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Our 2017 Big Guide to RV Driver License Requirements


“Do I need a special license to drive an RV?” This is a question we are asked nearly every week here at Outdoorsy.

Here’s the simple Answer: You don’t need a special license to drive most kinds of RVs.

If you’re driving any vehicle under 26,000 lbs–and most of them are–you are clear to drive with a regular operator’s driver’s license according to current, up-to-date DMV laws in all 50 states. NOTE: there is a very popular article online by changinggears.com that will say otherwise, but it is because its information is out-of-date.

Let’s look at the exceptions. They all start with weight. This is where your 2017 Guide to RV Driver’s Licenses Requirements begins. What do RVs weigh on average, anyway?

 

Your Frame of Reference

Class C RV weight
This is a Class C RV. Its average weight is 10,000 – 12,000 lbs.
Class A weight
This is a Class A RV. It averages 13,000 – 30, 000 lbs.

What is a Commercial Driver’s License, exactly?

commercial driver license rv requirements

Wikipedia makes it simple: “A commercial driver’s license is a driver’s license required to operate large or heavy vehicles.”

The slightly more complicated truth is that every state issues different types of licenses, so it’s not always as simple as “Do I need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive my RV that weighs over 26K lbs or not?” The question looks a little more like, “Do I need a special license, and if so, in what cases, and what kind?”

Let’s break it all down and look at the requirements, state-by-state.


2017 DMV Regulations: States and Situations That Require Special Licenses

  • California (Need Class B Non-Commercial License if driving a vehicle weighing over 26K lb)
  • Maryland (Need Class B Non-Commercial License if driving a vehicle weighing over 26K lb)
  • Michigan (In the extremely rare situation you are towing a fifth wheel PLUS a trailer behind that, you need a license something called a Recreational Double “R”Endorsement on top of your regular operator license–their words, not mine).
  • North Carolina (Need a Class B for a single vehicle over 26k lb; Need Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26K lbs)
  • New Mexico (Need a Class B for a single vehicle over 26k lb; Need Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26K lbs)
  • Nevada (Need a Class B for a single vehicle over 26k lb; Need Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26K lbs)
  • Pennsylvania (Need Class A Non-Commercial for over 26K lbs with trailers, need Class B Non-Commercial for over 26k lb)
  • Texas (Need Class B Non-Commercial License if driving a vehicle weighing over 26K lb)
  • Washington, D.C.(Need a Class B for a single vehicle over 26k lb; Need Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26K lbs)
  • Wyoming (Need Class A Non-Commercial for vehicles over 26k lb and towing over 10K lb; Need Class B Non-Commerical for vehicles over 26K and towing under 10K lb).

2017 DMV Regulations: States and Situations That Require a Commercial Driver’s License

  • Connecticut (over 26k lb)
  • Hawaii (over 26k lb)
  • Kansas (Commercial Driver’s License, Class A needed for over 26K)
  • Michigan (Commercial Driver’s License, Group A needed over 26K lbs)
  • New York (Commercial Driver’s License, Class B needed for over 26k lb)
  • South Carolina (Need a Commercial DL Class B for a single vehicle over 26k lb; Need Commercial DL Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26K lbs)
  • Indiana (over 45k lb)
  • Wisconsin (over 45’)

In this 2017 Guide of RV Driver’s Licenses Requirements, we’ve attempted to put together not only the up-to-date information about driver’s license requirements, but also up-to-date, useful links to each states’ EXACT licensing page.

This has never been done on any other article on this topic online.

We know that figuring out license requirements is a first step to feeling comfortable driving RVs, and we wanted you to feel in safe hands.

If you are concerned that your Class A RV may be approaching the 26,000 range and you live in one of the states listed above, get in touch with your local DMV by clicking on the links to learn more about your next steps.

Originally published September 12, 2016. Updated January 30, 2017.

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