Working at a Driving Job

- Donald Jones
(Scranton, Pa.)

I'm a retired commercial driver and hold a CDL Class A license. I always thought the CDL allowed you to get a job driving in any state. I found I was wrong. It only covers interstate and not intrastate.

I applied for a job driving a bus at Disney World when they were badly in need of drivers. I was told I had to get a Florida CDL. Last year, I applied for a job in Arizona driving a fifteen passenger van and was told, "You'll have to get an Arizona CDL."

CDL licenses are good for four years. If I change my license I have to give up any remaining time on my current license, pay $60, and start all over.

As workampers, we have worked in Florida, New Mexico, Alabama, and Arizona over the last five years, plus summering in Pennsylvania with family.

My CDL is issued in Pa. If I change my CDL, I must change my address, car insurance, vehicle registration, Medi-Care supplement insurance, etc.

If a fulltimer like myself has an address they receive mail at or belongs to a group like Escapees that provides an address and mail forwarding, he must give that up in order to accept a part time job driving.

I spent most of my adult life driving both over-the-road trucks and city buses.

I would like to get someone to help rectify this injustice to retired people who chose to go fulltiming. I've tried contacting many politicians and camping groups and nobody seems interested in addressing this. I even went as far as contacting the ACLU in both Florida and Arizona and never got a call back. I finally got in contact with their HQ in Washington, D.C. and was told, "I don't see where this is a discrimination problem. There's a simple solution: Stay in one place."

Could you or your group offer any advice or help in rectifying this?

Comments for Working at a Driving Job

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Commercial Driving Jobs

I'm not an attorney, so I cannot give you legal advice.

Reading your letter, it sounds as though you have several misconceptions. This is what jumps out at me:

Are you retired OR are you looking for employment? Merriam-Webster, the dictionary folks, on their website define "retired" as, "withdrawn from one's position or occupation : having concluded one's working or professional career." You can't expect people, politicians, or organizations to understand what it is you are trying to accomplish when you describe yourself as both retired and looking for a driving job.

Just because you get mail some place does not mean that place is your legal domicile. Using the Escapees Club's mail forwarding service and their Livingston, TX address does not automatically make you a Texas resident.

Not all commercial driving jobs require a commercial drivers license (CDL). There are exceptions for those working in certain agriculture / farm jobs. There may also be exceptions for fire fighters and drivers of other emergency vehicles.

Your CDL does not necessarily need to be issued from the state where you are working. For example, the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website ( states, "If you do not have any intention of becoming a resident of Alaska (Seasonal worker, etc.) you must have a valid CDL from your home state in order to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle in Alaska."


I was always under the impression, that when I got my CDL, that it was a nationally issued/covered license for all 48 states, for commercial driving. Have I been misinformed all these years?


I can understand your frustration, I go through the same thing. Florida is my home state, but I do work seasonally in Arizona and I have to change my CDL to work in Arizona, it is not a big deal other then the $60.00. Chalk it up to the cost of doing business. I do not change my personal vehicle restration or insurance.

The CDL program required all states to conform to the same requirements for testing and qualifications. It was never a one license for all states. I would like all of the states to adopt Alaska's policy, but I doubt that they are willing to give up the income from license fees.

CDL License

In 7 years of semi-retirement traveling I have found a variety of CDL requirements. I have driven semi truck on the harvest in one state where any CDL is accepted. Another state I hauled in, does not require CDL's if you are employed by the farmer. I drove a bus to whitewater rafting trips and again an out of state CDL was sufficient. I tried obtaining a driving position in a National Park and they wanted a state specific license. When we return "home" I jump in a dump truck owned by a friend.

Currently we are making an extended stay in one location during the economic slowdown. Every driving job wanted the license of this state "in order to be able to insure me." So after 30+ years I transferred my CDL to gain income during the recession.

Yes, CDL employment can be one of the areas that does not always fit into the fulltiming lifestyle. Those that make the decisions often have no idea what we mean when we say we are mobile with no roots.

Agree with Above

I think the above is correct. The state requires that you have a state issued CDL if you are or become a resident.

If you do not intend to become a resident then it MAY not apply, ie. California, say that if you work/reside in the state for more than 30 days then you have to get a license.

I think you can ignore that if that works for the employer and their insurance company.

Show Me the Proof

When someone tells you that you must have a state CDL license to work in that state, ask them for the proof. What state statue requires that?

Do truck drivers get a CDL license for every state they drive through?

Bus Driver Needed

Please call Denise at 480-985-5778 if you are interested.

Licensing Requirements for CDL Drivers

If you want proof, look at the individual state rules of the road handbook. Most states indicate that if you live AND work in that state under a CDL, you must have a valid license from that state. Another thing, most states only give you 30 days (some longer) to change your license to that state once you establish residence. That's NOT changing your domicile, only establishing residence.


If you work for any of the RV drive-a-way companies, all you would need is a CDL in the state you reside in or have mail to. One such company I drive for, and drive when I want to drive, and all they require to stay active in their books is for me to take a unit at least once every six months. Even in the down turn of the country, they always have loads when I check with them. They move anything with a motor and wheels, plus brand new RV's. It was a great way to check them out to see what type of RV we were going to purchase. Check out the web site:

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