Do you need a special RV driver’s license? You might!

Driving an RV proves to be easy for most RVers after they get the feel of their rig. But for RVers in 10 states, there may be more to driving or towing an RV than climbing in the driver’s seat and heading down the highway.

The drivers of these rigs might need a special driver’s license.

In all but one state, California, a license is required based on the RV’s gross vehicle weight (GVW). In California, you’ll need a license if your RV is longer than 40 feet.

In most states that require a license you’ll need to take a skills test. But others want more evidence of  your ability. Take California for instance. It requires a driver to:

•Furnish a physician’s health report every two years.
•Take a knowledge test.
•Take skills test in the vehicle.
•Do a “pre-trip” test (visual inspection).

Learn whether you need a special driver’s license by downloading this pdf document from the RVIA.


10 Thoughts to “Do you need a special RV driver’s license? You might!”

  1. Tommy Molnar

    I live in NV and noticed my state on that list that requires special licensing. Never heard of that! I asked a couple RV friends and they too, never heard of that.



      if your m/h is over 26000 GVWR you do need a non commercial class B license in Nevada.

      This requires a written test and a separate one if the rig has air brakes and a 30 minute driving test. Plus a few demonstrations in a parking lot including pre-trip inspections. You have to have someone with the proper license drive your rig to the DMV and they ask for proof from that person.
      Does everyone get one? very doubtful. Let us say you get in an accident and heaven forbid someone is seriously injured or worse. Regardless of fault, will the other driver’s attorneys have a case that since you were not legally licensed is there some liability on your part. Will your insurance company have an opinion on that? not a lawyer but something to ponder. Perhaps you should inquire of your insurance company what their feelings about it are. I would do it without giving my name.

  2. Debi Pitzer

    Retired from Texas DPS DL with 28 years.
    We have a Class B driver license (Texas) for our motor home (36,000 lbs, GVWR). If your recreational vehicle is over 26,000 lbs. GVWR, , you are required to have a Class B (vehicle is exempt from CDL laws). If your towing unit is over 10,000 lbs. and the GCVWR is over 36,000 lbs., You are required to have a Class A (non-CDL). A knowledge exam and a skills (driving) exam are required with $11.00 upgrade fee. If you already hold a Class A CDL, you can drive all types of vehicles except motorcycle.

  3. Ben Granger

    We live in California and had to get a Recreational Vehicle endorsement as our fifth wheel is over 10,000 lbs. Only a written test was required and $35. Nothing else. The downside is that VERY few people are aware of this requirement, including dealerships and the DMV. The DMV didn’t know what we were talking about and had to ask 3 different people in order to give me the right written test.

  4. Ron

    RE: California’s requirement of a Class B NCDL for motorhomes over 40′. Many, and I emphasize many, owner/drivers of “model 40” motorhomes feel that this requirement does not pertain to them….even though their coach is over 40′.

  5. Rusty

    Iam required to have a motorcycle endorsement. I see no reason why owners of RV’s over the length of X shouldn’t have an endorsement too. Drive I-70, I-25, any Highway USA, doesn’t take long to realize some Rv owners are driving way above their skill level and ability. It’s not an age issue to me it’s a understanding skill.

  6. Ed Fogle

    The article and .pdf weren’t clear on whether the requirement is based on residency or operation in a state.

    1. Ron

      State driver’s licenses are honored by all the other states. If your license is legal in your state, it’s legal in all the other states.

  7. Ortep

    So what does this mean to those of us who don’t reside in one of these states but happen to be driving through and may get pulled over for a “burned out taillight” or some other small infraction?

    1. Eric Stephan

      If you are properly licensed in the state your drivers license is issued in, there would be no problem. But if your state, Texas in my case, requires you to have a Class A (non-CDL) license for the truck and fifth wheel or Class A and a trailer, you could be cited if you only have a normal drives license (class C). Retired last May after 36 years with the Sheriff’s office.

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