Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

Should drivers with RVs 40 feet or longer need a special driver’s license?

Should RVers who drive or tow long RVs — say those 40 feet or longer — be required to pass a test for a driver’s license to drive or tow them?

In virtually all cases, the towable drivers will have an additional 15 or 18 feet in their cars or pickup trucks to tow the trailer or fifth wheel. Motorhome drivers will often tow a vehicle behind, which can add a similar length. In either case, we’re talking about 55 to 60 feet (at least) of RV and truck or dinghy rolling down the highway. Driving in either situation is a whole lot trickier and demanding than driving a Honda Civic or other passenger vehicle.

So what do you think? Special license or not? Please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts, and we suspect many readers would, too.

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Jim Collins
14 days ago

I said yes to both, but in Florida you can drive a truck up to 26000 ” with just a car license, I used to drive a Straight truck that was over 40 ft. Long and had to have a commercial license and had been trained by the Navy and licensed to drive a 18 wheeler, don’t see much difference and really feel after witnessing some accident with motor home and trailers the should have the training, hey you have to get a special license and training to ride a motorcycle.

Richard Chabrajez
15 days ago

If you have the $$ for a large RV, then you have the $ to take an RV driving course. We did. I think it’s proper common sense and responsibility as an RV owner. If you haven’t taken a course, you’re nowhere near as knowledgeable as you think you are and that puts the rest of us at risk.

Glen Cowgill
15 days ago

Who needs the special training? As a group, RVers seem to be pretty safe and exhibit good driving behavior. Problems I see on the road is people in small cars who are in such a hurry they will roar past you to turn just in front of you. They also seem to incur road rage at you for going slower than them. Who needs the training? Maybe we need to study the accidents and really look at who done what.
I just witnessed a dump truck roll over trying to avoid a small car cutting the dump truck off. This could have been tragic but, only minor injuries and the small car escaped the scene. I have held a CDL or chauffer’s license most of my life and have witnessed many accidents and have been involved in several. We really need better training of the average driver and enforcement of the laws.

Jeff Craig
17 days ago

I voted yes, but like others I have caveats. Since most of us drive on Interstate Highways, there SHOULD be a national (Federal) standard we all must meet – from Rhode Islanders to Alaskans. That said, I think it should apply to drivers of tandem axle vehicles and those who tow a fifth wheel over 40′ long. It should be similar to a motorcycle endorsement, with emphasis on safety, how to handle a blow out, towing your toad for a Class A or Super C and so on. We all complain about idiot drivers (especially those who cut us off in traffic), so extra training is something we ALL can agree would help.

Les Bucher
18 days ago

I voted yes on the question but, like others, don’t believe it should be regulated on a federal level. I also agree with those that suggest a better solution may be a mandatory training program conducted on the state level.
On a side note: I gather from some of the comments below that when the RV dealerships were questioned if a special license was required that they either didn’t know, they gave incorrect information or they were flat out deceptive. I believe that the RV dealerships should have a legal responsibility or at least have a professional responsibility to inform their clients if a special license is required in their states. I’m from PA and had to ferret out this information on my own after purchasing our motorhome 7 years ago.

Vincee
18 days ago

I vote no on this question. Most Rv’ers do a pretty good job of driving their RV’s, whether a maneuverable class B, any kind of tow behind TT, and up to your largest class A’s.

We do “NOT” need another government regulation telling us how, where, when to do things. And, that doesn’t include the additional costs and fees good old Uncle Sam would impose on us. I can’t even imagine what a high-cost state like California would charge.

Look, nothing is perfect and having RV’ers jump through hoops to enjoy the lifestyle doesn’t make it foolproof. To take the polls question in context, people have licenses to drive a Honda Civic yet that doesn’t mean they drive any better, some are just bad drivers period!

Curt Rissmann
18 days ago

Mixed feelings on this subject. I was a commercial driver for many and then retired as a truck inspector for a state enforcement agency. Having a CDL or special license gives you knowledge and questionable skill for the vehicle your operating, however if you’re not going to use the knowledge and skill then all is for naught. Both commercial drivers and noncommercial drivers exhibit are guilty of some questionable behavior regardless of the license they possess. Remember common sense and driving courtesy are now “super powers”. Letting the government, insurance industry or RV industry administrator this will not solve the problem, only we (each driver) have the control over this. Thank you and that’s all I have say about this.

Dennis
14 days ago
Reply to  Curt Rissmann

Curt, I concur with your conclusions. No amount of regulation will cause any person or driver to make prudent choices. Gun laws are a good example. If the need for licensing drivers larger RVs was a real issue, there would be a LOT more mayhem on the roads. Let it be and the insurance companies and ol’ Darwin will sort out the really bad ones. IF such requirements became common, the cost of RVing would surely go up even more.

Leslie P
18 days ago

As a retired firefighter, I think there should be at least a few hours of formal training. We are trained through the EVAP (Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention) which helps understand the laws of speed, inertia, and weight. Along with other things. It was the best backing lessons I’ve ever had! But it doesn’t need to be as extensive. A little good knowledge goes a long way. I’ve seen some fantastic driving and witnessed horrific driving.

George Daniel Mengel
18 days ago

Yes. I need a CDL to drive a truck smaller than my RV

Neal Davis
18 days ago

But if not a special license, then at least a few hours of formal training before they are allowed to leave the dealer’s lot with their new purchase. Those claiming to have experience driving/towing can be given a skills test and opt out of the training if they score well enough.

Michael Galvin
18 days ago

A lot of opinions here, but what are the facts? Do drivers of big RVs have so many accidents that additional licenses should be required?

Bob Weinfurt
18 days ago

Driving a rig like that is not like driving a car. Having driven a lot of different vehicles in my lifetime, I think we would all benefit from some training and a road test to get an endorsement on our license to at least show you have the basic knowledge and skills.

Last edited 18 days ago by Bob Weinfurt
Byker bob
18 days ago

It would help that regular drivers know that when we turn on blinkers indicating a turn. give us room. We have to plan our movements and when you pull up on a side, it means we are unable to make a lane adjustment. And we may have missed our exit. And I am driving 65 mph because my tires are rated at 65, don’t give me finger as you pass me. I bet most drivers do not know why we drive 65 mph even on interstate. It’s not all our fault.

Bill
18 days ago

The fears of other individuals should not dictate my rights and skills.

Dennis G.
19 days ago

Do not want to see legislation federally to mandate special RV length licenses.

With that said, I wish the RV industry would offer low-cost driver training.
Would love to see fellow RVers get extra training, be it with a company, or with a current/former trucker. Would imagine us gray beards could help new RVers make the transition from a small car or SUV to a 30-42′ RV, especially if trailers or toads are involved.

Mike Albert
19 days ago

I have a 25 class B+, a 22 foot boat, have taken Tactical evasive driving for a police department and qualified to drive an Aerial ladder fire truck as well as heavy duty rescue vehicle. Oh, I also drive a jeep. Tested out on each. That being said, while I feel I do know how to drive safely and defensively, my co-pilot is always telling me what to do and how to drive. While I trust her driving skills (she did chauffeur my kids around), she has admitted that she would never drive the MH unless it’s an emergency. While she hasn’t taken a driver safety course YET, she does know how to break down camp and hook up TOAD an move to safety. I feel everyone should take a course on driving for the vehicle they expect to drive. Whether it’s a boat, airplane, car, motorcycle, 18 wheeler or RV, each has its own quirks and requires training. Yes, there should be some type of exam on the vehicle that you expect to drive, whether by the insurance industry or DMV.

Julie Ford
19 days ago

This topic struck a cord with me. I am a woman and I drive our RV 75% of the time. I love to drive and my husband is more than happy to have me drive. I’m 61 years old and have been observing big rig drivers for years. We drove the I44 corridor from St. Louis to Springfield MO for years (18) approximately 42 weekends a year. In those years, traffic was stopped too many times to count for big rig (commercial truck) accidents. Not once for an RV involved accident.There are idiotic drivers in automobiles, RV’s and big rig trucks. I personally have been shoved off the interstate twice by a commercial truck. I did a little research after taking part in this survey. It was difficult to find just a simple Commercial Truck vs Rv accidents. The closest I found was the statistic of fatal crashes per million people for RV’s and Trucks. RV fatality is .44 per 100m, Trucks 1.37 per 100m and a surprising 1.37m for automobiles. It appears RVing is the safest way to travel.We don’t need a gov’t CDL.

John Koenig
19 days ago

Rather than trying to change laws in 50 states AND any applicable Federal laws, I’d recommend trying the “carrot” approach instead of the “stick”. The insurance industry would be better able to develop a comprehensive “Safety Program”. Those who take said program AND pass the rigorous “final exams” (written and road tests) would receive substantial discounts from their insurers. Like the “Drivers Safety” programs for drivers of automobiles, an RV Safety program would require periodic “re-education” to maintain the discount. I believe the RVSEF has such a program in place BUT, many insurers do NOT recognize or offer a GOOD discount for graduates. I don’t believe the RVSEF’s program INCLUDES “on the road” training BUT, said training is often available as an extra cost add on either through the RVSEF or at major RV rallies.

Micheal Whelan
19 days ago

Any time you involve the government into a subject they tend to make things cost more, work worse, and serve no real purpose other than give people a false sense of security. Keep the government out of it and have the insurance companies (who are ultimately responsible for the cost of an accident) provide necessary training as part of the way to get a discount on the vehicle insurance. Having a special license does not a better driver make.

Roy Davis
19 days ago

One of the reasons we didn’t choose Texas as our “domicile” state is that they require a special drivers license for any RV with a GVWR over 26000lbs. We’re over double that and I was told that, while it’s not really hard to get, it can take 6 months or more to get. Interesting enough is that the majority of driver fault accidents involving RVs are travel trailers followed by fifth wheels. Most of us driving “behemoths” are well aware of just how big they are.

Lil John
19 days ago
Reply to  Roy Davis

California requires the same, yet they have a law that says if a vehicle has 3 axles and is over 6000 pounds, you need a special license! 6000# versus a “bus” that weighs 26000. Great government thinking!

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