Tag Archives: CDL

Do motor home drivers need a special license?


The in basket: The JudyBaker, my wife, asked me the other day if people driving large motor homes, some larger than buses and as big as medium-size trucks, need anything more than the standard drivers license. Most truck drivers need commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) and motorcyclists need an endorsement denoting some extra training. 

The out basket: No, says Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing. The standard driver’s license is good enough to operate a motor home, whatever its size. “State law  specifically exempts the operators of recreational vehicles from CDL requirements” and no other extra demands are made by the law, he said. 

That law also exempts farmers driving farm vehicles of 40,000 pounds or less within 150 miles of their farm, including those carrying Christmas trees and wood chips, and properly trained drivers of emergency vehicles and military vehicles from needing a CDL.

All school bus drivers need a CDL, regardless of the bus size, he said. Drivers of other buses designed to hold 16 or more passengers (including the driver) also are required to have a CDL. This includes private and church bus drivers. If the vehicle has fewer than 16 seats, no CDL is required, Brad said..

He deferred to Lowell Porter, head of the state Traffic Safety Commission, as to whether motor homes represent as much of a hazard on the roads as other large vehicles. Lowell said, ” I checked the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data base to check the representation of these vehicles in fatal crashes in Washington. Large motor homes are involved in a very small number of fatal crashes when compared to the number of licensed vehicles in Washington.”