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Federal safety officials have loosened requirements for drivers delivering RVs, a move industry leaders hope will make the delivery process more efficient.

But, according to a report by the Elkhart Truth, a new partial exemption from the commercial driver’s license requirement for transport drivers will only cover a narrow slice of trailer deliveries.

On April 6, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a two-year exemption from the commercial driver’s license requirement for drivers delivering RVs of a certain size to buyers.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) began the application process for this exemption in spring 2014, when a transport driver shortage left deliveries backed up in RV manufacturer’s lots.

Previously, when an RV’s gross vehicle weight rating (weight when loaded to cargo capacity) and the towing vehicle’s weight rating exceeded 26,000 pounds, the driver was required to have a commercial driver’s license, also required for driving heavyweight trucks or school buses.

Most RVs are delivered empty, meaning they don’t come close to that maximum potential weight.

The exemption granted by federal safety officials means drivers without a commercial driver’s license can tow an RV with a high weight rating as long as the combined actual weight of the RV and towing vehicle does not reach 26,001 pounds.

However, with the exemption’s current wording, drivers without that license are still not allowed to tow RV trailers over 10,000 pounds.

“Larger travel trailers, fifth-wheel and toy haulers, exceed the 10,000 pound actual weight, and they would not be in the exemption,” said lawyer Paul Borghesani, who specializes in transportation law. “If we just had a deal with the combination weight at 26,000 pounds and not concerned with the trailer weight at 10,000, the exemption would be much broader and much more useful to the industry.”

Borghesani said the rule will be more beneficial to drivers delivering motor homes, which are driven instead of towed to their destination. The 10,000 pound weight limit for trailers does not apply to motorhomes.

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