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Old 03-09-2007, 01:43 PM   #11
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You beeter not be planning on using the interstate with 30 people on board an RV.....

The Federal standard requires States to issue a CDL to drivers according to the following license classifications:

Class A -- Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

Class B -- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.

Class C -- Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.

Because of the weight (and you will probably be using every ounce of the GVWR) and the number of passengers, you will need a Class B license.

In my state I don't need an air brake endorsement because they are only required for commercial vehicles as defined by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. I could even pull (I have seen it done several times) my truck behind my bus and my boat attached to the hitch of the truck. It is downright scary what you can get away with here without proper training, but there seems to be surprisingly few RV related accidents.

Ok...by now you're probably confused. I can get away with just about anything with my bus because it has RV plates it would seem. I can't though. I cannot get away from the 15+1 passenger limit. It seems the state thinks that there is nothing recreational about 20 people crammed in a Finnabago.

Call and verify with your DMV. Your state might interpret things differently. Law pertaining to CDLs are as clear as mud. I will recommend that when you go to Michigan you avoid Minnesota though. Being legal in your home state doesn't mean you'll be legal in other states. Someone posted a video of various party bus operations getting busted down in Minneapolis/St. Paul not too long ago. Yes, they do check vehicles in this state.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:55 AM   #12
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This is the definition of a CMV from the U.S. DOT; the folks that regulate the CDL process:

Commercial Motor Vehicle. For purposes of this regulation a motor vehicle designed or regularly used to carry freight, merchandise, or more than ten passengers, whether loaded or empty, including buses, but not including vehicles used for vanpools, or vehicles built and operated as recreational vehicles.

This next to are from the Interpretation section of part 383 that establishes the licensing rules:

Question 3: Does part 383 apply to drivers of recreational vehicles?

Guidance: No, if the vehicle is used strictly for non-business purposes.

Question 9: May a State require persons operating recreational vehicles or other CMVs used by family members for non-business purposes to have a CDL?

Guidance: Yes. States may extend the CDL requirements to recreational vehicles.


So? I wonder if the second question (#9 on their list) was supposed to be "for business purposes" rather than non-business? However, the answer seems to be in direct conflict with the answer to the first question (#2). I couldn't find anywhere else on the Fenderal site where they resolve the seeming conflict. Still clear as mud.

However...they do seem to be pretty adamant about the 16-person rule although they never specifically mention it in regard to Recreational Vehicles. Here are a few snips:

Question 1: Are school and church bus drivers required to obtain a CDL?

Guidance: Yes, if they drive vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people.

Question 4: Does part 383 apply to drivers of vehicles used in "van pools"?
This is sort of significant since they're specifically exempted in the CMV definition...as are our Recreational Vehicles.

Guidance: Yes, if the vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more people.

Question 13: Do the regulations require that a person driving an empty school bus from the manufacturer to the local distributor obtain a CDL?

Guidance: Yes. Any driver of a bus that is designed to transport 16 or more persons, or that has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, is required to obtain a CDL in the applicable class with a passenger endorsement.

Question 16: Are non-military amphibious landing craft that are usually used in water but occasionally used on a public highway CMVs?

Guidance: Yes, if they are designed to transport 16 or more people.

Question 21: Are police officers who operate buses and vans which are designed to carry 16 or more persons and are used to transport police officers during demonstrations and other crowd control activities required to obtain a CDL?

Guidance: Yes. The CMVSA applies to anyone who operates a CMV, including employees of Federal, State and local governments. Crowd control activities do not meet the conditions for a waiver of operators of firefighting and other emergency vehicles in §383.3(d).

Question 32: Do the regulations require that a person driving an empty school bus from the manufacturer to the local distributor obtain a CDL?

Guidance: Yes. Any driver of a bus that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers , or that has a GVWR of 11,794 kilograms (26,001 pounds) is required to obtain a CDL in the applicable class. However, a passenger endorsement is not required.


No mention of RVs in particular but they don't seem to expempt almost anything from the 16-passenger limit including non-commercial Van Pools.

Hmmm?
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:28 AM   #13
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I wasn't clear about one thing. If I will be transporting 17 people to a football game, will I need a CDL. I didn't see anything about football games. Also #13 and #32 are the same question with different answers. #13 says passenger endorsement required and #32 says not required. This is what is wrong with our government. We need to take it back from these A-holes.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:45 PM   #14
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Remember, we are not dealing with buses. We are dealing with recreational vehicles assuming that it what you choose to register it as. If you register it as a private bus, atleast in Minnesota, it is now subject to all laws applicable to CMVs.

The rules are as clear as mud, but excellent post, Les. I actually called the DMV just a few minutes ago because I was curious. Basically what I was told is technically it would be ok to have more than 15 passengers plus the driver in the RV. However, I would most likely get pulled over. The officer would be FULL of questions that I would have to answer. Given the fact that it is shaped like a school bus, I would have even more problems. Eventually backup would arrive along with a commercial vehicle inspector. At that point things could go either way. The CVI could just laugh and say be on your way....or more than likely they would nail me for operating an unlicensed commercial vehicle. I would get a full vehicle inspection right there on the side of the road that would make an alien "probing" seem tame. I would end up with an inch thick stack of citations, we would be deboarded, and the bus would be towed.

Then we would go to court....all charges would be dismissed as soon as the police were removed and the lawyers introduced into the equation at the pre-trial hearing.

This would be all fine and good, but I still would have missed the game, spent money on a lawyer and a tow truck, and just plain been inconvenienced.


That's what the guy at the DMV counter said...It almost sounds like they may have run into this problem before. I guess I can't disagree with any of his points. It all sounds very possible. If your RV has spots for 16 passengers plus the driver, you might run into problems with it "being designed to carry" too many people. If you don't have those seats, your passengers will be miffed.

Call your local DMV and Troopers office and explain exactly what you're doing and get their opinion. Better now than before a game sometime...
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:55 PM   #15
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I was kidding about the game thing. I don't even like 17 people enough to be in the same bus with them for a whole day. I was poking fun at the list of questions and answers. Basically they are saying no exceptions period. My humor takes a little while to get used to.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:57 PM   #16
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But you know there are people out there that would try it....heck....just for to Minneapolis/St. Paul and look at all the party bus operators. There was a video posted not too long ago showcasing the problems they had.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:08 AM   #17
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One point most of you have miss, and I'm not trying to be unreasonable, but ANYTIME you deal with laws, you need a law dictionary. Case in point, a PASSENGER is a PAYING customer, period.

When you and your family or friends are riding somewhere, They are merely 'fellow travelers'.

Now this may not stop you from getting a ticket, but it is the ammo you need to fight and win on that ticket. Any reasonable cop that takes the personal time to read and understand the laws they are enforcing, will know this. The laws are never written in everyday English, and it could cost you dearly, if you think they are. Judges know the difference, but they aren't going to tell you that. Letting you ASSUME, keeps them rolling with your hard earned cash.

GET A LAW DICTIONARY BEFORE YOU EVER GO TO FIGHT A TICKET!
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:24 AM   #18
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I'd just rather avoid the ticket in the first place.

School bus riders are not paying customers. You will need a CDL for that purpose. A church bus full of parish members is not loaded with paying customers, but you need a CDL there too. Like I said...I'd just rather avoid any confrontation in the first place.
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:50 AM   #19
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That is very true about school bus drivers, they are paid to drive, and your property taxes paid the fares.

What I'm speaking of is when your driving family and friends and even hitchhikers, and no one pays a fare and the driver is not getting PAID (read commerce) to transport PASSENGERS.

For example, you've got you conversion at a family reunion and you don't have a CDL. Just say 32 family members wants a ride over to the community center where dinner is being served and the parking is limited, and you won't be over your GVW. No fares, no driver pay, no commerce- no CDL required.

No one wants to deal with cops or courts, but not everyone wants or needs a CDL either.

Remember- show me your papers, then, show me your drivers papers and insurance. - next it will be, show me your travel papers. All b/c we don't want the hassles, easier to: pay the fine, or get the CDL, or give up our dreams, or let our children and grand children fight those freedom battles b/c we're too scared to make the courts follow the written laws.

THE LAWS ARE NOT WRONG, THE ENFORCEMENT BY STUPID COPS ARE
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