RV Driver Licence Requirements

Every province and every state has a different requirement for operating a Class A motorhome. In our home province of Ontario, the required class of licence is largely determined by weight. Weight of the vehicle and weight of the trailer.

There are 12 classes of licence in Ontario. You will need a commercial driver’s license if the weight of the vehicle exceeds 11,000 kgs or 24,250 lbs. If the motorhome is equipped with air brakes then you must also obtain the Z endorsement.

Our coach exceeds 11,000 kgs and it is equipped with air brakes which means we are required to hold a Class DZ commercial driver’s licence.

In Ontario, a Class D licence allows you to tow below 4,600 kgs or 10,141 lbs. If we were towing a big trailer and hauling more than 4,600 kgs in that trailer, then we would have to acquire a Class A licence. There is a special version of the Class A licence, Class A Restricted, that is designed for recreational, utility and horse trailers.

It all comes down to weight. And cost. And inconvenience.

These are commercial licence classes and subject to the whims of the government.

I received the following notice from the Ministry of Transportation last year.

Yesterday, we spent several hours getting our medicals completed and submitted. And, then there is the licence renewal coming up next year.

Mine expires March of 2020.

It looks as though I will have to pass a knowledge and vision test when I renew. Which means I have to be physically present in the province to complete those tests. Fortunately, I can renew my licence 180 days before it expires, a few weeks before we head south in November.

At age 65, we will have to submit a medical every year (the cost was $200 to have the medical reports completed for the two of us this year).

It all seems rather unnecessary to treat snowbirds travelling in motorhomes as if they were professional truck drivers constantly on the roads delivering goods.

Other provinces in Canada do not require motorhome owners in our weight class to hold a commercial driver licence.

1 reply
  1. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    I think it is beneficial for people to have the appropriate class of license for the GVWR of vehicle they’re driving. You want someone who’s never driven something bigger than a corolla jumping in a diesel pusher motor home and heading out onto the freeway with YOUR family? I sure don’t.

    Sure, maybe there should be a middle ground, maybe an RV endorsement/weekend class or something, but there are people out there who have no appreciation for how something that weighs 5x what their daily driver does handles, drives, and stops. I already see lots of people driving setups that require a D or an AR license with only a G license, and my guess is they’re either ignorant of the license requirement or going to plead ignorance when they eventually get stopped.

    In my experience as a truck mechanic, I work on the odd RV here and there. Based on what I’m typically tasked with correcting, I’m genuinely surprised there aren’t requirements for annual inspections on motor homes as there are on CMV’s or bus/coaches. We’re talking about a vehicle that in a lot of cases spends the majority of it’s life stationary; and in some cases only receives any mechanical attention when it’s undrivable. Rotten brake lines, improperly functioning brakes, worn steering components, leaking wheel seals, etc. Basically stuff that would get a similar sized vehicle with a commercial plate on it removed from service.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not painting all RV-ers with the same brush, but as per usual, it only takes the few bad apples to poison the whole basket.

    Reply

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