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Old 06-29-2020, 11:31 PM   #1
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Do I need a CDL?

Hi!
I am planning on building my own skoolie sometime next year and I was wondering if I would need to get a commercial drivers license. I am in Massachusetts and their rules regarding this stuff is somewhat unclear to myself. I am under 18 so if I did need a CDL that would be an issue.... Thanks for listening
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:12 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site.


If you plan on getting a bus sometime next year, you may be older than 18 by the time it is finished.



In most states, you only need a CDL if the vehicle *can* haul more than 15 passengers ... and only then *if* you are charging for it or if you are performing commercial services (such as hauling equipment/items for pay, food truck, etc.)
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosekb03 View Post
Hi!
I am planning on building my own skoolie sometime next year and I was wondering if I would need to get a commercial drivers license. I am in Massachusetts and their rules regarding this stuff is somewhat unclear to myself. I am under 18 so if I did need a CDL that would be an issue.... Thanks for listening

Every non-official resource that I can find online says that Massachusetts is one of the states that allows the holder of a class D license to drive any size motor home without a CDL. However I am unable to find any link to the actual law or code section. If I were you I would contact the Mass RMV ask them to point you to the specific section of the Massachusetts General Laws that covers this issue.

For example, this section of the Massachusetts general law states the definition of terms like auto home, which is the term they used to define what most of us would consider a motorhome.

Mass General Law Chapter 90, section 1,e
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/Gener...ter90/Section1
''Auto home'', any motor vehicle originally designed or permanently altered and equipped for human habitation which is not used to transport property other than that property used for human habitation or camping purposes. A motor vehicle designed primarily to transport property which has been temporarily altered or equipped for human habitation shall not be deemed to be an auto home.

When you find the answer to your question, you could do us all a favor by posting a link, like the one that I posted above, in this thread so that in the future others will have access to it.
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:32 AM   #4
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At last count, around 15 states require a special license for motorhomes over a certain weight.

https://offgridspot.com/do-i-need-a-...e-a-motorhome/

Arkansas - A CDL is required if your RV has a GVWR above 26,000lbs.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington DC - If it is a single motorhome above 26,000lbs, a class B license is required. Apply for a Class A license if you are towing, and the combined GVWR is above 26,000lbs.

These states require a special non-commercial drivers license:

California - you need a Class B license if the motorhome exceeds 40 feet or 26,000 lbs. If you are towing a trailer above 10,000lbs, a Class A license is required.

Maryland - Class B license is required.

Michigan - special double “R” endorsement, only needed if you tow a trailer and a fifth wheel together (very rare case)

North Carolina - same as California, minus the 40 feet limit.

Nevada - Class B for single motorhome, Class A for multiple (towed) RVs with a combined weight above 26,000lbs, “J” endorsement if multiple towed vehicles are under 26,000 lbs and the towed vehicle is above 10,000lbs.

New York - “R” endorsement for all RVs above 26,000lbs.

Pennsylvania - Class B license, same as California

South Carolina - Class E license for single motorhome, Class F for multiple RV-trailer combos above 26,000 lbs combined weight.

Texas - Same as California, minus the 40 feet requirement

Wyoming - Class B license for motorhomes with or without towed vehicles under 10,000lbs, Class A if the towed vehicle is above 10,000lbs (combined weight is above 36,000lbs).
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:17 AM   #5
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A lot of great info already posted. I'll only add that while you may not need a CDL once you've completed the conversion and it can be titled as an RV, many people's trepidation is during that maiden voyage home when it still meets the classification of a commercial passenger vehicle. You can search the forum as this has been discussed at length repeatedly but the basics are: have the bill of sale to prove you've purchased it as a private owner not a commercial entity, have a temporary license plate either from your home state if they offer such or the state of purchase, make sure your insurance coverage will apply or get temporary coverage for the class of vehicle it is at time of purchase (actually often the hardest part) and read every sign as you drive. The goal is an incident free maiden drive home but the reality can be far different. Not to scare you away but we've seen a few occasions where the proud new owner never even made it home with the bus because it died during the journey and was more expensive to get it home than their budget allowed so a pre-purchase inspection by a qualified diesel mechanic in the area where the bus is being offered is a good investment to save time and headache. Even one of our revered members here drove a bus home within the month for another member and encountered multiple mechanical problems and delays although fortunately he was towing his car too so he wasn't stranded but it was a far more time consuming endeavor than anyone anticipated yet in spite of it all it was a good purchase for the member so the lesson may be expect the unexpected and don't get discouraged at the first speed bump in the road of your purchase and conversion project.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:44 AM   #6
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Thank you for all the help, although this says that I need a CDL for any vehicle over 26,001 lbs (not sure if gvwr or gvw) or any vehicle designed to carry more than 16 passengers. Does this mean even if I register my bus as an RV I'd need a CDL since most buses have a gvwr over 26,000 lbs? Also in MA apparently we don't do temporary license plates so would this mean that I need a CDL if I bought a bus in MA? Sorry for all the questions

https://www.drivinglaws.org/resource...0more%20pounds.
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrenchtech View Post
At last count, around 15 states require a special license for motorhomes over a certain weight.

https://offgridspot.com/do-i-need-a-...e-a-motorhome/

Arkansas - A CDL is required if your RV has a GVWR above 26,000lbs.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington DC - If it is a single motorhome above 26,000lbs, a class B license is required. Apply for a Class A license if you are towing, and the combined GVWR is above 26,000lbs.

These states require a special non-commercial drivers license:

California - you need a Class B license if the motorhome exceeds 40 feet or 26,000 lbs. If you are towing a trailer above 10,000lbs, a Class A license is required.

Maryland - Class B license is required.

Michigan - special double R endorsement, only needed if you tow a trailer and a fifth wheel together (very rare case)

North Carolina - same as California, minus the 40 feet limit.

Nevada - Class B for single motorhome, Class A for multiple (towed) RVs with a combined weight above 26,000lbs, J endorsement if multiple towed vehicles are under 26,000 lbs and the towed vehicle is above 10,000lbs.

New York - R endorsement for all RVs above 26,000lbs.

Pennsylvania - Class B license, same as California

South Carolina - Class E license for single motorhome, Class F for multiple RV-trailer combos above 26,000 lbs combined weight.

Texas - Same as California, minus the 40 feet requirement

Wyoming - Class B license for motorhomes with or without towed vehicles under 10,000lbs, Class A if the towed vehicle is above 10,000lbs (combined weight is above 36,000lbs).

Just to clarify that in Kansas, if the GVWR is greater than or equal to 26,001 lbs., a (non CDL) class B license is required. I recall not seeing an exemption for vehicles titled as RV, so I called the nearby Drivers examination office. They said there was no exemption for RV's. They also said an air brake endorsement would be required if equipped.

Below is from the 2019 Kansas Statute 8-234b(5)

(5) class B motor vehicles include any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. Class B motor vehicles do not include a single vehicle registered as a farm truck under K.S.A. 8-143, and amendments thereto, when such farm truck has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds, or more; or any fire truck operated by a volunteer fire department;
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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In California you can drive
Any 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or
ANY HOUSECAR UNDER 40ft. with a basic Class "C".
So the 26,000 lbs. does not apply to housecars! Check it out here-https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbook/recreational-vehicles-and-trailers-handbook-2011/license-classes-and-requirements/
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:41 PM   #9
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In many states there is a CDL, and there is class A/Class B licenses, which are *NOT* necessarily the same thing! The former is for drivers operating said class of vehicles *For Commercial Purposes* and the latter is for non-commercial use (often includes farming, some states include RV's in this).


Now buses are designed and built for the purpose of hauling passengers, but *You* are not doing that, and you have intentions of converting it (presumably permanently) into living quarters. As such, that is (generally) *NOT* commercial usage and will exempt you from the commercial aspect of the CDL. Some buses are under 26K GVW but some are over, which might put you in Class B territory. Air brakes might involve an appropriate endorsement (and it's been discussed that one province of Canada, I don't remember which one, will absolutely require that endorsement if you wish to enter).
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:05 PM   #10
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Oi its 25,000 lbs or more C.DL needed everywhere
That Ive seen
Ive not been pulled over. But thats what Ive read
And air brakes are no big monster in da closet either
From my research
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:44 PM   #11
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In Minnesota you would need a class B CDL until it is registered as an RV.... after that a class D works.
Air Brakes are no big deal as long as you know what they are, how to maintain them, and how to make sure they are working.... it you have a problem with air brakes, ie lose pressure... the spring brake will kick in, and you better be ready to head to the side of the road, because you will not be going anywhere until you fix them.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:51 AM   #12
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I'm in NY and DMV told me my regular drivers licence is fine. Vehicle must be over 26,000 lbs for a CDL.
I drove to Florida and back with no problems.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:53 AM   #13
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when i get the chance I'll post a picture of what she wrote down for me.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:28 AM   #14
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Hello. I live in Massachusetts and I bought my bus when I was 17. It is a full size fs65. I didn't have my cdl. I went to the head title department in Quincy and all the supervisor said that I needed was a "permanently attached toilet and sink". I removed most of the seats so it didn't seat more than 15 and bolted a vanity and camping toilet to the floor. (It was temporary) Then I got the title and passenger capacity changed to autohome and I was good to go. Lucky for me the place I bought my bus was a mile down the road so I didn't have to worry about plates or insurance. I drove my bus all over new england with just that temporary conversion done. It was still yellow and I just painted over the lights and took of the stop sign. I even drove it to high school once!! I got my cdl a when I was 19 because I'm a tractor trailer driver for work so I dont worry about it now but my point is I drove it for 2 years across multiple states without an issue.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:32 AM   #15
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CDL = Commercial Driver's License.


If you are not using your vehicle for a commercial business, then you do not need a CDL.


The Feds mandate the CDL for Interstate drivers. They have no control if the vehicle stays in one state. Feds have control over interstate commerce.


Each state has its own laws about in-state commercial drivers.


Even if you don't register your bus as an RV or Motorhome, if you do not use it as a business vehicle involved in commerce, you do not need a CDL. Note, for example a real-estate person may drive you around as part of their business; they may use their vehicle as a primary tool of their job. But it is not used in commerce. Note also, for example I have seen a company (Panther Express in this example) running Sprinter vans between states; they need a Federally Endorced CDL, from what I understand. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.



However, some states (CA for instance) requires an endorsement on your regular driver's license for vehicles over a given weight, and that weight varies by state. That applies to RVs and Motorhomes as well.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
CDL = Commercial Driver's License.


If you are not using your vehicle for a commercial business, then you do not need a CDL.


The Feds mandate the CDL for Interstate drivers. They have no control if the vehicle stays in one state. Feds have control over interstate commerce.


Each state has its own laws about in-state commercial drivers.


Even if you don't register your bus as an RV or Motorhome, if you do not use it as a business vehicle involved in commerce, you do not need a CDL. Note, for example a real-estate person may drive you around as part of their business; they may use their vehicle as a primary tool of their job. But it is not used in commerce. Note also, for example I have seen a company (Panther Express in this example) running Sprinter vans between states; they need a Federally Endorced CDL, from what I understand. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.



However, some states (CA for instance) requires an endorsement on your regular driver's license for vehicles over a given weight, and that weight varies by state. That applies to RVs and Motorhomes as well.
In Cal. This is what the LAW reads:
You may drive...
With a Basic Class C license:
A 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
A 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. gross or less.
A motorized scooter.
Any housecar 40or less.

Correct me if I am wrong but the last line supersedes the 26,000 lbs. or less.
Again refer to:
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbo...-requirements/
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by GWRider View Post
Just to clarify that in Kansas, if the GVWR is greater than or equal to 26,001 lbs., a (non CDL) class B license is required. I recall not seeing an exemption for vehicles titled as RV, so I called the nearby Drivers examination office. They said there was no exemption for RV's. They also said an air brake endorsement would be required if equipped.

Below is from the 2019 Kansas Statute 8-234b(5)

(5) class B motor vehicles include any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. Class B motor vehicles do not include a single vehicle registered as a farm truck under K.S.A. 8-143, and amendments thereto, when such farm truck has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds, or more; or any fire truck operated by a volunteer fire department;

There is no non-commercial Class A or B in Kansas. All Class A and B licenses are CDL. You would need the air brake endorsement as well if the bus is so equipped. You have to take the pre-trip, skills, and road exam in a vehicle representative of the class you are testing for (ie, you cant take a Class B test in a mini bus or a Class A test in a F350 with a 5th wheel). Now the only thing I'm not sure of is if you can take the test in an unconverted Class B school bus without getting the P and S endorsements. I got my CDL to be a school bus driver so I HAD to take it in a school bus and I HAD to get those endorsements.


The pre-trip inspection exam is by far the worst part (especially if you draw Full Inspection for your exam, versus Engine Only or Engine+Left Side) because you have to identify so many parts (by correct name) and potential defects. It is a quantitative exam, you get points for each correctly identified part and potential defect, and you must score a certain amount to pass. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to help you prep for it.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:44 AM   #18
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I just called the MVA in Maryland and they told me my regular driver's license was fine as long as the bus was registered as a Class M vehicle (multipurpose) and that I paint the bus a different color, remove all of the safety lights, stop sign, and school bus signs. They also said I need to have it inspected annually.

No CDL required.
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