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Old 07-07-2018, 07:52 AM   #1
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Question Registration and Liscence in VA

Hey everyone,

I've been lurking around this forum for a bit now and it's finally time for my first post! I've found this place to be incredibly helpful thusfar, although I'm failing to find some specific info I need anywhere in my state's DMV information, so I figured I'd make a post.

First, the bus in question is a full-size 1985 Ford/Thomas bus that was purchased from the NC school system. The bus was purchased by a group of folks from my union local with the intention of modifying it to use it for a sort of mutual aid vehicle for the less-fortunate in our city (Richmond) by using it as a mobile distribution center for essentials (clothing, basic OTC medicines, dry goods/canned food, books, etc) in various struggling neighborhoods.

To that end, we've removed the rear half of the seats and have painted the bus (green). The bus runs incredibly well for its age!

To the question(s) - I've found some information suggesting that there is a way to register this bus as a "Private Bus/Truck Not For Hire" which would keep me from needing to get a CDL to drive it. Does anyone know if this is legitimate and if it is, how in the world do I go about doing this? Does this hold true in spite of the air brakes on the bus?

Including a picture of the bus for reference.

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Old 07-07-2018, 09:38 AM   #2
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I bought insurance before I bought the bus. I then just waltzed down to the VA DMV with title in hand and they took care of me. I removed most of the seats, put "Private RV Not For Hire" signs in the windows, bolted on the plates, and hit the road. Hope that helps.

Contact Ricky Burgess at Sutphin insurance in Moneta, VA if you need VA insurance. Good guy: you can (and should) be completely frank with him as to your purpose.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! That seems so much easier than I was thinking it would be!

Did they confirm for you that since it was a private bus you wouldn't need a CDL?

I just need to find a DMV source that says this I guess, I just can't seem to. All I see is information about needing CDLs for any vehicle with air brakes.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:27 AM   #4
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From the Virginia DMV website:

Commercial driver's license requirements do not apply to:

"Operators of emergency vehicles, such as firefighters
Active duty military personnel operating military vehicles
Operators of vehicles, such as recreational vehicles and rental moving vans, used only for personal use"

Link: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/drivers/#whoarecdl.asp

It looks questionable.... If it is an RV for personal use then no CDL. If a volunteer group is using it to distribute food they may look at that as commercial use. If so then you will need a CDL.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:51 AM   #5
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I ask this often, but no one answers. What does it say on the back of your drivers license that you can drive?
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:25 PM   #6
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I ask this often, but no one answers. What does it say on the back of your drivers license that you can drive?
Mine says:

Class:None
Restrictions:None

Does that mean that I have no class and can drive anything?
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:28 PM   #7
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Mine says:

Class:None
Restrictions:None

Does that mean that I have no class and can drive anything?
Yes, it does. What "class" license is it and what does that class cover, should say on the back of the license?
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:34 PM   #8
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Yes, it does. What "class" license is it and what does that class cover, should say on the back of the license?

The back of my license says: "Class:None"

The front says: "Class: " (it is blank)

Apparently DOL thinks that I have no class.......
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:38 PM   #9
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The back of my license says: "Class:None"

The front says: "Class: " (it is blank)

Apparently DOL thinks that I have no class.......
I read that as you can't drive anything. Class designates whether you can drive cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. Surely your license says what you can drive?
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:42 PM   #10
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I read that as you can't drive anything. Class designates whether you can drive cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. Surely your license says what you can drive?
It doesn't say anything about what I can drive.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:44 PM   #11
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Yours seems to be missing some important info.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:49 PM   #12
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Back to the OP's questions.

I did a little more reading on the VA DMV site and I get the idea that use of a bus by a church or non-profit organization would require a CDL.

I would suggest that you read up on their website and see if you read it the same.
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:07 PM   #13
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Good looking out on that one.

It currently is just owned by one of our members - so long as the title isn't held by an organization that rule shouldn't apply right? I've also called the DMV and they were even less helpful than their website lol
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:11 PM   #14
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I ask this often, but no one answers. What does it say on the back of your drivers license that you can drive?
Class D and M - so non-commercial passenger vehicles and motorcycles, but I used to drive huge 27' box trucks with air brakes for my job and didn't need a different license...but then again the bossman was a cheap ass and wouldn't have wanted to pay for them anyway lol

Restrictions - C (glasses)
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:19 PM   #15
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From the Virginia DMV website:


"...such as recreational vehicles and rental moving vans, used only for personal use"

Link: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/drivers/#whoarecdl.asp

It looks questionable.... If it is an RV for personal use then no CDL. If a volunteer group is using it to distribute food they may look at that as commercial use. If so then you will need a CDL.
Idk, maybe there could be an acception under the "moving van"? lol
I mean technically that really is what we will be using it for, moving stuff from one place to the other. We won't be selling or exchanging funds for any purpose.
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Old 07-07-2018, 02:01 PM   #16
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If the question is "can I get away with it? " Vs "is it legal?".

I would think that you may get away with it unless you have an unfortunate incident. An accident or ticket could open a can of worms.
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:31 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=PNW_Steve;279180....An accident or ticket could open a can of worms.[/QUOTE]

[Note to self: no accidents or tickets...]
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Class D and M - so non-commercial passenger vehicles and motorcycles, but I used to drive huge 27' box trucks with air brakes for my job and didn't need a different license...but then again the bossman was a cheap ass and wouldn't have wanted to pay for them anyway lol

Restrictions - C (glasses)
Do you see on the back of mine where it includes "All Recreational Vehicles", does yours not say that on the back?
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:17 PM   #19
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Idk, maybe there could be an acception under the "moving van"? lol
I mean technically that really is what we will be using it for, moving stuff from one place to the other. We won't be selling or exchanging funds for any purpose.
It's the part that says "Operators of vehicles, such as recreational vehicles and rental moving vans, used only for personal use" that gets sticky.

They are pretty clear about the "personal use".
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:21 PM   #20
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Now I wonder about VT. I know registering it is easy.

is getting a commercial license hard?
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