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Author Topic: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?  (Read 3435 times)

baadpuppy

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Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« on: May 16, 2008, 02:21:03 PM »
So I'm trying to buy a bus that is currently titled in NC as a "House Car" aka motorhome.  It is 40' long, has air brakes, and I believe the GVWR is 38,600# or so.  Oh, it happens to also be a pusher.

Anyway, I just got off the phone with the DMV office, and they tell me I have to apply for a CDL license either Class A or Class B with an Air Brake endorsement.  So it seems I have to take a knowledge test, then they issue a CDL Instruction Permit.  However, this permit only allows me to drive while a person with the correct CDL license is with me.  I then have to wait 30 days from the date of getting the permit in order to take the road test.  I have to take the road test in a vehicle of the same requirements as I'm applying for.

I thought I had read here and/or other places that RV owners didn't require a CDL.  Is this requirement from VA correct, or did I get someone that didn't know about some motorhome loophole?

Also, if I only have an instruction permit, how can I get the thing home?  And if I can't get it home, how will I get it to the test site to take the test?

I'm kinda bummed about this whole thing.  It is looking like it is going to take a lot more effort than I originally thought.  I don't think it will be difficult to pass the tests, but I am a bit nervous about the driving test.

Anyone here from VA run into similar licensing requirements or know whether this information is correct or not?

Anyone from VA or MD with the correct license type interested in a road trip?   ;D

Oh, another piece of information...  the bus in question hasn't actually been converted, merely stripped down ready for the conversion.  And it is a transit style schoolbus.  And there are still a few days left before I find out if I get it or not.

Thanks!
jim

Rex

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 07:59:46 PM »
You may have asked the wrong question.  You may have asked about a "BUS" rather than an RV.  If you did, give them a call back and talk RV.

Rex
2001 Monaco 40' Diplomat being pushed by an 08 Honda CRV

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 09:15:01 PM »
According to THIS site, VA does not require either a CDL or any special class of license for a private motorhome of any type.  I tried to verify that on the VA DMV web site but could not find any section that described requirements for privately owned (non-commercial) vehicles. Maybe that's becasue there are no such requirements, but...

I suggest you call back and talk to a different person. Make sure you emphasize the words "private", "motorhome" (or house car, if they use that term) and that it is for your personal use only.

If you do need a CDL, you would have to have someone with a proper CDL license drive it home for you and accompany you to take the test. It's a pain, so lets hopoe that is not the case.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

baadpuppy

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 10:45:43 PM »
You may have asked the wrong question.  You may have asked about a "BUS" rather than an RV.  If you did, give them a call back and talk RV.

Rex, I specifically stated both motorhome and RV, and deliberately didn't use the word bus or conversion.  ;D  Legally, it is currently titled as the equivilant of a motorhome, and when transferred would remain the same, and I didn't want to confuse the issue with "bus" or "conversion".  However, it does sound like I need to call and get someone else.  Perhaps if I call one of the local offices or even visit instead of calling the 800 number...



Gary, that website is quite interesting.  I will make sure to emphasize that my vehicle is a private motorhome and will not be used for any commercial purposes.

Getting the CDL doesn't appear to be all that difficult, nor getting the air brake endorsement.  The information is freely available from the DMV, and I now have the booklet.  Even if I don't need it, it probably is a good thing for me to learn much of what is in there.

On the other hand, there's a bunch of stuff dealing with informing your employer of any traffic offense and such.  What does my employer care?  I don't drive professionally for them.  :(

Personally, I think it is a good idea for people to be certified in some standard way for driving such large vehicles.  I know though that saying something like that opens a huge issue that people like to avoid.

Maybe I'll get better news next week.  On the other hand, the deal might fall thru before monday.  Time will tell, and I guess I just need to be patient.

However, thanks guys for the information and support.  I just want to get the bus and get it home so I can start some building.  ;D

jim

Carl L

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2008, 01:10:05 AM »
Page ten of the VA DMV publication Virgina's Size, Weight and Equipment Requirements for Trucks, Trailers, and Towed Vehicles located at http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dmv109.pdf has this statement about CDL requirements:

The following situations exempt operators of
certain vehicles from the CDL requirements.
 
1. Operation of a vehicle for personal use only,
such as a recreational vehicle or truck to move
your personal belongings.


It would seem that a Commercial DL is for commercial drivers, not RV drivers.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

baadpuppy

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2008, 09:32:31 AM »
Carl L, I am very grateful to you for finding that.  That prompted me to do an in depth search of VA's laws, which is not an easy thing to do, as there is only a search interface to it.  I had to search for "Commercial Motor Vehicle", as Recreational Vehicle had only 1 match, that didn't even apply.

I found this link here: 46.2-341.4. Definitions

There's a very interesting definition in this page that is close in wording to what was in the PDF you linked:

Quote
The following shall be excluded from the definition of commercial motor vehicle: any vehicle when used by an individual solely for his own personal purposes, such as personal recreational activities; or any vehicle which (i) is controlled and operated by a farmer, whether or not it is owned by the farmer, and which is used exclusively for farm use, as defined in 46.2-698, (ii) is used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm, (iii) is not used in the operation of a common or contract motor carrier, and (iv) is used within 150 miles of the farmer's farm; or any vehicle operated for military purposes by (a) active duty military personnel, (b) members of the military reserves, (c) members of the national guard on active duty, including personnel on full-time national guard duty, personnel on part-time national guard training, and national guard military technicians (civilians who are required to wear military uniforms), but not U.S. Reserve technicians, and (d) active duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel; or emergency equipment operated by a member of a firefighting, rescue, or emergency entity in the performance of his official duties.

I added the bold.

Also, reading further down, I found another paragraph of interest:

Quote
"Gross combination weight rating" means the value specified by the manufacturers of an articulated vehicle or combination of vehicles as the maximum loaded weight of such vehicles. In the absence of such a value specified by the manufacturer, the gross combination weight rating shall be the greater of (i) the gross vehicle weight rating of the power units of the combination vehicle plus the total weight of the towed units, including any loads thereon, or (ii) the gross weight at which the articulated vehicle or combination of vehicles is registered in its state of registration.

Again, I added the bold.  This seems to me to be counter to what I've learned here.


Thanks again!
jim

Carl L

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Re: Virginia requiring a CDL for RV with air brakes?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2008, 12:50:15 PM »
Gross combination weight rating" means the value specified by the manufacturers of an articulated vehicle or combination of vehicles as the maximum loaded weight of such vehicles. In the absence of such a value specified by the manufacturer, the gross combination weight rating shall be the greater of (i) the gross vehicle weight rating of the power units of the combination vehicle plus the total weight of the towed units, including any loads thereon, or (ii) the gross weight at which the articulated vehicle or combination of vehicles is registered in its state of registration.

Parsing that wording, I do not see that it contradicts our understanding of GCVWR of a given tow vehicle as the maximum allowable weight of the tow vehicle + trailer + all cargo and passengers.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco