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Old 02-27-2016, 11:19 PM   #1
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Need a cdl to drive a skoolie...

If you don't retitle the skoolie as a housecar, do you legally need a cdl to drive it? One auction I am looking at said that if I won, I would need a cdl in hand to drive the bus. This was in Oregon btw.
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:28 PM   #2
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CDL's are for people who are driving for commercial purposes, IE to make money.

So you only need a NONE commercial class endorsement or permit depending on the GVWR of the bus.
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:03 AM   #3
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....And the state! There are different requirements depending on the state.
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:07 AM   #4
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Yep.
Here in FL, we don't have to worry about having any cdl.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:06 AM   #5
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This is an endless gray area, and in some states it's worse than in others. Federal law on the matter changed in 2009 or so, and many states haven't caught up yet.

USDOT, which issues DOT numbers for commercial vehicles nation-wide, WILL NOT issue a DOT number for a vehicle that is not used commercially. If it isn't a commercial vehicle (that is, it is not used for commercial purposes), USDOT does not require that the operator have a CDL. Some states still do, others do not. In Alaska, the law just changed in 2014, and many people at the state DMV don't know about the change - I found all this out by talking to the Legislative Liason for the DMV - that is, the person who interfaces between the state department and the state legislature.

So regardless of which state you're in, chances are that whoever you talk to at DMV won't know if the law was recently changed. Most states are in process of catching their rules up to the federal rules on this if they haven't done it already.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:06 AM   #6
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Thanks! That means one more thing to look into when I buy the bus. It is likely going to be a bus bought in another state-I would like to buy a bus from a mild weather state so that the body will be in better condition.
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:20 AM   #7
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Commercial drivers are subject to no less than six different regulatory agencies so while one agency may say 'no' to the question another may say 'yes' regarding the question. Part of the question is the vehicle but the biggest part is the driver of said vehicle. Furthermore, school buses inevitably fall into a further gray area because they aren't operated commercially (for-profit) but they do satisfy the federal standard for a cdl license in that they seat more than 15 passengers.

My two cents: technically you should have a passenger endorsement on your license to get the bus home. If your state has a chauffeur endorsement that is more than 15 passengers but less than 26k pounds then it may not technically be a cdl but should be valid to any other state's law enforcement. One other sticking point may be if it is air-brake equipped because this is a further endorsement but ironically only if the vehicle is actually commercial... Class A RVs can be over 26k pounds AND have air brakes so long as they don't seat more than 15! Bizarre, right?!
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Old 03-03-2016, 03:31 PM   #8
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pengyou, check with the DMV of YOUR state regarding the necessity of either a CDL or a P endorsement. NO ONE on this site is an authority on individual state requirements.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:42 PM   #9
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In New York, unless the vehicle is explicitly an RV, if its over 26K you need a CDL, no ifs ands or butts about it. My bus was 25,500lbs, so I was able to drive it home with my livery licence without any fuss.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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hello,

I'm new to he forum and wanted to ask a question about this issue .

Can I Tag the school bus as a RV prior to the conversion ?

thank you in advance .
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al perna View Post
hello,

I'm new to he forum and wanted to ask a question about this issue .

Can I Tag the school bus as a RV prior to the conversion ?

thank you in advance .
Welcome, all states are DIFFERENT...I legally have private car tags on my bus (5k wt rated tags), I ran for several years with weighted tags until I was informed that it wasn't needed, also TN DOES NOT have a "list" or "specs" to go by to turn it into an RV

My bus is simply a "privately owned Vehicle"

Lot's of folks make it too hard on themselves
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Old 03-07-2016, 02:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by al perna View Post
hello,

I'm new to he forum and wanted to ask a question about this issue .

Can I Tag the school bus as a RV prior to the conversion ?

thank you in advance .
In Ohio, the short answer is no.

In Ohio, they require you sign an affidavit that the conversion meets the requirements but (from my, and others, experience) nobody actually checks. I can't condone skirting the law and lying about the completion level of your conversion to get it titled... but I seriously doubt anyone would call you on it.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Welcome, all states are DIFFERENT...I legally have private car tags on my bus (5k wt rated tags), I ran for several years with weighted tags until I was informed that it wasn't needed, also TN DOES NOT have a "list" or "specs" to go by to turn it into an RV

My bus is simply a "privately owned Vehicle"

Lot's of folks make it too hard on themselves
LOL you're welcome!

Isn't it great? When I found out that I could register my bus like a car and not have to change the title to RV or get weighted tags I was elated.
I think you are correct.. Folks sometimes do make it harder on themselves.
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
My bus is simply a "privately owned Vehicle"

Lot's of folks make it too hard on themselves
Now trying to get insurance on a 33,000 lb privately owned vehicle without some sort of a "special endorsement" is another story.

In AZ you have to meet 4 of 6 criteria, a water source, a cooking source, a sleeping area, a restroom, or a few others.

I bought mine in Chattanooga and drove it to my parents in Alabama. I had to have a deputy verify the VIN on an affidavit. I took said affidavit to the local tax collector's office, with a local address and my AZ DL and insurance policy. Told them it was an RV conversion and they cut my registration right there. Title came 3 weeks later as a Thomas RV, All I did to the bus was have the seats out!

Each state is different. I would start with insurance first, as that is a requirement for registration.

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Old 03-07-2016, 06:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRainbowBoxer View Post
In Ohio, the short answer is no.

In Ohio, they require you sign an affidavit that the conversion meets the requirements but (from my, and others, experience) nobody actually checks. I can't condone skirting the law and lying about the completion level of your conversion to get it titled... but I seriously doubt anyone would call you on it.
New Jersey's "No" as well.

The following information is from NJ MVC (and current as of two years ago) (Emphasis added for clarification)
Quote:
Foreign – Bus – Motor Home Page 1 of 3
Foreign Title Unit (R11/09)
General Information
1) Change vehicle type on Comp System : This Procedure will be followed when the MVC-Foreign Title Unit is notified that a bus was converted to a Recreational Vehicle (RV). The regulations concerning Certificate of ownership for used motor vehicles converted into motor homes is 13:21-20.5. This transaction can be handled through the mail or in-person at the MVC central office in Trenton. If approved, this transaction will be handled in 2 steps:
2) Issue a Replacement title on the Agency V3 System
* Motor Home Vehicle Type = 05 Required Modifications
Remove most seats from the bus : In order for the bus to be converted to an RV, the customer must make the following modifications to the vehicle:
Remove emergency lights including the side mounted stop sign
Repaint the exterior of the vehicle (Cannot remain any shade of yellow)
Install a permanent bed or sleep sofa
Install a permanent sink or bar sink (Must be in working order)
Install a permanent stove or microwave
Bus – Motor Home (RV)
Foreign – Bus – Motor Home Page 2 of 3
Foreign Title Unit (R11/09)
Requirements
• :
Original NJ Title
o If the customer wishes to re-sell the vehicle, they must do so after the conversion, as a separate transaction. must be already in customer’s name as a Bus.
• Color photographs
o Exterior photos must completely/clearly show all 4 sides of the vehicle. of the interior and exterior after the conversion.
o Interior photos must completely/ show the bed, stove/microwave and sink.
Pencil tracing or photograph clearly showing the complete VIN plate
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr View Post
Now trying to get insurance on a 33,000 lb privately owned vehicle without some sort of a "special endorsement" is another story.

In AZ you have to meet 4 of 6 criteria, a water source, a cooking source, a sleeping area, a restroom, or a few others.

I bought mine in Chattanooga and drove it to my parents in Alabama. I had to have a deputy verify the VIN on an affidavit. I took said affidavit to the local tax collector's office, with a local address and my AZ DL and insurance policy. Told them it was an RV conversion and they cut my registration right there. Title came 3 weeks later as a Thomas RV, All I did to the bus was have the seats out!

Each state is different. I would start with insurance first, as that is a requirement for registration.

-Doc
What special endorsements?
I just waltzed into the tag office and said nothing. I sat the paperwork down and registered my 17.9k lb van without mentioning the words "rv" or "school bus".
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Old 03-08-2016, 05:01 AM   #17
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I guess it would depend on your vehicle type. When you bring a Thomas MPV title in versus a Chevy 3500 eyebrows raise. And you get the question "what kind of vehicle is a Thomas??

Like it was said before, different states, different procedures.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:39 AM   #18
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Start this off with this:

My insurance company allows anything you buy (except NO Airplane and NO Boats) to have 72 hr insurance on it to cover coming home and a full weekend to travel etc

I talked to my agent and he said no problem, so I bought it

I said
"I am buying a school bus to go camping in and need liability and other driver no ins coverage"
"okay"
I brought it to him the Monday after I bought it, it was yellow and fully seated, they took a picture of the outside and then all the staff came out and checked it out

I first got tags
walked in with bill of sale, title, and drivers license handy

I said "Hello, I just bought this and need tags for it" and handed her the small packet of stuff

"okay honey" and she started when it came to tags she said "what tags do you want on it?"

I said "I guess weighted"

"okay how much?"

"26K"

she said, "that is safer than too light"

I walked out 10 minutes and $180 lighter

Thanks to CB finding a "lost" TN page for personalized tags for RV's I discovered that I didn't need "weight" tags after all since it was non commercial

"knock on wood" my insurance has been awesome for almost 20 years, again I do not have full coverage like some folks attempt and since we don't have lists for anything

not much difference, just like when I buy my dump truck this summer I will not have DOT markers and it will not have weighted tags and no CDL required, it will be a personal vehicle...I will ensure it is not overloaded though
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Start this off with this:

My insurance company allows anything you buy (except NO Airplane and NO Boats) to have 72 hr insurance on it to cover coming home and a full weekend to travel etc

I talked to my agent and he said no problem, so I bought it

I said
"I am buying a school bus to go camping in and need liability and other driver no ins coverage"
"okay"
I brought it to him the Monday after I bought it, it was yellow and fully seated, they took a picture of the outside and then all the staff came out and checked it out

I first got tags
walked in with bill of sale, title, and drivers license handy

I said "Hello, I just bought this and need tags for it" and handed her the small packet of stuff

"okay honey" and she started when it came to tags she said "what tags do you want on it?"

I said "I guess weighted"

"okay how much?"

"26K"

she said, "that is safer than too light"

I walked out 10 minutes and $180 lighter

Thanks to CB finding a "lost" TN page for personalized tags for RV's I discovered that I didn't need "weight" tags after all since it was non commercial

"knock on wood" my insurance has been awesome for almost 20 years, again I do not have full coverage like some folks attempt and since we don't have lists for anything

not much difference, just like when I buy my dump truck this summer I will not have DOT markers and it will not have weighted tags and no CDL required, it will be a personal vehicle...I will ensure it is not overloaded though

Which is the second reason I want to sell my house in Phoenix and move near Chattanooga!!!!
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:25 PM   #20
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From all the research I have done and posts others have stated about their experiences in Va, I can find nothing that states a CDL is needed in Va for non-commercial vehicles, no matter what the weight is. I have been sweating this because first I was obsessed with changing the title to an RV title right away, even though the bus would not be converted Yet. That is not allowed in Va but from what I can tell I can just register with normal tags as a private vehicle. I don't think it matters if it's a 20,000lb Thomas School bus or a 44,000lb Van Hool Motor Coach.
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