Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
You might not know this, but when you cross the border of one state and are heading into another, then the laws of the road can alter entirely. Who knew?! Yeah, it can almost be like driving into a foreign country, and this is because each state has its own driver’s license class, type and also rule standards.
Fear not! States will actually honor licenses that are from other states, so as a driver you will not have to stop to get a new license each time you enter a different state. It is important to note that this will make us struggle to work through the type of license that you have.
Yeah, this is somewhat a complicated subject because it is entirely dependent on the location of the driver who wants this answered. The most common types of driver’s license in the United States are as follows: unrestricted licenses, provisional licenses, chauffeur licenses, motorcycle licenses and also enhanced licenses.
Unrestricted driver’s licenses
So, an unrestricted license is the most frequent type of driver’s license that you can get. These can either be commercial licenses or they can be non-commercial licenses.
This license differs from a few of the other licenses, for instance those licenses that are intended for motorcycle drivers or even chauffeurs. Unlike the restricted licenses, drivers who have unrestricted licenses will not have any limitations on their driving.
Restricted driver’s licenses
With restricted licenses, these are normally granted to people who initially had unrestricted licenses, and then because of committing serious infractions they will be subjected to additional control. These infractions could include driving under the influence of alcohol. There will be an option to have the license suspended, but this will be available to some drivers only.
On the other hand, restricted licenses are issued to minors in some states. They will let minors drive in the state if they adhere to certain conditions.
These conditions would be using the vehicle just to travel to and from work, or during the hours of daylight. In fact at times, they will even allow for the minor to be able to drive as long as they do so with the accompaniment of an adult or a certified instructor who is over 21 years old.
Provisional driver’s licenses
Functionally, the provisional license is the same as the regular driver’s license. These are the licenses that will normally get issued to minors. Each state will also have different requirements and regulations when it comes to such licenses or such permits, and they will have different names too.
When in states such as Indiana, or Vermont, or even Puerto Rico then these will normally be referred to as learner’s permits or licenses. In Washington these will be referred to as intermediate driver licenses, in Missouri they are called the under 21 driver’s license, and in Tennessee they are called class H and P licenses.
There are actually some states such as Oregon which will let minors over 16 years of age to be issued regular driver’s licenses. Most states will actually provide provisional licenses to minors, and this must be replaced for a regular driver’s license when the minor becomes of age.
Chauffeur driver’s licenses
These licenses are functionally the same as a regular driver’s license, and these types of driver’s licenses will also let car-holders to be able to drive taxis, or limousines, or vans that transport passengers for purposes that are commercial. If any of the following applies to you, then you will be working as a chauffeur. Your own state of residency will require that you have this type of driver’s license.
Motorcycle driver’s licenses
A motorcycle license is one of the types of driver’s licenses in the United States which varies pretty widely between states. Here’s the thing, there are some states which will issue class M to bikers, but other states will have classified these types of driver’s license differently.
Most states will generally place moped and motorcycles within the same type of driver’s license category, there are some states that will actually make a distinction between these. They will therefore provide licenses for both vehicles and they will be under separate classes.
Enhanced driver’s licenses
So, the enhanced driver’s licenses are actually issued by specific states – this is mainly for California, or Michigan, or Minnesota, or New York, or even Washington and Vermont. These states provide other privileges that are not just related to driving.
To get an enhanced driver’s license you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you must reside in one of the states which issue these types of driver’s licenses. You must also comply with the state’s necessary requirements. They will normally cost between $30 and $80, and it will normally take two to three weeks for the application to be processed and for the license to be sent by mail.
So, these are the range of driver’s licenses that are available in the United States, but it is important to mention that there are some states which also have additional classifications.
Let’s talk driver’s license classes
So, a non-commercial driver’s license will allow you to be able to operate a passenger vehicle alone, without needing any kind of supervision. When it comes to looking at colloquial use, this will be referred to as being a regular driver’s license or as a normal driver’s license. This is due to the fact that the type of driver’s license is what most people will need. It is true that legally, this license type can end up having a lot of different names.
There are a whole host of driver’s license class labels for regular driver’s licenses in each state, and these will be outlined in the table below.
How do you get your driver’s license?
It is pretty common knowledge that a driver’s license will let people operate a range of different vehicle types. The process will require the person to be of appropriate age, and it also depends on the experience that the individual has and it also depends on the intent of usage of the driver’s license too.
What we mean by intent of usage is in reference to the biggest issue that comes to issuing driver’s licenses. This issue is whether the applicant will want to drive for personal purposes or for commercial purposes. It is true that applicants might be required to take a training program or even a set number of manu hours of driving practice for certain types of licenses.
So, when this is taken into consideration in alignment with most states, applicants will be required to pass a written driver’s test and also a skills test. However, a signed certificate that has come from a driver’s education program will sometimes be completely acceptable.
But, non-commercial drivers might also be required to complete a driving program before they take a written test or before they take a skills test. This will all depend entirely on their ages.
In fact, young drivers will often have much higher standards that they will need to meet in comparison to other applicants. States that will need young applicants to attend a driver’s education class include Delaware, Maine, Iowa and also New York.
Learner’s permits and driver education
It is important to note that a lot of states will need all drivers to get a learner’s permit while they get practice whilst driving on public roads.
This all has to be done under the supervision of a licensed driver. It is true that there are times where other restrictions will exist too – and these restrictions include the successful completion of a driver’s education program or just sitting the driver’s license exam within a certain time frame.
What about provisional licenses for new drivers?
Additionally to this, there are several states which also restrict the rights of new or young licensed drivers. This is until they are older or until they are much more experienced. Some of these examples include Rhode Island’s first license, and this comes with additional restrictions. This will end up being good for just one year.
Then, once you have completed this provisionary period then the state will actually issue a normal driver’s license. Alternatively, Texas will offer a provisional license to any driver who is under the age of 18. North Carolina actually has a graduated series of licenses which are for underage drivers who have that right blend of education and also experience.
How do you get a motorcycle license?
The majority of states will require an additional proof of expertise before a driver is even allowed to operate a motorcycle, or a moped, or even a motorized bicycle or a three-wheeled vehicle on public roadways. There are some states which will distinguish between two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles and they will require testing to operate both of these vehicles.
For instance, some states such as Ohio will need motorcyclists to obtain a learner’s permit and this will be for a period of several months to a year before they are even allowed to apply for a permanent license.
These permits will come with restrictions that include riding your vehicles just in daylight hours. There are even some states which will provide a secondary license and this will often be a class M license, or they will add a motorcycle endorsement to another type of license.
Is it true that you need a special license to drive an RV?
You might be pleased to learn that actually, recreational vehicles fall within the specifications that are allowed by a regular driver’s license. They will typically include driving a passenger vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of up to 26,000 pounds, and also a towering vehicle that has a gross combination rate weighting of up to 10,000 pounds. There are some exceptions though.
How heavy is a class RV though?
So, class A vehicles can be referred to as being the beasts of the recreational vehicle world. They will often have slide-outs and these work to expand their size when they are in place for the night. Class As will also include certain refurbished buses and these can weigh anywhere from 13,000 right up to 30,000 pounds. Or, they can weigh even more than this!
How heavy is a class B RV?
The class B recreational vehicle is a smaller vehicle, and they tend to sleep one to four people. They will weigh between 6,000 pounds right up to 8,000 pounds.
How heavy is a class C RV?
These are much larger campers and you will find that they tend to have beds in the back and they will often have beds over the cab too. Sometimes, they will have dining tables and chairs which will fold into alternative sleeping areas too. The weight of this recreational vehicle can range from 10,000 pounds right up to 12,000 pounds.
How does licensing to drive an RV work?
The majority of states do not actually require you to get a special license if you want to drive a recreational vehicle, this also applies if the RV weight goes beyond a certain stated limit. It is important to note that this might not end up being for the best because large vehicles do pose different challenges during their operation.
It is important to remember that from turning corners to parking in spaces, RVs are a lot more work than the standard vehicle. There are RV schools which can help to educate new owners or even renters on everything that you will need to know about your recreational vehicle. You will be able to learn everything from draining sewage tanks, right up to completing basic road safety.
Do you need insurance to get a driver’s license?
A lot of states have actually made it compulsory for an insurance model to require minimum liability coverage so to pay for a car to be on the road. There are even specific states which let residents pay a fee, or even show financial stability. This will be in exchange for forgoing insurance. Other states will actually require proof of insurance to be allowed to register a car.
What about car insurance for non-owner drivers?
So, as of January 2020 there is now no state which requires any kind of proof of car insurance in order to issue a regular driver’s license. But, there are laws and insurance policies which seem to be trending in that direction.
We know that the rules of the road can alter drastically from one state to the next, so it is especially easy for people to be confused about the license type which they need.
The majority of drivers will only need a class D driver’s license in order to operate passenger cars, however there are more exceptions. If you require further information about this then you should speak to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for further information.