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Old 12-27-2015, 11:21 AM   #21
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Even if it is equipped with a furnace, A/C, stove, refrigerator, bathroom, shower, sink, and a bed it won't matter what you call it if it seats more than 15-passengers including the driver.

Anything, regardless of how it is equipped, that is seated for 16-passeners and more including the driver requires a CDL to drive the vehicle. In addition to the CDL for the driver it requires the owner to have a USDOT number to operate the vehicle.

Short term, delivering it home from the dealer, you most likely won't need anything more than a driver's license unless you run into an enforcement officer in a bad mood. At that point it won't matter a whole lot what you have because the officer is most likely going to create some revenue at your expense.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Anything, regardless of how it is equipped, that is seated for 16-passeners and more including the driver requires a CDL to drive the vehicle. In addition to the CDL for the driver it requires the owner to have a DOT number to operate the vehicle.
Only if you plan on using this vehicle for commercial purposes.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:51 AM   #23
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Not true CaptSquid.

The use of the vehicle does not determine if it requires a CDL.

Companies, churches, and youth groups around the country have to maintain CDL drivers and USDOT requirements if they own vehicles that have a passenger capacity in excess of 15-pax including the driver.

Even if the only people who ride on their buses are their own people who do not pay anything to ride on those buses, those entities still are required to meet all USDOT requirements to operate a vehicle that requires a CDL driver.
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Old 12-28-2015, 05:12 PM   #24
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Then why wasn't I required to produce a Class B or higher CDL or a DOT number when I registered my 84 passenger, 36000 GVWR bus? Can you answer that?

The FMCSA is amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to adopt the statutory definition of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) found at 49 U.S.C. 31132. The FMCSA is also amending the FMCSRs to require that motor carriers operating CMVs designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) FOR COMPENSATION file a motor carrier identification report, mark their CMVs with a USDOT identification number, and maintain an accident register. The agency is imposing these requirements to monitor the operational safety of motor carriers operating small passenger-carrying vehicles for compensation. This rulemaking is in response to the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
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Old 12-28-2015, 05:43 PM   #25
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Every state applies Federal law differently.

Here in WA state, if you have a vehicle that requires a CDL to drive it, you have to prove you have a current USDOT number to register or license that vehicle.

Whether or not your state applies the CDL laws in the same way as WA state, the fact remains, if your vehicle seats more than 16-passengers including the driver that vehicle requires a driver to have a CDL. It is no different from a truck that has a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs.

If you get stopped while driving a CDL vehicle without a current CDL you will be red flagged in most states.

How real is that possibility? Pretty slim. You would have to be operating the vehicle in such a manner as to arose interest because few enforcement officers want to deal with a bus. But that possibility is very real.

I have sold several buses to different individuals who live in WA state who have not had CDL's who have driven those buses home without ever having an issue. When it came time to register and license the bus they signed affidavits saying the bus was no longer a bus and was now an RV and never had a problem.

Going back to the original poster's question about the party bus in question, that bus does require a CDL to drive it if the bus is left with that many seating positions. The removal of all seating positions in excess of 15+driver would then make it a non-CDL vehicle. In that case if the bus is used for non-commercial purposes it would not require a USDOT number.

The 9-15 passenger threshold you mention is an effort to get into compliance for hire operators using vans and limos and not private individuals.

A friend of mine recently purchased a stretch limo for his own private use. It is clearly marked private not for hire. He has had no problem taking it to large public venues where enforcement officers are waiting to snag those not in compliance.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:03 PM   #26
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No need for a CDL here in Texas for any sized "RV" or conversion if titled as such and used for non-commercial use. CDL applies ONLY if used to transport paying passengers or freight. Likewise no special license requirements for air brakes.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:07 PM   #27
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That FEDERAL definition is found at 49 U.S.C. 31132. It applies to ALL states and the driver must be compensated for his efforts. If the driver is NOT being compensated and the vehicle is not being operated for hire (regardless of the number of seats), then, according to FEDERAL statutes, the vehicle is NOT a Commercial Motor Vehicle.

I am NOT operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle because:

a) I am not being compensated,
b) There is only one seat inside that bus.
c) Even if I still had all of the seats installed and was not operating it for hire, it is, by FEDERAL definitions, NOT a commercial vehicle and I would not be required to hold a CDL.

If I had a Freightliner or a Peterbilt or a Kenworth or a Mack or whatever and it was marked clearly NOT FOR HIRE, I could drive it until the tires fell off in any state without fear of repercussion WITHOUT A CDL.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:14 PM   #28
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CaptSquid you are welcome to your interpretation of the law.

As I stated above, every state applies Federal law differently.

Non-commercial has nothing to do with compensating the driver or not.

Non-commercial has everything to do with requiring payment for use.

There are a lot of farmers and hobbyists that would dearly love to be able to use your interpretation of Federal law.

The fact remains that here in WA state, if your vehicle requires a CDL to drive it you will NOT be able to get a the license renewed without providing proof that you have an active USDOT number.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:28 PM   #29
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Sorry, but the very definition of commercial involves PAYMENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED. It cannot possibly be non-commercial if payment is involved. If the driver is being compensated for his services, then, by definition, he is involved in commercial activities.

States may pass laws MORE restrictive than the Federal Statutes, but not less restrictive.

The definitions are NOT mine and my vehicles do NOT require a CDL to operate.

I suggest that the OP research what is required in HIS state and not abide by your loose interpretations of the Federal Statutes.

Washington State: Who Does NOT Require a CDL

According to this, once titled as an RV, the driver does NOT need a CDL. And that's from WASHINGTON STATE.
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Old 01-03-2016, 02:32 PM   #30
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so it would be from Wisconsin to los angeles, i would take down all the seats before leaving, just turn them upside down.
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