The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) scored a significant regulatory achievement for the RV industry with today’s (April 6) decision by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to approve the association’s application to grant an exemption from the commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirement for drivers delivering RVs of a certain size to dealerships or trade shows before retail sale.

“We are extremely pleased that the FMCSA recognized the basis for our request and granted this exemption to the RV industry,” said RVIA President Richard Coon in a news release. “The positive decision will help RV transport companies become more efficient and help deliver RVs to consumers in a timelier manner.”

Under the FMCSA ruling, drivers covered by the exemption will not be required to hold a CDL when transporting motorhomes with a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination of RV trailer/tow vehicle with the gross weight of the towed unit not exceeding 10,000 pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds. These drivers must comply with all other applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The exemption covers employees of all U.S. driveaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs between manufacturing sites and dealer locations and for movements prior to the first retail sale.  The exemption is effective April 6 and expires on April 6, 2017.

RVIA began the process requesting the exemption in the spring of 2014 as the association examined legislative and regulatory solutions to address the shortage of RV transport drivers that was severely impacting the timely delivery of RVs to dealerships and ultimately consumers, who needed to wait weeks or months to receive a delivery of their purchase.

In the application to the FMCSA, RVIA contended that compliance with CDL rules prevented RV transport companies from implementing more efficient operations due to a shortage of CDL drivers. The association asserted that FMCSA should consider the actual weight of the RV when it is manifested as empty and should not require a CDL during the brief time that the RV is not loaded, does not carry freight, and is transported from the factory where it is manufactured, or from a holding area, to a dealership site or to and from a trade show. RVIA also noted that a CDL is not required to operate these RVs for personal use.

For more information, contact, RVIA’s Jay Landers at [email protected].