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Old 11-18-2016, 08:39 AM   #1
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CDL, B, C and endorsements?

I'm converting a 1998 ThomasBuilt school bus with air brakes into an RV. What will I need as far as CDL, B, C and endorsements? I've asked around and some say I need them and some say I don't. Ready to go to DMV but I figured I'd ask here as well. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:25 AM   #2
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if titled and used as an RV you'll need nothing more than a regular license.
You shouldn't need an air brake endorsement for an RV, but some parts of canada require it.
Getting some air brake training would be handy - knowing what is normal, what to do, etc could save your life or that of others are the road.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:36 AM   #3
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Check with your local DMV or the main office. They'll know *exactly* what the requirements are for your state. All we can do is give you advice based on our own localities, and that mileage will definitely vary
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:48 AM   #4
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Check with your local DMV or the main office. They'll know *exactly* what the requirements are for your state. All we can do is give you advice based on our own localities, and that mileage will definitely vary
And if you do not like the answers, call back and talk to someone else in that office.
DMV's are notorious for giving out different info for the same questions.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:10 AM   #5
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LOL.
So if yuo call 3 times and get 3 different explanations which do you stake your license and wallet on?

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And if you do not like the answers, call back and talk to someone else in that office.
DMV's are notorious for giving out different info for the same questions.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:14 AM   #6
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LOL.
So if yuo call 3 times and get 3 different explanations which do you stake your license and wallet on?
That's when you call the main branch. New Jersey, for example, has a Foreign and Special Vehicles Unit (David Wolf's next L&O series). I got the "you don't need a CDL or air endorsement for a Class A RV with air brakes" answer from them.

Its also where I got the information, straight out of the manual, for New Jersey's bus conversion registration guidelines
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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LOL.
So if yuo call 3 times and get 3 different explanations which do you stake your license and wallet on?
Then you do your own research until you find state law that says what you want it to say.
Copy it and take it with you when you get your registration if they give you a hard time.

Many moons ago I built a tibe framed dunebuggy. Finished it and took it to DMV to get an "assembled vehicle" title and registration.
Everything was okay during inspection until they asked where are the windshield wipers?
I climbed in and grabbed the one wiper arm I had stashed between the seats and reached around and wiped the windshield by hand.
"You can't do that" the guy said. "There has to be two and they have to be powered."
I then reached in and got my copy of the state Motor Vehicle Code book.
I said show me where it says I have to have powered wiper(s) and I will put them in.
He huffed, shook his head and signed off on the inspection.
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:59 PM   #8
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Check with your local DMV or the main office. They'll know *exactly* what the requirements are for your state. All we can do is give you advice based on our own localities, and that mileage will definitely vary
Maybe in your state, but in VA I got a resounding, "YOU NEED A CDL" from the local DMV, but a very clear, "NO YOU DON'T" from the DMV main office, "IF you are using it strictly for personal reasons such as recreation".

Problem is, the law is clear: if you drive a vehicle over ____ lbs you need a CDL."

BUT there's ANOTHER law that says, "IF you are using it just for personal purposes, such as recreation, you DON'T need a CDL" (it also exempts farmers driving heavy equipment, firefighters, and a few others).

I am *not* a lawyer, so do your own research or hire someone, but this is what I've found and how I'll play it: I'll neatly letter "Personal Use Only - Not For Hire" under my window and have a laminated copy of the relevant law in hand. And I'll be darned sure not to use it commercially.

(Note: check also for seating capacity - I think if you have less than 15 seats it's a lot easier to make the case for 'I'm not a bus anymore'.]
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Old 11-18-2016, 03:31 PM   #9
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I encountered similar ambiguity not with my bus, but with my pickup truck and trailer. I occasionally use those to haul things for money. At the time I had a Class B CDL: truck of any GVW combined with a trailer not more than 10,000 pounds GVW. The issue was muddy because my pickup truck's GVW is 8,800 and the trailer's is 12,000. Everybody I talked to from police, driver license office, etc had a different view about whether this combination requires no CDL (because 8800+12000 is less than 26000) or whether it requires Class A CDL (trailer over 10000).

Finally I decided to render it moot by upgrading my license class. Now I'm licensed to drive anything except hazmat or tankers and "wrong license class" is something I just don't have to fret over anymore. My advice to anybody who's particularly worried about it is just go get the Class A or B CDL. There's no need to take any expensive truck driver training course or anything else. Go have an annual physical exam and request a DOT medical card, go to the driver license office, pass the written knowledge test, get the learner permit, get comfortable pre-trip inspecting and driving the bus (or whatever vehicle caused the concern), then take that vehicle to the driver license office to do the road test a month later.
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Old 11-18-2016, 03:34 PM   #10
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I think if you have less than 15 seats it's a lot easier to make the case for 'I'm not a bus anymore'.]
Actually, the requirement is seating for 15 or less passengers including the driver. You could keep 3 rows of seats, plus 1 side of the 4th row, in and still be within that limit.
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:20 PM   #11
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I'm converting a 1998 ThomasBuilt school bus with air brakes into an RV. What will I need as far as CDL, B, C and endorsements? I've asked around and some say I need them and some say I don't. Ready to go to DMV but I figured I'd ask here as well. Thanks!
Helps to know where you live, Ca rule is under 40ft class C ok, 40 or over class B endorsement req.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:08 PM   #12
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And if you do not like the answers, call back and talk to someone else in that office.
DMV's are notorious for giving out different info for the same questions.
Amen Brother 007!
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:39 AM   #13
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There is the vehicle rating..and what you register it for. In PA the higher the GVWR the higher the cost of the license plate - BUT you can choose to regsiter it at a lighter GVWR (or higher..if you're so inclined to abuse it).

So if you registered it at 25,000 and of course you're under that, can you avoid the CDL issue that way?

'cause yeah, in PA the regular license lists 26,800 as max weight, but i've heard for years RV's are exempt..never understood why that would be. A big prevost with a car or car hauler behind it probably is approacing 60+ feet long and 40,000 lbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
Maybe in your state, but in VA I got a resounding, "YOU NEED A CDL" from the local DMV, but a very clear, "NO YOU DON'T" from the DMV main office, "IF you are using it strictly for personal reasons such as recreation".

Problem is, the law is clear: if you drive a vehicle over ____ lbs you need a CDL."

BUT there's ANOTHER law that says, "IF you are using it just for personal purposes, such as recreation, you DON'T need a CDL" (it also exempts farmers driving heavy equipment, firefighters, and a few others).

I am *not* a lawyer, so do your own research or hire someone, but this is what I've found and how I'll play it: I'll neatly letter "Personal Use Only - Not For Hire" under my window and have a laminated copy of the relevant law in hand. And I'll be darned sure not to use it commercially.

(Note: check also for seating capacity - I think if you have less than 15 seats it's a lot easier to make the case for 'I'm not a bus anymore'.]
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:43 AM   #14
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Many states exempt drivers from any special driver licensing or endorsements for driving any type of vehicle for personal use.
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:39 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by prof.fate View Post
There is the vehicle rating..and what you register it for. In PA the higher the GVWR the higher the cost of the license plate - BUT you can choose to regsiter it at a lighter GVWR (or higher..if you're so inclined to abuse it).

So if you registered it at 25,000 and of course you're under that, can you avoid the CDL issue that way?
In Utah, at least, if a vehicle is used commercially and the GVWR is 26k+ then it requires CDL regardless of whether it's registered below 26k. However, like in PA, if it's private non-commercial then weight doesn't matter.
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:40 PM   #16
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Helps to know where you live, Ca rule is under 40ft class C ok, 40 or over class B endorsement req.
Ca req Class B endorsement 40ft or over because more than likely over 40ft will have airbrakes & they want you familiar with them. My 38ft has airbrakes so I will be getting mine just to have for other states, Wife drives School bus so she already has hers.
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:19 AM   #17
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CDL, B, C and endorsements?

Thanks for all your replies. We live in NJ and plan on selling the house and taking our jobs on the road and living out of the bus. Does this make it easier?
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