Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV? (State Wise Solution)

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Do you need a special license to drive the RV? That is the question most people have in their minds who are new to RVing.

The simple answer is No, You do not need a special license to drive an RV that weighs under 26,000 lb. With most RV classes, you are good at driving them with your regular driving license in all 50 United States states.

However, you should also know that vehicles that can accommodate more than 16 passengers are often required to have a special license. Let’s discuss the average weight of different types of RVs.

  • The average weight of Class A RVs runs between 13,000 to 30,000 lbs.
  • The average weight of Class B RVs runs between 6,000 to 8,000 lbs.
  • The average weight of class C RVs runs between 10,000 to 12,000 lbs.

These numbers clearly show that most of the RVs and travel trailers don’t require you to have a special license. But, you should also consider the laws of each state that are different state-by-state.

Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV?

This is why I have decided to highlight everything you need to know about RV special license. Below, I have broken down the state-by-state rule. So, let’s get started!

What is a Special License?

Well, a special license is different from the standard license that you have for your car. A special license includes restricted licenses, commercial licenses, motorcycle licenses, and to name a few. However, every state has its own road rules and regulations regarding what type of license residents are required to have.

If you’ve no clue about it, you may want to visit your local DMW to discuss this matter. Below, you will see that every state has different rules for vehicles of more than 26,000 lbs of weight. However, if you have an RV less than that, you don’t need to have a special driving license.

Do I Need to Have a Special Driving license to drive an RV?

If you already have a driving license of any of the U.S states, it might be more than enough for you to drive your RV – that is within the weight and length limits. As I have already stated that you are required to have a special license to drive an RV over 26,000 lbs, some states apply this rule for vehicles that can accommodate 16 or more passengers.

Besides the weighing factor that determines the need to have a special license, two more classes of the license are a commercial license and a non-commercial license.

Do I Need to Have a Commercial Driving License to Drive an RV?

Now you might be wondering about what CDL or Commercial Driving License is?

A commercial driving license is a license that is generally required for commercial drivers, such as truckers. Moreover, a non-commercial license may also be required for drivers who drive enormous, weighty vehicles for personal usage.

So, what if you have a Class A RV? Do you need a special driving license?

Class A RV Special License Requirements

Class A Motorhome

If you have a Class A RV, you may need to have a special license. The reason behind this is these vehicles are enormous and weight between 13,000 to 30,000 lbs. This means they can surpass the limit of maximum weight required to have a special license.

However, it doesn’t mean that all the Class A RVs are of the same weight, which means you don’t need a special driving license for those with less weight. Moreover, you should check the vehicle weight when it is fully loaded to make sure you don’t run yourself into problems.

Class B RV Special License Requirements

Class B Motorhome

Class B RVs are significantly small, agile, and benefit from being easy to drive even on the bouncy and unpaved roads. They are also a perfect option to discover the best boondocking sites. They generally weigh between 6,000 to 8,000 lbs, so there are no U.S states where you need a special license to drive your Class B motorhome.

Class C RVs Special License Requirements

Class C Motorhome

Class C motorhomes are everyone’s favorite, and the reason is they are generally armed with all the luxuries of a Class A motorhome. However, they are not as big and as expensive as Class A motorhomes. They usually weigh between 10,000 to 12,000 lbs, so you don’t have to worry about having a special license.

So, what states require you to have a Special license to drive an RV?

Although I have tried my best to enlist accurate information regarding the laws, laws do change. This means if you are not sure what license you need to drive an RV in the state you are living in, it is recommended to consult with the local DMW before you rent or purchase an RV.

However, if you are planning to drive an enormous RV below, I have enlisted the states that may require you to have a special license.

States That Requires a Commercial License

Here is the list of states that requires you to have a commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing 26,000 lbs or more,

  • Arkansas: Driving a vehicle of 26,000 lbs or more, you are required to have a commercial driving license.
  • Hawaii: For Class A, combined weight of multiple vehicles of more than 26,000 lbs, while Class B for a single-vehicle over 26,000 lbs weight.
  • Connecticut: For the combined weight of multiple vehicles or a single vehicle over 26,000 lbs, you will need a commercial driving license.
  • Kansas: Class B commercial driving license for a single-vehicle over 26,000 lbs and Class A for two or more vehicles with combined weight over 26,000 lbs.
  • Wisconsin: You are required to have a commercial driving license to drive a vehicle over 45 feet.
  • New Mexico: You’re required to have a commercial driving license for a single-vehicle more than 26,000 lbs or multiple vehicles with a combined weight of more than 26,000 lbs.
  • Washington D.C: Single vehicle with a weight of over 26,000 lbs or multiple vehicles with combined weight over 26,000 lbs.

States That Requires a Non-Commercial License

Below are the states that require you to have a special license to drive an RV but not a commercial driving license. However, you should still check with the local DMW to know more about specific details, which tend to change by time. Moreover, if you are considering to drive a rig over 26,000 lbs of whether combined or single, you are required to have a special but non-commercial driving license.

  • California: If your RV is longer than 40 feet or weigh over 26,000 lbs, you’re required to have a Class B license. Moreover, if you are towing more than 10,000 lbs of weight, you are also required to have a Class A license.
  • Maryland: Driving a vehicle of more than 26,000 lbs of weight in Maryland, you are required to have a Class B license.
  • North Carolina: For multiple vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs, you will need the Class A license. While driving a single vehicle with over 26,000 lbs weight, you are required to have a Class B license.
  • New York: Vehicles with over 26,000 lbs weight, you will need R endorsement.
  • Nevada: For a single vehicle over 26,000 lbs, a Class B license is required. While for multiple vehicles with a combined weight of over 26,000 lbs, you will need to have a Class A license. Moreover, if you are going to tow more than 10,000 lbs of weight, you will also need to have J Endorsement.
  • Pennsylvania: A single vehicle with a weight of over 26,000 lbs, a Class B license is required. While for multiple vehicles with a combines weight over 26,000 lbs, a Class A license is required.
  • Wyoming: For a vehicle over 26,000 lbs and towing weight up to 10,000 lbs, Class B license is required. At the same time, a Class A license is required for a vehicle over 26,000 lbs weight and towing more than 10,000 lbs of weight.
  • South Carolina: Class E license will be required for the vehicle over 26,000 lbs of weight. While, for multiple vehicles with a combined weight of more than 26,000 lbs, a Class F license is required.

The U.S States That Doesn’t Require a Special license to drive an RV

So, these states require you to have a special driving license and a commercial driving license. But don’t worry, some states don’t necessarily need a special license. About 34 states don’t need you to have a special driving license to drive an RV.

Some of these states include

  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Washington
  • Rhodes Island
  • Indiana
  • Delaware
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota
  • New Jersey, and to name a few.

Do You Need a Special license to drive an RV in Canada?

So, all the above discussion was about driving your RV in the United States. But what if you are considering traveling to the north part of United States borders. In that case, having a special license to drive an RV is crucial. You should also know that Canadian laws are different throughout the provinces.

However, you don’t have to fret if you are not a resident of Canada. All you need is to ensure that you are fulfilling all the requirements of the United States. If you don’t have any issue driving your RV in the United States, you are all set to discover the fascinating wild north.

Wrapping Up

That is all about what states require you to have a special, commercial, and non-commercial license to drive an RV. There are multiple factors to consider, and once you have figured out what you are looking for, it will be easy. However, the most important rule that you should always remember is if your RV is weighing over 26,000 lbs, you are required to have a special license. Moreover, suppose you want to avoid the confusion of having a special license to drive an RV. In that case, the simplest solution is you should go for a smaller vehicle, such as a Class B or Class C RV. Furthermore, if you cannot figure out what license you are required to have and what the state laws are, you can always contact local DMW. Follow these rules and enjoy your RVing experience.

FAQs

Does all the RVs required to have a special license?

No, you don’t necessarily need to apply for a special license to drive an RV if your rig’s weight is below 26,000 lbs. It means you have the freedom to drive most of the RVs with your regular driving license.

Do you need to have a special license to drive an RV in Nevada state?

If you are considering to drive an RV weighing over 26,000 lbs in Nevada, you’re required to have a Class A or Class B license. Moreover, if you are going to tow more than 10,000 lbs of weight, you are also required to have an Endorsement J.

What states require recreational vehicles to stop at weigh stations?

States such as Louisiana, Arkansas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Georgia are required to stop at weigh stations when the towing weight is over 10,000 lbs.

Does Hawaii state require a commercial license if the RV weight is over 26,000 lbs?

Yes, if the multiple vehicles combined weight or a single-vehicle weight is more than 26,000 lbs, you will need a Class A or Class B license, respectively.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.