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Old 08-25-2016, 07:14 AM   #1
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Smile What do you need in order to drive a old converted school bus around America

Hi everyone, new to he whole subject so don't be to harsh. Can someone lay it on me of what I need to get in order to legally drive say a bus in correlation to the seat numbers? I want it small to mid size, I will be ripping out most seats for beds and just leaving about 4-5 seats...do I need seat belts ect...I'm a newb
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Old 08-25-2016, 08:36 AM   #2
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Licensing goes by weight, not by number of seats. If the gross weight of the bus is under 26,001 pounds, and has hydraulic brakes, then a standard driver's license is all that is required. Air brakes, or a weight greater than 26,000 gross pounds, then at the least you will need a class "B" license to legally drive the vehicle according to federal motor law.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
Licensing goes by weight, not by number of seats. If the gross weight of the bus is under 26,001 pounds, and has hydraulic brakes, then a standard driver's license is all that is required. Air brakes, or a weight greater than 26,000 gross pounds, then at the least you will need a class "B" license to legally drive the vehicle according to federal motor law.
Pretty sure that's a Texas thing even if it's licensed as an RV. Licensing goes by state you live in. If it's licensed as an "RV" or what ever your state calls it, in most states all you need is a regular drivers license.
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:38 AM   #4
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Yep.. It seems that federal law gets to define what's required for operating a commercial vehicle, especially across state lines.... but the states apparently get to decide whether a vehicle really is or isn't commercial. That then determines whether (or not) a commercial operator's license will be required.

In most states if a vehicle is for private use, not for hire, not in commerce, etc etc then even though it looks like a commercial vehicle, they'll grant operator privilege for it to a person with a "normal" driver license. When traveling through other states local operating rules like speed limit, vehicle length, lanes of travel based on vehicle weight or length, etc apply. Driver privileges such as the type of vehicle one may operate should be determined by the state issuing the license (not the state being visited). Just don't stick around too long or do anything else that would cause the visited state to say you've taken up residency and are subject to their driver licensing rules!
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:43 AM   #5
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Sorry for late reply, thanks for the info! I look at working with those limits then as I don't want to have to get a special license, as I have you here I may aswell ask...I look at road tripping around America over a couple of months I'm hoping to get a charity involved and a few friends. I'm a carpenter so I will do a quick fix up myself...what should I be looking for as vehicle types ect? I want to sleep up to 4 but sometimes will just be myself so I will be keeping it snug! Aha what would be my ball park on cost for bus and all...thanks! P.s my budget is about $5000 total
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:31 AM   #6
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for you it seems a cutaway style short bus is the way to go.. im not sure how you license and own it without a USA address? (Arent you coming from australia?)..

the cutaway vans are often under the CDL requirements even when commercial so you would have no issues with regulations.. many states you could just register it as a van like a club-wagon or an E-350 cargo van..

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Old 08-30-2016, 01:05 PM   #7
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The law varies by state. In Colorado, for example, a CDL is not required for an RV. I believe that I will keep a copy of the statute with me just in case.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:24 PM   #8
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A lot of the U.S. Follows the rules of the state you are registered and licensed in. Until you are licensed as a commercial vehicle that's when you fall into the federal mess.
In NC I am still the Jolly Roger is registered, insured as a bus,has air brakes and because it's tag rating is 25,999 A normal license allows anyone to drive it.
The schools bus drivers that fill it to the gills with loud mouth kids every morning From 4-am to 7-am and repeat every afternoon for 10$ an hour is only required to have a standard license??? And pay attention to crazy drivers??
To me that requires a special license!!!
Why is anyone that is doing less with the same state owned vehicle required to do a lot more than they are required to do to haul 70-children around daily?
I know.
One is a way for them to save money and one is a way for them to make money?
Keep our roads safe but we can't require the school bus drivers to have a commercial license cause we won't have any drivers at 10$ an hour?
Sorry for my little rant.
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Old 12-01-2016, 09:31 AM   #9
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School bus drivers have to have a commercial license because the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes and carries more than 16 individuals.

In many states, if you're using the same vehicle for non-commercial purposes, it isn't considered a commercial vehicle.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:23 AM   #10
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Coming from the land down under and using an international drivers license could be interesting

because you are not tied to a single state overall, which also means you have to follow each states DMV rules and regulations in reqard to license requirments for what you are operating

A typical car is already defined and will be the same state to state (not baring any real crazy crap) you could drive anywhere

Now an RV,Bus etc is governed by each state...I can drive my bus anywhere in the Great USA with my normal everyday TN DL

If I was in TX I would need a special license, with that I can drive my Bus in any state with my TX DL

Since you will not have a state issued license....not sure what to say

best bet may be to come over and buy(if legal)/lease/rent a class C motorhome and travel, sell it when you head home


ETA since you are a visiting foreigner, you may be covered under an umbrella diplomatic amnesty law or something...ask your embassy if your license will cover driving a 40 or 45 foot motorhome with air brakes in all 49 states (yes I know there are 57 of them ) I don't see you driving it in Hawaii ...if embassy responds with yes ;you are good to go, print off the letterhead email and keep it with you...and drive on...stay on the right...urgh...correct side of the road good luck and have fun
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