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Old 04-14-2022, 12:10 PM   #1
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Question Driving without cdl?

I apologize. The search feature is just freezing and never providing results.

I believe I've found my (Mini) bus. It's advertised as a 15 passenger. Has seats for 13 plus one wheel chair lock.

It's out of State. Anyone have experience legally driving a mini bus without a CDL? State rebranding department says it's a titling question. State titling department says it's a jurisdiction question.

I want to be able to drive it to And from the supply store while I'm converting it and it's in a drivable condition.

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Old 04-14-2022, 12:29 PM   #2
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If it's a mini bus, is it under 26k gvwr? Probably don't need a CDL. Also if there is under a certain number of seats you might be okay. Some states need air brake endorsement. What state are you registering it in? What states are you driving to get it? Can you register it in SD or Vermont as a motorhome right away. Need more details here for better help.
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Old 04-14-2022, 01:20 PM   #3
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The term CDL needs to be used carefully. "Commercial Driver's License" is not the term you (or anyone on the forum most likely) should be using because you are not using your bus for business or commercial purposes.

Let me make an example based upon Pennsylvania laws. You state may be (and likely is) slightly different but here goes:

1. 26,000lbs GVW and under does not require ANY special licensing to drive

2. 26,001lbs GVW and up would require that you obtain a Non-commercial Class A or Class B. This is not a CDL. The difference being Class A allows you to tow a trailer over 10,000lbs GVW. This requires a test at a licensing center. This type of license comes in to play when youre dealing with large coach conversions that are over 26k gvw (think large MCI or Van Hool with a tag axle).

3. You can "De-rate" a vehicle to any weight less than its stated GVW and more than its unladen weight. My bus (78 passenger 38' Amtran RE) is rated at 32k but registered at 26k. Unladen weight is 18k or 19k.

In a nutshell, if its registered under 26k GVW youre fine.
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Old 04-14-2022, 03:23 PM   #4
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Cool The question is still valid

@fo4imtippin Thanks for the response.

@RamRod4 I'm assuming your response means you don't believe there's any restrictions on commercial vehicles under the 26,001 lb limit even if it was built for commercial passenger transport or might be considered a higher capacity than 15 (the cut off before needing a passenger endorsement)

I have a class A, with multiple endorsements. I'm intimately familiar with the "commercial drivers license". Even though I no longer use it.

I have driven many types And sizes of vehicles I was even trained to drive full size busses in the military

But, I do not have nor do I ever plan to get the passenger endorsement. I Will never even do ride share if I can help it.

I have never bought nor owned a unit built for hauling passengers

There's no cause nor justification for admonishment nor critisim. The question is a valid question given that busses, both large And small are commercial passenger vehicles. Nor, is "CDL" an offensive or politically incorrect term.

Any vehicle with more than 15 humans in it requires a CDL with passenger endorsement for the driver.

The question arises that if the vehicle is able to seat more than 15, do laws require a passenger endorsement even if there's only a single person in the vehicle

It's a valid question and one I think would be able to be discussed on a forum such as this without unnecessary, unwarranted admonishment.
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Old 04-14-2022, 03:43 PM   #5
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I didn't take anything RamRod said with a negative tone. You have 3 posts. People come in the forum all the time to figure out if they need to hire a driver to get their bus home. With the phrasing of you question, I think we all assumed that was what you were looking for. This is relevant because you didn't mention that you were hauling 15 people or the tagged weight of your new bus.



My bus was tagged by BlueBird with a rated capacity of 14. It had 12 seats if i remember (besides the driver). Each seat had two seatbelts. No idea how they came up with this. There was also room for 3-5 wheelchairs in the back. Some people that buy big buses pull all the seats out for insurance or other things.


Personal Buses seem to be a gray area for the law when they are in flux.. each state has its own laws which are certainly enforced by the interpretation of the local jurisdictions. That's not to say there are no laws or don't worry about it. But each scenario is unique. General consensus is that buses seem to be invisible to law enforcement unless you make them stick out (parking overnight somewhere not allowed, speeding by a lot, looking real sketchy, etc)


I would say that once you remove the seats and the capacity tag on the plate, the records are gone that show a 15 person capacity.
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Old 04-14-2022, 04:24 PM   #6
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I do understand that it can be confusing to try to interpret information and post on the internet.

And you are correct I did not say I was hauling 15 people around

I specifically stated that the bus was advertised as a 15 passenger. I also stated how many actual seats and wheelchair spots there were. I also asked if it could be driven without a CDL.

I do not understand how any of that could be confusing, with the exception of not having mentioned the gross vehicle weight. But I also assume that a mini bus is relatively standard for being under 26,000 lb. That assumption if it's causing problems is on me. And if it caused any confusion I do apologize. And if my question "can a mini bus that is advertised as a 15 passenger bus be driven without a CDL" is in any way confusing again I apologize.

However when telling someone that they should not mention a word or phrase, nor should anyone on this forum. Well, that is a negative, a rebuke for whatever reason or intention. You're indicating that they are not permitted or that they Will have in trouble if they do.

Regardless, it is a valid question. If you buy a Mini bus, and allow me to now clarify with a gross vehicle weight of under 26,000 lb, are there any laws or regulations that require a passenger door?

I will try to research it further since it seems to possibly be a gray area. Thank you again for the helpful parts of the responses.
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Old 04-14-2022, 04:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Funk Daddy G View Post
I apologize. The search feature is just freezing and never providing results.

I believe I've found my (Mini) bus. It's advertised as a 15 passenger. Has seats for 13 plus one wheel chair lock.

It's out of State. Anyone have experience legally driving a mini bus without a CDL? State rebranding department says it's a titling question. State titling department says it's a jurisdiction question.

I want to be able to drive it to And from the supply store while I'm converting it and it's in a drivable condition.
I've got a MiniBird that I purchased as a partially-done project; rather horribly (he was Army Intelligence) regarding weight distribution. Granted, mine was already painted but only traded the gold for white, and the black for blue.

I've never had any issues driving around, other than the typical 'get out of here, man'/'we don't like your type'/'skoolies aren't allowed'.

Based on my experiences, I would generally assume that, provided you pull the seats--which makes more room, and you at least try to cover up with spray paint any original school markings, you shouldn't really have any issues unless the cop wanted to be an asshole about things, or just wanted to 'stop and check you out'.

And I've had an open arrest warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket as well. They just generally give me a stink-eye and tell me to take care of it.

I full-timed in it for 3 years and never got anything like that in the least bit, and mine still has a company logo on the top from when it was a (charter) school bus. But mine's also a P30 Chassis that grosses out at 14,500 lbs with hydroboost/hydromax brakes.

It's already been mentioned, but I think the air-brake endorsement is the only thing you would need, and only if you have air brakes.
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Old 04-14-2022, 04:34 PM   #8
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...are there any laws or regulations that require a passenger door?
Not to my knowledge, but the only laws that actually matter are the ones in your locale, as the Constitution, inter-state commerce clause, and American Jurisprudence require states and municipalities to respect reciprocity.

If it's legal in your area (where it's titled), then it has to be respected in other areas where it may not be 'legal'.

Granted, Congress and the US Government™ have been creeping further and further up people's assholes because they haven't been pushed back on, which is why they're trying to tax and legislate every little thing.
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Old 04-14-2022, 07:14 PM   #9
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@fo4imtippin Thanks for the response.

@RamRod4 I'm assuming your response means you don't believe there's any restrictions on commercial vehicles under the 26,001 lb limit even if it was built for commercial passenger transport or might be considered a higher capacity than 15 (the cut off before needing a passenger endorsement)

I have a class A, with multiple endorsements. I'm intimately familiar with the "commercial drivers license". Even though I no longer use it.

I have driven many types And sizes of vehicles I was even trained to drive full size busses in the military

But, I do not have nor do I ever plan to get the passenger endorsement. I Will never even do ride share if I can help it.

I have never bought nor owned a unit built for hauling passengers

There's no cause nor justification for admonishment nor critisim. The question is a valid question given that busses, both large And small are commercial passenger vehicles. Nor, is "CDL" an offensive or politically incorrect term.

Any vehicle with more than 15 humans in it requires a CDL with passenger endorsement for the driver.

The question arises that if the vehicle is able to seat more than 15, do laws require a passenger endorsement even if there's only a single person in the vehicle

It's a valid question and one I think would be able to be discussed on a forum such as this without unnecessary, unwarranted admonishment.

Not sure why you took offense to my comment as there was no malicious intent on my end. I’m trying to inform to the best of my knowledge having worked as an inspection mechanic and salesman of trucks/trailers. My point was that the term CDL is often used synonymously with any license requirement for large vehicles.

That said, my point still stands because there is no commercial activity going on with most/all of the buses on this forum. As for a passenger endorsement, are you carrying passengers as a commercial service? I would assume not.

Again, it comes down to registration. Are you registering and insuring the bus as a commercial vehicle or for transporting passengers? I understand that your intent is to drive it across state lines so that is a gray area but the bottom line is that you’re driving a vehicle that is rated for slightly more people than a large cargo van, is well under 26k, and likely doesn’t have air brakes. I highly doubt there’s any grounds to ticket/fine you because of a licensing issue regarding a CDL (especially if you have your class a already) or passenger endorsement.
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Old 04-14-2022, 07:23 PM   #10
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However when telling someone that they should not mention a word or phrase, nor should anyone on this forum. Well, that is a negative, a rebuke for whatever reason or intention. You're indicating that they are not permitted or that they Will have in trouble if they do.
I think you jumped the gun here. My point was that CDL is a term thrown around here a lot and it’s done so incorrectly. This leads to confusion on the forum regarding licensing requirements because people tend to think there’s no difference between a Class A Non-commercial license (if they even know it exists) and a Class A Commercial Drivers License “CDL”.

A little more info from you in the beginning would’ve cleared a lot of things up.

I’m not in this forum to be a keyboard warrior. I came here for ideas for my build and to assist others who don’t possess the tools, knowledge, or skills yet to complete their buses. Don’t take things so personally if you come here asking for advice. Most people are just trying to give you the help you asked for.
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Old 04-14-2022, 07:51 PM   #11
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I can't help myself, and know I'll be hammered by some. The fact you already HAVE a Class A means you can drive any single vehicle, Period. It's pointless in the extreme to even ask such a question. You should already know this.... because you have a Class A license. See how that works. Why are you even asking such a silly question?? You already have a Class A CDL, Commercial Drivers License...... The Big Daddy of them all. What's the deal?

Asking about passenger endorsements, weight limits, air brakes, and any and all the other questions only goes to show you're missing the point of already Having a Class A license.

You can drive most any vehicle combination on the road plus endorsements for doubles/triples, Tankers, which, by the way I also have, maybe Hazmat, which I don't care to put up with. I also have a passenger endorsement because I still work in the Charter business driving passengers in commercial revenue service. If I never did that anymore I wouldn't bother keeping it current and could still drive my little fleet of Crowns to Hell and Gone without any worries because I'm not carrying passengers in revenue service anymore, get it?

99% of the users of this site are unfamiliar with the many license regulations and can in some cases get caught up in the snares. Never having had or experienced Commercial large vehicle license requirements they need help and clarifications to avoid what most would still consider very low risk entanglements, and most get by just fine as a result.

By already having a Class A you are superseding any of the common problems and have nothing to worry about on any level. Your questions are needless provocations and without any need for further comment, maybe just to hear yourself.... You already have your answer. So get over your thin skin with the others trying to help you, when you don't really need any help.

This is me venting at someone who has no problems but merely looking for someone to take out his argumentative nature on. I am being rude on purpose, you need to hear it. Sorry to all the others on the site, you know I'm not this way normally, but I couldn't contain myself over this. I'll go back in my hole now.
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Old 04-14-2022, 07:53 PM   #12
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I think you jumped the gun here. My point was that CDL is a term thrown around here a lot and it’s done so incorrectly. This leads to confusion on the forum regarding licensing requirements because people tend to think there’s no difference between a Class A Non-commercial license (if they even know it exists) and a Class A Commercial Drivers License “CDL”.

A little more info from you in the beginning would’ve cleared a lot of things up.

I’m not in this forum to be a keyboard warrior. I came here for ideas for my build and to assist others who don’t possess the tools, knowledge, or skills yet to complete their buses. Don’t take things so personally if you come here asking for advice. Most people are just trying to give you the help you asked for.

it varies a *LOT* state to state.. for instance in Ohio a CDL is required if the bus is FITTED for more than 15 passengers and is being used fopr Coommerce.. (commerce includes not for profit and church service also)..


In michigan its similar EXCEPT they go on the RATED capacity of the bus regardless of how many seats are actually installed.. so if the placard i nthe bus says 32 passenger yet you have only 3 seats they still require CDL..



some states require a special class non CDL as mentioned.. the best thong to do is read the rules for the state you are plating the bus in... and that includes if you obtain a temporary tag in Texas and drive it to ohio.. you would be under texas rules until you bought an ohio plate (just using as example)...
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Old 04-14-2022, 08:10 PM   #13
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I can't help myself, and know I'll be hammered by some. The fact you already HAVE a Class A means you can drive any single vehicle, Period. It's pointless in the extreme to even ask such a question. You should already know this.... because you have a Class A license. See how that works. Why are you even asking such a silly question??
As previously stated i do NOT have the passenger endorsement. Thus I can't drive anything that would legally require a passenger endorsement, no matter what class license I have.

Just like someone with a class a, but without the same endorsements as mine couldn't drive doubles, triples, tankers, hazmat

That is how it works. The class dictates the size limits & truck type. The endorsementss dictate the specialties. Class a is the bare bones of combination vehicles. It's not the grand Daddy of anything

That is how it works for the commercial drivers license.

Thus it's a valid, reasonable question, and not in the least silly.

The only one looking to be argumentative is you.

If you truly have a class A, you should know that your repeated statements are blatantly false. Repeating them And acknowledging the lies as intentional rudeness doesn't make them any more true
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Old 04-14-2022, 08:13 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone who responded with helpful information. This has been very beneficial

I have a call into the regional state police post who do reclassification inspections. Hopefully they'll have familiarity with how it works, because unfortunately even 2 traffic attorneys didn't have a definitive response.

It truly seems to be a grey area.
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Old 04-14-2022, 08:22 PM   #15
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As previously stated i do NOT have the passenger endorsement. Thus I can't drive anything that would legally require a passenger endorsement, no matter what class license I have.

Just like someone with a class a, but without the same endorsements as mine couldn't drive doubles, triples, tankers, hazmat

That is how it works. The class dictates the size limits & truck type. The endorsementss dictate the specialties.


That is how it works for the commercial drivers license.

Thus it's a valid, reasonable question, and not in the least silly.

WRONG on all counts.

Passenger endorsements are for Commercial Revenue Service. If the seats are removed it really isn't relevant as it's an RV now anyway and exempt.
Just drive the damn thing and stop it with the micro-analyzing.
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Old 04-14-2022, 11:04 PM   #16
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I can't help myself, and know I'll be hammered by some. The fact you already HAVE a Class A means you can drive any single vehicle, Period. It's pointless in the extreme to even ask such a question. You should already know this.... because you have a Class A license. See how that works. Why are you even asking such a silly question?? You already have a Class A CDL, Commercial Drivers License...... The Big Daddy of them all. What's the deal?

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


THAT RIGHT THERE
Welcome to the Internet. Someone will be along shortly to try to drum up some sort of drama.
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:04 AM   #17
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Thanks to everyone who responded with helpful information. This has been very beneficial

I have a call into the regional state police post who do reclassification inspections. Hopefully they'll have familiarity with how it works, because unfortunately even 2 traffic attorneys didn't have a definitive response.

It truly seems to be a grey area.
Regional state police???

What state are you in?

I would be looking at your home state dmv licensing laws, I’m quite sure will find CDL licensing exemptions that include recreational vehicle driving.

It is not fair of you to ask a general question on a specific issue, you can only expect to receive a general answer.

That being said, remove all the seats, the school bus signals and wording, paint the red/yellow marker lights with black spray paint and you no longer have a bus, you have a truck now!

Passenger issues are now moot!

While driving cross country from pickup trucks to home state, place a sign on both doors that state, “NOT FOR HIRE”!

BTW, lawyers are liars, they will collect your money, have their assistant do the research and will come back to you with the same state DMV licensing laws that you can lookup yourself, for free and if you make copies of those state laws, highlight the subject matter, you can then hand that to anyone who questions your authority to drive the now retired bus newly born recreational vehicle!
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:11 AM   #18
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Regional state police???

What state are you in?

I would be looking at your home state dmv licensing laws, I’m quite sure will find CDL licensing exemptions that include recreational vehicle driving.

It is not fair of you to ask a general question on a specific issue, you can only expect to receive a general answer.

That being said, remove all the seats, the school bus signals and wording, paint the red/yellow marker lights with black spray paint and you no longer have a bus, you have a truck now!

Passenger issues are now moot!

While driving cross country from pickup trucks to home state, place a sign on both doors that state, “NOT FOR HIRE”!



thats what ive done on the yellow busses ive driven long distances is put a sign on that says "Vehicle in Transit Not for hire"..



my superior I didnt even have a license tag.. albeit that was probably pushing things but I had a couple officers along the way at stops (and i made alot of them) tell me i had a nice old bus.. it was already white ...


the **BIGGEST** thing is dont drive like a dumbass.. since you have a class A you already lknow how to drive a large vehicle with respect on the road and maintain a lane, etc..
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:23 AM   #19
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bought our bus (full size dog nose 72 passenger) in a different state. only needed a operator (car/pickup) licence to drive across state lines. did have to buy a 10 dollar permit to get out of Illinois. but no other permits were required and as long as you do not use it to make money no other licence is required. you will find much confusion with any state worker as they really do not know. this includes dmv personnel. any licence questions should be addressed to your state dot officers and not on the internet or other departments of the government.
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:40 AM   #20
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Met with Regional state police that handles inspections for reclassification, and it is based on each state regulations. Some states do require a reclassification before it's legal to drive, Even with hydraulic brakes, for those who don't have air brakes endorsement, just because of how it's designated.

I let him read this thread. Gave him a good laugh, especially everyone who thinks the endorsement should don't matter.

I'm posting this information for others who May care about being legal when driving your new rig.

Too much wrong information here that's Will cost people money.
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