Do You Need A CDL To Drive A Winnebago? (The Truth!)


Do You Need A CDL To Drive A Winnebago

Do you need a CDL to drive a Winnebago? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

Winnebagos can be gigantic, especially two of the company’s Class A models, which are built on the Freightliner XCM and the Freightliner XC chassis.

Of course, when you see one of these megalithic metal-on-wheels contraptions on the road, it’s hard to believe there’s no special license required.

So, do you need a CDL to drive a Winnebago? Yes, you would need a CDL to drive a Winnebago in states like:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Texas

The truth is, whether or not a special license or a CDL is required for a Winnebago, depends on the state and on the size of the Winnebago. States set the guidelines on how their Driver’s Licenses are applied. In most states, you don’t need a special license.

There are a few exceptions, however, and as stated above, it largely depends on the size of the Winnebago and the laws of the state.

We’ll provide a list of states that require a special license or CDL below, however, if you’re uncertain, call your local DMV to find out.

Which States Require A CDL Or Special License for Winnebagos?

Most states don’t require a special license or a CDL to drive a Winnebago, however, since driver’s license requirements are entirely up to individual states, some have their own ideas on what should require a CDL or a special license.

STATE CDLSPECIAL LICENSE
ArkansasCDL required for any vehicle that’s over 26,000lbs GVWR  No
CaliforniaCDL Required for fifth-wheels + 15,000lbs/RVs more than 40’ in length/Towing more than 10,000lbs      No
ConnecticutClass B CDL for a vehicle over 26,000lbs and a Class A for vehicles over 26,000lbs that’s towing more than 10,000lbs.         No
HawaiiClass B CDL for a vehicle over 26,000lbs and a Class A for vehicles over 26,000lbs that’s towing more than 10,000lbs.         No
IllinoisCDL is required if your RV is over 16,000lbs or towing more than 10,000lbs.    No
KansasClass B CDL for a vehicle over 26,000lbs and a Class A for vehicles over 26,000lbs that’s towing more than 10,000lbs        No
Maryland    NoYour license has to reflect the weight class/License has to have an RV restriction code.
NevadaClass B CDL for a vehicle over 26,000lbs and a Class A for vehicles over 26,000lbs that’s towing more than 10,000lbsLetter J endorsements are required on your license if you’re towing more than 10,000 GVWR
New Mexico Class E endorsement for all RVs/Campers
New York Requires an R endorsement code and a Class A or B, non-commercial license for vehicles over 26,000lbs.
North CarolinaCDL is required for all vehicles over 26,000lbs or towing more than 10,000lbs. 
Pennsylvania Non-commercial Class B license required for vehicles over 26,000lbs.
South CarolinaCDL is required for over 26,000lbs. 
Texas The same rules apply for professional CDL drivers except the issued license is “non-commercial.”
Wyoming Class B CDL for a vehicle over 26,000lbs and a Class A for vehicles over 26,000lbs that’s towing more than 10,000lbs non-commercial.

Since Washington D.C. isn’t a state, we didn’t list it in the table, but there are restrictions there as well.

In D.C.a Class B CDL license is required for all vehicles over the 26,000lbs GVWR limit and Class A is required for a combination of vehicles that exceeds 26,000lbs GVWR.

The remaining 35 states have no restrictions so long as the vehicle in question—Winnebagos—is being used for personal reasons only.

Any commercial use whatsoever qualifies for needing a CDL.

When you think about it, it’s a bit strange that the major separation between whether or not you’re qualified to drive such a large vehicle boils down to if you decide to have a garage sale out of the back of your Winnebago.

Read also: What Are CDL Restrictions? (Codes, Endorsements, O, E, M, and L)

Which Winnebagos Are Above 26,000lbs Or Longer Than 40’?

There aren’t many Winnebagos that exceed the weight or length limits that would trigger the requirement for a special license or CDL in one of the above, 15 states, or in Washington D.C.

  • Winnebago Sunstar 35Us – weigh over 26,000lbs
  • Winnebago Inspires – weigh over 30,000lbs
  • Winnebago Journey 34Ns – weigh over 26,000lbs 
  • Winnebago Journey 36Ks – weigh over 26,000lbs 
  • Winnebago Journey 40Ps – over 41’ in length and weigh over 26,000lbs

Of course, in the state of Illinois, anything over 16,000lbs—which constitutes a large portion of the Winnebago lineup—or any vehicle that’s towing over 10,000lbs will require a Class B CDL and a Class A CDL for anything over 26,000lbs.

So, if you live in Illinois, your qualification requirements are a lot more strict. 

Read also: What’s The Longest Trailer You Can Pull Without A CDL? (Explained)

Do States Have Any Additional Requirements?

The only additional requirement you may run into while driving a Winnebago is that some states obligate you to pull over at weigh stations.

Either with a weight exceeding 10,000lbs GVWR or a combined towing weight that exceeds 10,000lbs GVWR, you will have to weigh in.

The states that require you to stop at weigh stations are Arkansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Georgia.

You don’t have to own a very large Winnebago to exceed the weight limits for those states.

It’s always a safe bet to check ahead before traveling across states so that you know what you’re getting into and what will be required. 

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Read also: Where to Find The Best Deals on Winnebago Rentals

Final Word

A Commercial Driver’s License or a Special License are only required for qualifying Winnebagos if you live in one of the above-mentioned, 15 states, or in Washington D.C.

Outside of that, you’re free to drive what you want, so long as it’s for personal use only.

Outside of personal use, all of the typical stipulations that call for a CDL will apply to you.

So, be sure to enjoy the rest and relaxation from vacationing in your Winnebago, without selling anything out of it.


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References

https://www.mhs2go.com/do-i-need-a-special-license-to-drive-a-class-a-or-class-c-motorhome/

https://www.thesenagroup.com/2019/07/14/need-special-license-drive-rv/

Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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