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Author Topic: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA  (Read 5314 times)

josenluc

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EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« on: April 14, 2010, 05:16:01 AM »
Hello everybody!

To introduce ourselves: We are Dutch citizens, Jos (my wife 63 years) and I Luc (68 years of age) and very much interested in RV-ing, both in Europe and in the USA. Maybe even buy a B-class RV (Roadtrek or similar type).
In 1991  we rented a (according to general European ideas) a hughe RV, sleeping 6, with a GVWR of appr. 13000 lbs. Which is far over the maximum allowed weight limits of the standard EU driver’s license of 3500 kilos = appr. 7700 lbs.
Everybody told me that was no problem and actually all RV-rental organizations say it is allowed and I would without doubt rent/buy any RV in the USA again.
However I tried and find out the legal base of this permission but cant find anything about this.
According to IdeaMerge’s website:
Quote:“Which is to say, standard foreign drivers licenses are translated by the laws of the USA such that these licenses basically function in the USA as standard USA drivers licenses. To state this yet another way: In the USA the standard domestic drivers licenses of foreign states are, in connection with foreign tourist, considered equal to a standard USA drivers license” unquote.
Anyone who can explane the legal situation please??
Thanks in advance
Luc Denekamp
The Netherlands

Tom

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 09:22:32 AM »
Hi Luc and welcome to The RV Forum. Driver licensing requirements here in the USA are established by individual states, so the requirements might be different. The California Driver License handbook merely states:

Quote
Adults visiting California
Visitors over 18 years old with a valid driver license from their home state or country may drive in California without getting a California driver license as long as their home state license is valid.

So, technically, you'd be limited to driving a vehicle weighing no more than 3500 kilos. Does the weight limit appear on the EU license?

You can read more about California requirements by visiting the CA DMV web site at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/  I believe you can visit the DMV web sites for other states by replacing the 2-digit state identifier (CA).
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 05:52:43 PM »
Luc,

being a EU-Citizen I am beaten with that question too.
As far as I found out a EU "standard license" (up to 3,500 or up to 7,500 kg in my State) equals the US "standard license".
With the US "standard license" you can drive (non commercial) all motorhomes. So the same is permitted with EU "standard license".
 
The next step would be to get a US driver license - but that's another movie...
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany
(Skype: michael.f221)

josenluc

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 04:12:25 AM »
@Tom and Mike

Thanks for your answer. Weight limit is written in Drivers License. in my case a B-license 3500 kg = 7716 lbs. In some other European Union countries it might be a C1 license 7500 kg = 16535 lbs.

Meanwhile I have contacted the Legal Department of the Dutch Automobile Club (similar to the AAA) and they confirmed that driving a RV over 3500 kg means that you are driving without valid license, with all  consequences  if some police officer stops you on the road for whichever reason. The proper insurance usually is covered through the rental organization, so that would not be a problem. Actually this would mean that probably a lot of European tourist are breaking the law in the USA. without knowing.

Any idea how bad the consequences might be?

Luc


Gary RV Roamer

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 06:51:14 AM »
I doubt if an officer in the USA would be concerned about a weight limit on an EU license, since US licenses seldom have that type of restriction.  But that's just a guess on my part.

If enforced, there would probably be a fine and the amount would depend on the state in which it occurred. Maybe $100 US?  The difficulty might be that you might not be allowed to continue towing the trailer with the invalid license. Now THAT would be a real inconvenience!
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

John From Detroit

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 09:05:10 AM »
I"m not sure of how International agreements work but you should go to your Dutch Auto Assoication (AAA look alike) and get an international driver's license.. This, combined with your home license, gives you privileges in the US.

Now.. In most of the US (LAWS VARY FROM STATE TO STATE) a basic driver's license gives you the privilege of driving any NON COMMERCIAL vehicle, car, truck, motor home, as long as it is not driving for pay.  Some commercial driving (So long as you are not paid to drive) is allowed (Example.. When I worked as a roofer, I got paid for nailing shingles, not for driving the truck,, So I could drive the truck to the job)

But then.. Just to cover myself I wrote the commercial driver's test of the day.

In Michigan. Commercial drivers are licensed by vehicle size and type and/or cargo type (IE: Haz-Mat, or People, both take endorsements)

But a regular "Operators" license.. the basic driver's license, is all I need for the 26,000 pound RV
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 09:40:19 AM »
As has been reported in the past, international driving licenses/permits are not recognized in California. See here.
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josenluc

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2010, 02:02:00 PM »
Hi everybody,  thanks for the info. Unfortunately in the issued International Driving License the same weight restrictions are mentioned.  To put it simple: the IDL is merely a translation of the Dutch License, and not valid without the original , it only makes checking by Law Enforcement easier.
Luc

Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2010, 04:01:59 PM »
Luc,

our driver license doesn't show the weight reglementation. I guess no one of the US-Officers knows something about he classes and reglementations.
The pic shows the backside of a German driver license; the other EU driver licenses will look the same. No weight appears there
 
Edit: Luc, you are right in what you write about the IDL.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 04:05:17 PM by Mike (ex-f-221) »
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany
(Skype: michael.f221)

josenluc

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2010, 04:25:30 PM »
Mike. I still got an old fashioned Dutch License in which for B it states less/equal 3500 kg. 1 driver plus max. 8 passengers. Luc

Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2010, 04:34:51 PM »
That's different, Luc
 
My license is older; it is a folded dark grey .... something from 1969. The pic I attached, is sponsored by wikipedia
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany
(Skype: michael.f221)

josenluc

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2010, 12:25:10 AM »
@Mike,

You must be one of the older Germans with an old DL, in which no weight limit is mentioned for driving normal cars and small cargo trucks. Unfortunately in the Netherlands there never has been a DL like this (to my knowledge), there has always been this 3500 kg limit.

For me there are a few options now.

I have to wait till in my country we can take the C1 exam.( C1 is a limited DL for small cargo trucks over 3500 kg.) Maybe next year?

Get me decent European RV under the 3500 kg limit and ship this to the USA for temporary use. The biggest disadvantage will be the fact that the usual European small trucks like FIAT, Renault, Citroen, used as basis for the RV have no own possibilities for repairs in case of brake downs in the USA. Only MercedesBenz Sprinter is available.

Ship myself over to the USA for a longer period, find me an address to live and use as starting point for touring and get me a USA DL and a nice B class RV and register it. When returning to Europe store the RV in the USA for use during further visits.

The last option I don't want to think about, forget the USA RV dream, and just fly over and rent a car a couple of times a year for 2 or 3 months and make trips from hotel to hotel or stay with friends.

Luc




Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: EU driver's license B(E) and driving RV's in the USA
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2010, 05:01:02 PM »
Luc,

your option #1:
Being an old man  ;) I have the B and the C1 license. But C1 ends at 16,500 lbs... Next step is the C license.

your option #2:
Think about the 240/120-Dilemma. 120V -> 240V transformers might not be as powerful as it has to be.
If you travel in high temperatures, what about a/c? Do you have one in your European RV?
 
your option #3:
What is "a longer period"? As a tourist with no "cooperative person" in the USA it will no be easy to do so.
 
your option #4:
The easiest - but you don't really want it...
 
I hope, you find your way.
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany
(Skype: michael.f221)