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Old 05-20-2019, 01:42 PM   #1
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Need to get a bus to Wisconsin from the Texas from the Texas.

The bus is in Texas and it is still painted yellow and has school bus signs. It's GVWR is 26,250 and I do not have a CDL. Any chance I could drive it to Wisconsin without any troubles with the authorities?
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:53 PM   #2
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By the way, even though I have had several years of over-the-road truck driving experience, I do not have any recollection of how's school buses are regarded by the DOT cops. Are they supposed to pull into ports of entry and weigh stations when they are still wearing the school bus colors and insignia?
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wrenchtech View Post
By the way, even though I have had several years of over the road truck driving experience, I do not have any recollection of how's school buses are regarded by the DOT cops. Are they supposed to pull into ports of entry and weigh stations when they are still wearing the school bus colors and insignia?
most weigh stations that I've seen specify on their signs that trucks over a certain weight AND buses have to stop
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:20 PM   #4
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That poses a problem. Whereas at one time I might have tried running the gauntlet, I am too old for that now.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:20 PM   #5
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Weigh stations concern themselves (mostly) with the *COMMERCIAL* operations of trucks and buses. You're presumably driving home a private, personal purchase and not used in any commercial capacity. As such, you'll be exempt from the commercial rules. The primary factors to consider are legality in your home state of Wisconsin (are you legal with the GVWR and air brakes, if appropriate?), most won't bother checking reciprocity as long as you have insurance and proof of recent purchase.


If you want to cover yourself just a bit more, put a sign in the back window "Just purchased" (along with the date which matches any paperwork), and "Private Bus" in the side windows (readily visible to any passing cops). Cover over any "school bus" markings (if not already done), blue painter's tape is better than nothing.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:25 PM   #6
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Weigh stations concern themselves (mostly) with the *COMMERCIAL* operations of trucks and buses. You're presumably driving home a private, personal purchase and not used in any commercial capacity. As such, you'll be exempt from the commercial rules. The primary factors to consider are legality in your home state of Wisconsin (are you legal with the GVWR and air brakes, if appropriate?), most won't bother checking reciprocity as long as you have insurance and proof of recent purchase.


If you want to cover yourself just a bit more, put a sign in the back window "Just purchased" (along with the date which matches any paperwork), and "Private Bus" in the side windows (readily visible to any passing cops). Cover over any "school bus" markings (if not already done), blue painter's tape is better than nothing.
So there is hope! And maybe I can improve my odds by avoiding scales when possible.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:17 PM   #7
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I just drove a bus 3400 miles from Oregon to Rhode Island, and although I do have a class B CDL and the bus did have a legal trip permit as a "heavy vehicle" (commercial truck) from OR, I am pretty sure I was in violation of a BUSLOAD of DOT regs as I made the trip. No flares, no first aid kit, no drivers log, air system that although is perfectly fine, probably would have failed a bleed-down test if pushed, etc, etc,. If any DOT cop had gotten a look at me and my nearly 40yo bus he probably would have just stroked out right there on the spot. I was betting on the fact that it was a private vehicle not in commercial use, along with a very recent bill of sale and valid ins. paperwork to help me talk my way out of trouble if I ran into any DOT cops.

I felt like the Snowman or Dave Dudley/Steve Earle (it was about 6 days on the road in the end) as I blew by every check stop and weigh station on the highway. I was sweating bullets every time I saw a weigh station sign, but nobody even looked my way. My bus is black, but I don't think you would have too much more trouble with a yellow bus either.

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Old 05-20-2019, 04:20 PM   #8
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I live down the street from Midwest Transit and they have transporters toting buses out of there all the time! Now I won't speak to the legality of driving a private purchase bus on a non-CDL although I can offer my opinion as a CDL holder, but in terms of the 'procedure' I've observed you should at minimum remove or cover any school names and the school bus marquee both front and rear; place a sign in the entry door glass to the effect, "Private Bus, Not For Hire"; obtain a temporary license plate, provided by the dealer or if private party purchase obtain from your home state before departing; (Indiana has a 4-day transporter temp tag); double check if your insurance will cover the class of vehicle as many/most auto insurance won't extend to rental trucks, buses, etc like a new car purchase has automatic blanket coverage to drive off the lot; plan on pulling into weigh stations and watch for indications you're free to bypass (some are weight triggered, others are visual inspections, or signs say buses weigh (MO) or buses exempt (IL); if the bus is diesel then recommend bringing cash because cash fuel prices are 6-10 cents per gallon cheaper than credit cards and for goodness sake use truck stop fuel lanes not auto fuel lanes which may not have enough clearance for a bus; and probably most importantly have with you at least a toolbox with basics because there's nothing worse than breaking down for want of a screwdriver or pair of vise grips.

Now, as for the CDL bit, my opinion is you're taking a calculated risk driving a commercial class vehicle without a commercial driver's license. The guidance is if its over 26,000 pounds, seats more than 15 passengers, and/or has air brakes, then technically its a commercial vehicle and although you've just purchased it privately the title still classifies it as such. It could really come down to the interpretation of the LEO who might pull you over whether your maiden voyage home is an acceptable exception to the rule.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:31 PM   #9
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Also looks like Texas issues 30 day temp plates in case you don't have a Wisconsin plate for it yet:

https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/regi...porary-permits

We drove our bus home (only 550 miles) from NC to NH with a NH temp plate. Nary a peep from the police for the whole trip including all the toll gates we had to fly through with a transponder that wasn't registered to the vehicle and that we weren't quite sure was working anyway. I didn't purposely drive by any weigh stations on the way back, but when I drive a proper school bus for our district on field trips, we don't stop for them either.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:56 PM   #10
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I live down the street from Midwest Transit and they have transporters toting buses out of there all the time! Now I won't speak to the legality of driving a private purchase bus on a non-CDL although I can offer my opinion as a CDL holder, but in terms of the 'procedure' I've observed you should at minimum remove or cover any school names and the school bus marquee both front and rear; place a sign in the entry door glass to the effect, "Private Bus, Not For Hire"; obtain a temporary license plate, provided by the dealer or if private party purchase obtain from your home state before departing; (Indiana has a 4-day transporter temp tag); double check if your insurance will cover the class of vehicle as many/most auto insurance won't extend to rental trucks, buses, etc like a new car purchase has automatic blanket coverage to drive off the lot; plan on pulling into weigh stations and watch for indications you're free to bypass (some are weight triggered, others are visual inspections, or signs say buses weigh (MO) or buses exempt (IL); if the bus is diesel then recommend bringing cash because cash fuel prices are 6-10 cents per gallon cheaper than credit cards and for goodness sake use truck stop fuel lanes not auto fuel lanes which may not have enough clearance for a bus; and probably most importantly have with you at least a toolbox with basics because there's nothing worse than breaking down for want of a screwdriver or pair of vise grips.

Now, as for the CDL bit, my opinion is you're taking a calculated risk driving a commercial class vehicle without a commercial driver's license. The guidance is if its over 26,000 pounds, seats more than 15 passengers, and/or has air brakes, then technically its a commercial vehicle and although you've just purchased it privately the title still classifies it as such. It could really come down to the interpretation of the LEO who might pull you over whether your maiden voyage home is an acceptable exception to the rule.
So you're saying bus titles designate it as a commercial vehicle? Not all buses are sold as commercial vehicles.
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