RV Driving Tips

There is SO much misinformation about who needs a Non-commercial Class B License and what is involved that we thought it’s time to clarify the process. What follows is ONLY for California.

WHO NEEDS A NON-COMMERCIAL LICENSE?

Anyone driving a 45' Motorhome (Greater than 40' up to 45')

By definition, a 45’ Motorhome refers to a single-unit motorhome that is longer than 40 feet but no more than 45 feet. (Note: A vehicle combination, e.g. a motorhome towing a vehicle or trailer, may be up to 65 feet in length. If the single-unit motorhome is 40 feet or less in length, the combination is NOT subject to the route restriction for the 45’ motorhome and the driver DOES NOT require a special license)

class b license truck 1Motorhome: A motorhome is a noncommercial passenger vehicle defined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 465 as a “house car” and commonly referred to as a recreation vehicle, “a motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached.” A motorhome should not be confused with a bus or a tour bus, also called “motorcoach” which is used for commercial passenger transportation and requires a commercial Class B driver’s license to operate.

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HOW DO I OBTAIN A NON-COM CLASS B LICENSE?

Note: For the noncommercial Class B license you are NOT required to present your Passport, Birth Certificate and Proof of Residency, this is only required for the full Class B license.

To obtain an original noncommercial Class B license – you must:

1. Pass the Driver's Examination for 45' Housecars law test. You must pass the law test based on the information contained in the Non-Commercial Handbook. The test may be taken at any DMV field office. You may make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov, or by calling 1-800-777-0133.
2. Vehicle safety check. Before the skills test, you must demonstrate that the turn signals, brake lights, horn, emergency flashers, and brake system are working. This is not part of your pre-trip test. However, if any of these items are not working properly or are missing; your driving test will be postponed.
3. Skills tests. Skills tests are designed to demonstrate your skill in stopping, backing in a straight line, completing a right turn around a cone or marker, and backing into a camping space.
4. Driving test. The driving test includes entering and exiting a freeway, freeway driving with lane changes, right and left turns into one-way and two-way traffic, railroad crossings, driving on a grade or steep hill, etc. You may make an appointment by calling 1-800-777-0133. Online appointments are not available for this type of driving test.
5. Physician's Health Report. A Physician's Health Report (DL 546A) (PDF) form signed by your physician is required and must be given to DMV for review and approval before your license is issued and then every two years after that. The Health Report expires two years from the examination date. Failure to maintain a valid Health Report form with DMV will mean that your license is valid only for Class C and, if endorsed, for Class M1 or M2 vehicles. Health Report forms are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov.

45' Housecar with Air Brakes

You are not required to pass an air brake law test or to perform an air brake system check if your housecar is equipped with air brakes. You will be asked to perform a Vehicle Safety Check by the DMV examiner.

Be aware that you may get a blank stare when you go to your neighborhood DMV office asking to apply for the noncommercial license as this is NOT something most offices process every day. For this reason you will find it less frustrating to go to one of the DMV’s Commercial Testing Centers to begin the process.

RV Basic Training can help and will be happy to provide you with the forms you require to get started. Once you have your permit, your Housecar Boot Camp will get you ready for your California Housecar License.

Gary the RV Guy

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