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Our 2020 Big Guide to RV Driver License Requirements

What you need to know to drive each of the RV classes


“Do I need a special license to drive an RV?” and “Which RV class needs a special license?” 

These are two common questions we are asked nearly every week at Outdoorsy.  Here is the simple answer: You don’t need a special license to drive most motorhomes. 

If you’re driving any vehicle under 26,000 pounds — and most RV classes are — you are clear to drive with a regular operator’s driver’s license according to current DMV laws in all 50 states. 

Let’s look at the exceptions, which are based on the motorhome’s weight. No matter if you are driving, it’s all about weight. What do RVs weigh on average, anyway?

The average weight for a Class C RV ranges between 10,000 – 12,000 pounds.
The average weight for a Class A RV ranges between 13,000 – 30,000 pounds.

 

Your Frame of Reference

Class C RV weight
This is a Class C RV. Its average weight is 10,000 – 12,000 lbs.
Class A weight
This is a Class A RV. It averages 13,000 – 30,000 lbs.

What is a commercial driver’s license, exactly?

commercial driver license rv requirements

A commercial driver’s license is a driver’s license required to operate large or heavy vehicles.

Every state issues different types of licenses, so it’s not always as simple as, “Do I need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive my RV that weighs over 26,000 pounds or not?” 

The question looks a little more like, “Do I need a special license, and if so, in what cases, and what kind?”

Let’s break it all down and look at the requirements, state-by-state.


2020 DMV regulations: states and situations that require special licenses

  • California: You need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • Maryland: You need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • Michigan: If you are towing a fifth-wheel plus a trailer behind that, you need a license called a recreational double “R” endorsement on top of your regular operator license
  • North Carolina: You need a Class B license for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need a Class A license to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • New Mexico: You need a Class B license for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need a Class A license to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • Nevada: You need a Class B license for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need Class A license to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • Pennsylvania: You need a Class A non-commercial license for over 26,000 pounds with trailers; you need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a for vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • Texas: You need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • Washington, D.C.: You need a Class B license for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need a Class A license to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • Wyoming: You need Class A non-commercial license for vehicles over 26,000 pounds and towing over 10,000 pounds; you need a Class B non-commercial license to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds and towed vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds

2020 DMV Regulations: states and situations that require a commercial drivers license

  • Connecticut: If you are driving over 26,000 pounds
  • Hawaii: If you are driving over 26,000 pounds
  • Kansas: You need a commercial driver’s license for a Class A over 26,000 pounds
  • Michigan: You need a commercial driver’s license for a Class A over 26,000 pounds
  • New York: You need a commercial driver’s license for a Class B over 26,000 pounds
  • South Carolina: You need a commercial driver’s license for a Class B for a single vehicle over 26,000 pounds; you need a commercial driver’s license for a  Class A to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
  • Indiana: If you are driving over 45,000 pounds
  • Wisconsin: If you are driving over 45,000 pounds

We’ve attempted to put together the most up-to-date information about driver’s license requirements, but please visit each state’s licensing page for the most up-to-date information on which classes of motorhomes and weight regulations require a specific license. 

We know that figuring out license requirements is a first step to feeling comfortable driving a Class A, B, or C RV.

If you are concerned that your Class A RV may be approaching the 26,000 pound-range and you live in one of the states listed above, get in touch with your local DMV by clicking on the links above to learn more about your next steps.

Originally published September 12, 2016. Updated January 30, 2017 and March 12, 2020.

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