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Vintage licensing and operating question...

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I got in a bit of an arguement with or shop mechanic about me being able to drive my 1949 EQX with a trailer without having to have a combination CDL (Washington State).

I have talked to a state trooper, and city cop and researched the topic on the DOL's website. As far as I can tell, as long as the GCVW is under 26K and I am not hauling commercially, I can drive without a CDL at all. All I am doing is using the truck to enjoy and to haul my personal vehicles and equipment to local shows etc... I have a vintage 1949 permanent registration for it also. Anyone else have any good info/ expirence with this? Thanks!

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This topic rears it's ugly head every once in a while. Many states differ, and what makes it even more confusing is the fact that the very officials of the states (State Troopers/DOT Employees) who are charged with enforcing these very laws either have little knowledge of them or are completely wrong in their enforcement of them.

In the STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA for example: One does NOT need a CDL to operate a privately owned antique vehicle that is not operating within commerce- no matter what the combination is; whether it be a straight truck weighing less or more than 26,001 lbs. It can be a Tractor and Trailer weighing 35,000 GVWR- as long as it is a privately owned and registered as such and is not operating within the laws of commerce- no CDL is needed, however you do need to possess the appropriate non-CDL operators license.

My 1958 FWD Firetruck has a GVWR of 31,000lbs however only weighs 18,500- were it a commercial vehicle operating in the laws of commerce, yes I would need to have a class B CDL. It does not have air brakes so the air brake endorsement would not be needed. But again, it is a privately owned vehicle and registered as an antque/historic vehicle and is operated for private purposes and not for commercial gain, I do not have to have a CDL. When I first bought it, I was curious as to the proper operating requirements. I wont bore you with the long story but the short version involves several hours of telephone calls to one of my elected representatives office staffers, and another hour or two with people at PENNDOT in Harrisburg- which probably resulted in several bottles of MAALOX and TYLENOL being consumed on their part as I could not get the same answer from any two people. So I made a stink and in the end, I received a letter from the Commissioner of PENNDOT himself, stating the requirements. I have never been pulled over, I do not intend to get pulled over, but that letter remains to this day- in the glove box.

All that being said, do yourself a favor, and obtain a CDL- it's in everyones best interests.


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Ya,,,,that about covers it. You never know what Barney Fife is going to do on the side of the highway. I've got 12 yrs of running around in my rig with little issue. I do have a CDL, so that base is covered no matter what.



1959 B61 Liv'n Large......................

Charter member of the "MACK PACK"


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If the vehicle is spec'd with a GCVW of 26,000 or less, you should not need a CDL. If you talked to the local authorities, get it in writing and keep a copy in the vehicle just in case you get questioned.


PRR Country and Charter member of the "Mack Pack"

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Here ia what your state (Washington state) web site says:

Who doesn’t need a CDL?By law, the following types of drivers don’t need a commercial driver license (CDL):

•Farmers transporting farm equipment, supplies, or products* to or from a farm in a farm vehicle are exempt if the vehicle is:

◦Operated by the farmer or a farm employee.

◦Not used in the operation of a common or contract motor carrier.

◦Used within 150 miles of the farm (in an air-mile radius).

If farmers meet all requirements of the farm exemption, they may operate farm-exempt vehicles between the states of Idaho and Oregon.

*Farm products include Christmas trees or wood products transported by vehicles weighing no more than 40,000 pounds licensed gross vehicle weight. This weight restriction applies only to Christmas trees and wood products.

•Firefighters and law enforcement personnel are exempt when operating emergency equipment if they carry the certification card proving they have completed the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention Program (EVAP).

•Recreational vehicle (RV) operators are exempt when driving an RV for non-commercial purposes. This exemption includes 2-axle rental trucks and horse trailers.

•Military commercial drivers are exempt only when they are operating the proper military vehicle under a military license issued by their branch of the service.

•Drivers of vehicles with air brakes that don’t otherwise qualify as a commercial vehicle. Even though a vehicle is equipped with air brakes, it doesn’t automatically mean the driver must have a CDL. If the vehicle doesn’t meet the criteria listed under "Types of vehicles that require a CDL", the driver is exempt.

Who needs a CDL?Types of vehicles that require a CDL

You must have a commercial driver license (CDL) to drive any of the following vehicles:

•All single vehicles with a manufacturer’s weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more.

•All trailers with a manufacturer’s weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, and a combined vehicles’ gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more.

•All vehicles designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the driver). This includes private and church buses.

•All school buses, regardless of size.

•All vehicles used to transport any material that requires hazardous material placarding or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR 73.

Occasional drivers

Occasional drivers, such as mechanics or truck salespeople who test drive the vehicles described above on a public roadway, also need a CDL and any required endorsements.

Find out if you need a CDL

The vehicles described above are divided into 3 classes – Class A, Class B, and Class C. Use the diagram below to see if you need a CDL, and what class of CDL you need. A higher-class CDL allows you to drive vehicles in any of the lower classes if you have the correct endorsements.

Here is a link:


You should research and read this for your self. None of us will be paying your fine if you receive one.

EDIT: I added "Washington state" into the first line.

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Hi Big Dog, What sate were you reffering to, NY or MA? Also, the fine cant be over a couple grand can it?

Paul, I referenced Washington state's DOL. I am not sure if your were talking to me or not? I will edit my post and clarify it is Washington state.

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