; or
  • Farmers transporting farm supplies or farm machinery, or transporting agricultural products to or from the first place of storage or processing or directly to or from market, within 150 miles of their farm; or
  • Drivers of recreational vehicles used for recreational purposes;

I cannot find any info about an air brake endorsement required in FL.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:35 PM   #14
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driver license requirements by state

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-state-rv-license.shtml
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