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Old 11-20-2008, 04:50 PM   #1
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CDL?

Trying to figure out the CDL laws. Did anyone from WA have to get one just for the air brake endorsement? I have heard that it is not necessary if the vehicle doesnt weigh over 26001# and you arent carrying more than 16 passengers or hazardous materials.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:24 AM   #2
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Re: CDL?

Technically, air brake isn't an endorsement, it's automatically included unless you get the "K" restriction on your CDL.
It isn't the air brakes that put you in the CDL/non CDL category, it's gross weight rating (not actual scale weight) and/or passenger capacity. If it has air brakes, you can drive it with a CDL unless you don't pass the air brake part of the test, resulting in a CDL with a "K" code restriction against air brake vehicles.
You'll need at least a class B CDL if the bus' gross weight rating is over 26,000 pounds. If it's weight rating is less that 26,000 but is designed for 16 or more people including yourself (and since it's a bus it probably is!) you still need a class C CDL.

But if it's licensed as an RV, you're exempt from CDL requirements to drive it, air brakes or not.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: CDL?

right on, thanks! Thats what I thought, but needed a second opinion. Now I just need to get it relicensed as an RV.
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:11 PM   #4
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Re: CDL?

The nearby states of NV and Ca require a CDL if the vehicle is used commercially or carries 15 or more passengers. For a non-commercial/ under 15 pass vehicle, a normal drivers license is good for any vehicle with a GVWR up to 26,000 lbs. A non-commercial vehicle over 26,000 lbs. GVWR requires a NON-COMMERCIAL class B license. In NV, knowledge of air-brake systems is part of the written Class B test, the endorsement requires this knowledge regardless of what you currently drive, because the endorsement lets you operate an air-brake vehicle. I would expect WA to be very similar. Experience has shown that many DMV window employees don't know the rules, and will tell you you need a Commercial /CDL when you don't. Find a manager or someone who really knows the regs. And asking for an answer here or anywhere else other than your states DMV is really a bit foolish, don't you think??

Many on this site claim they get their Skoolie registered at a lower GVWR to avoid these issues, and that it's fine and dandy. I still hold to the opinion that the data plate is reality. Hurt someone with your bus w/ an improper reg and endorsement, you run the risk of not being covered by your insurance. Getting additional fines, etc. Your DMV rep is NOT your insurance rep.
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:32 PM   #5
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Re: CDL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elkoskoolie
And asking for an answer here or anywhere else other than your states DMV is really a bit foolish, don't you think??
Absolutely NOT!!

My experience and from what I've read here so far, many peoples experience is that the clerk at your local DMV , DOL, or any other government agency probably have no idea what their own rules are. That being the case it is important to do your research before showing up at their window or you're likely to given the big run around.

Government regulations are not an easy thing to just go looking up. It would be foolish NOT to ask people who may have experience in your particular state. Asking here first can save a lot of hassle at the window.

-Ray



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Old 12-06-2008, 06:30 PM   #6
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Re: CDL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elkoskoolie
Many on this site claim they get their Skoolie registered at a lower GVWR to avoid these issues, and that it's fine and dandy. I still hold to the opinion that the data plate is reality. Hurt someone with your bus w/ an improper reg and endorsement, you run the risk of not being covered by your insurance. Getting additional fines, etc. Your DMV rep is NOT your insurance rep.
That plate is the maximum the vehicle is capable of being run at and has nothing to do with legality. You can, in fact, register a vehicle for more or less than the plate without any fear of repercussions from the DOT or your insurance agent. The DOT is only concerned with not exceeding the load rating of the tires (they don't care about the axles) and not exceeding what you've paid taxes to carry (gross weight). The registration is only incorrect if your GVWR exceeds what you are registered for.

The insurance agent's job is to protect you and others in the event of an accident OR negligence. If you get drunk and hit someone your insurance has to pay that person even if you were negligent. The same goes for operating at a higher weight than the plate says. They might drop you immediately following that claim, but they have to cover you. They would have no reason to drop you if you are running below the plated GVWR. I have talked to my agent about this and she just laughed and said they do it all the time. Plates in this state for large vehicles are taxed based on weight in 3000 lbs increments. If I don't need to use the full 30,000 GVWR of my vehicle I'm not going to pay that much and she said MANY of her commercial customers do that.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:10 PM   #7
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Re: CDL?

OK, so maybe I'll back off, just a bit. My ins agent (whom I also live with, so I know this stuff a bit more than others), says that if
1. The GVWR on the data plate is such that you need an endorsement, i.e. non-commercial class B, get the endorsement. If you don't have the endorsement, and you do something REALLY bad, like drive it into a building, kill a bunch of people, your ins co MAY be able to deny coverage. But it will usually, as I said, need to be pretty bad. Get lawyers involved... You're basically operating the vehicle without a license.
2. How the vehicle is registered is more between you and the state. As long as you have the proper license to drive the actual vehicle, the insurance co is happy.

I suspect in this case, for example you're driving a REALLY big bus (like mine!!), get pulled over for some little thing, cop sees you don't have a Class B, and checks the plate, you'll get a ticket. Unlikely? Maybe but we all get unlucky. Because IT IS WHAT IT IS, regardless of what the lady in the DMV window let you say it is. My bus has a GVWR of 32,800 lbs. I need a class B, end of story. Doesn't matter how it's registered. That's why they have requirements. "Why no, officer, I don't need that endorsement. It's a two wheel car, not a motorcycle" Yeah right.
SO.....my suggestion is to register it and insure it in the easiest and cheapest way you can, BUT make sure you are LEGALLY able to drive whatever it is you're driving, if you want to avoid any issues. And yes, I drive mine without yet having my Class B. But I'm going to get it, really...

Basically my issue is more a licensing issue, as opposed to registration. A subtle yet real difference. And remember, most ins agents are like the lady at the DMV window.....Buyer beware
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:08 PM   #8
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Re: CDL?

You're incorrect about needing a CDL regardless of how the bus is registered. If it's registered as an RV, no CDL is required to drive it.
the_experience03 is correct. It is legal to license a vehicle at a lower GVW than the manufacturer's rated max capacity. It's done in the trucking business all the time, where you get checked regularly and can't get away with anything improper.
Now, if you license your 32,000 GVWR bus at 25,000, just under the non-CDL limit, and cross a scale at over 25,000 pounds actual weight, you'll be fined. But if you remain below your licensed max gross, and all your individual axle weights are legal, you're completely legal.
the_experience03 is also absolutely correct about the D.O.T. not caring WHAT the vehicle manufacturer's GVWR is. They are only concerned that you are within their legal definition of maximum axle weights, maximum individual tire loading, total maximum gross weight, which they define based on number of axles and distance between them, and the total gross weight that you have paid registration fees for.
If these are complied with, everything is legit.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: CDL?

1. Whether a CDL or Class A/B NON-Commercial is or is not required for an RV varies state by state. Don't make blanket statements which are incorrect. Makes the rest of your statements look suspect.
2. The cop that pulls you over is neither DMVnor DOT. He is law enforcement. And he may be city, county or state. If the STATE law says I need a Class B, CDL or whatever, and I don't have it, he can write me a ticket. And we all know what sometimes happens when you argue with a cop.
3. Why would a state have regulation "A" with specific stipulations, and then another "B" that says I can arbitrarily ignore "A" if I so choose????
4. The local DMV guy in Nevada made it clear to me that #2 above is the case.
5. My insurance agent still says if I don't have the correct license, it MAY be cause to have my coverage denied. Doesn't matter what the lady at the DMV window says, or the dolt at the DOT scale says.

And no, I will not reply further. You can all do whatever you choose. That's why I went to my DMV, not a bunch of EXPERTS elsewhere. GEEEZ
Thank God we have lawyers to figure it all out. What will they say when the GVWR on the title, reg and your license endorsement don't match??
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:01 PM   #10
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Re: CDL?

I'm not making any of this up, it's directly from Washington State D.O.T. regulations.
And Washington state is the state we're talking about.
Although, I do happen to be an expert on this subject!
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