Air brake endorsement

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muskoka guy

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I will be travelling with a friend who owns a 40 ft dp with air brakes. In Ontario where we live you must get a Z endorsement for your licence to be able to drive anything with air brakes. From what i have read, the USA only has a commercial operators licence if things are over a certain size, or are for business purposes. I have read some states exempt rvs from this requirement. My mh doesnt have air brakes so i do not have the Z .I would be sharing the driving.  We will be travelling the west coast from BC to Texas then back up to Ontario. Is there a general rule of thumb for driving air brakes in the USA, or is each state different. Do most of you with air brakes have a commercial licence. I think his coach weighs about 25000 lbs but we will be towing a car. My friend has his AZ licence, which is the same as your commercial licence.  Thx
 

Tom

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Is there a general rule of thumb for driving air brakes in the USA, or is each state different.

A few states have an air brake license requirement, although I can only think of Texas right now. Individual states recognize your home driver's license for the category of vehicle for which you're licensed. Since most states allow us to drive a motorhome using our home state (or home country) car license, it's unlikely you'd get challenged. 

I'm sure someone will say this more concisely &/or more accurately.
 

Alfa38User

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The way I see it, is that you are properly licensed to drive any vehicle based on your home state/province rules. Therefore if the motor home you are driving has air brakes and your Ontario license does not have the Z endorsement, you will no longer be following the law. Whether this will make a difference for the relatively short periods that occur during your trip is probably very debatable. It may or may not come to light should you have an accident while you are driving.

That said, I don't know if you can get that Z endorsement in Ontario without already having a vehicle so equipped available for purposes of any test you may have to take. Here in QC we don't require such an endorsement for an RV but for an air brake equipped truck, for example, you have to have the truck available for your test as the SAAQ does not have any vehicles you can rent or borrow.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Florida has no air brake endorsement requirement for private coaches. No weight limit either.

You only have to comply with the state's requirement if your license is issued by that state. If you are validly licensed in your home state or province, each of the other states will accept that as valid.  In your case, you are not licensed for air brakes at home, so you are not licensed for them when driving in the US either. But who is gonna ask? Even in a traffic stop, a US LEO isn't likely to inquire about whether your Ontario license is valid for a particular vehicle.  Your main exposure is with your friend's Canadian insurance, which may stipulate that the driver must be licensed for that vehicle to be in effect.  US policies typically do not have that stipulation, but my Canadian friends tell me theirs does.
 

muskoka guy

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Small chance i could get my Z before we go, but only a month away so probably not. My train of thought is that if a state only requires a car licence to drive an rv with air brakes, i should be good. The insurance thing is probably something else like you said.


 

Gary RV_Wizard

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My train of thought is that if a state only requires a car license to drive an rv with air brakes, i should be good.

Good, perhaps, but not quite legal. All 50 states and the Canadian provinces have agreed to what is called reciprocity. Each accepts the others licensing requirements as valid. Basically that means "legal at home, legal here'. And the converse.

But what would inspire the average LEO to inquire what Ontario's laws are with regard to air brakes?
 
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