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As the RV industry continues to grow in China, Chinese officials have turned to the RV Industry Association (RVIA) for assistance in learning more about vehicle safety and licensing standards.

RVIA News & Insights reported that in efforts to aid in this request, RVIA organized meetings last week between state officials and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC). These meetings were an opportunity for Chinese officials to learn how states license and test RV drivers in the U.S.

The group conducted meetings in Maryland and Texas as both states represent different ways states operate the licensing of RV drivers. Maryland is representative of most states as it does not require additional testing or requirements to drive an RV — a standard driver’s license is all that is necessary.  While in Texas, for any type of RV over 26,000 pounds, a driver must have a Class A or Class B (non-CDL) license and must pass an in-vehicle skills test.

The first meeting was with Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Administrator Chrissy Nizer. CATARC officials learned from the Maryland MVA how states generally license drivers and the specifics for the state of Maryland. The next set of meetings were hosted in Austin, Texas, with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In Texas, DPS oversees the drivers licensing process. DPS presented Texas licensing specifics to the group, as well as provided a tour of the testing facility.

During both meetings, Chinese officials were able to ask questions of MVA staff and compare current Chinese licensing standards to U.S. standards. Unlike the U.S., China does not categorize driver’s licenses as CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and non-CDL. Instead, it provides 16 different classes of driver’s licenses with Class A being the toughest. This Class A license is what is currently required for towing. Most consumers have Class C1 licenses which is required to operate passenger vehicles with nine seats or fewer and is six meters or less in vehicle length. All licenses require a written exam, road test and physical.

These meetings gave CATARC officials an extraordinary opportunity to learn first-hand from U.S. government agencies the licensing requirements and practices in marrying states to take back with them for consideration when they are working on setting new RV licensing standards in China.

RVIA has been working with CATARC, the leading motor vehicle standards developing agency (SDO) in China, since the beginning of the Association’s Asia Export Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to educate China’s SDOs on RVs, help the SDOs understand the uniqueness of RVs and introduce the SDOs to the standards and regulations enforced in the states. Through these efforts, the hope is that the standards adopted in China will not lock U.S.-made RVs out of the Chinese market and that more RV-friendly regulatory environment will help grow the industry by providing the opportunity for more U.S. exports.

This visit to the U.S. is part of the process CATARC and other SDOs are currently undertaking to write additional RV-related standards including standards for towing recreational trailers. The RV standards workgroup, led by CATARC, has a multiyear plan to review existing standards and develop new standards to address the specifics of RVs. As a member of the workgroup, the RV Industry Association will continue participating in the standards process and provides comments and feedbacks to assist the SDOs.