Talking Trucks Tuesday: Pickup Licenses


No matter what state you live in, you need a driver's license to drive a pickup truck. You may also need a different license class or endorsement if you ride a motorcycle or three-wheeler, carry hazardous materials (think swimming pool chemicals and fertilizers) or more than eight people, tow a trailer beyond a certain weight or a combination of truck and trailer beyond a certain gross vehicle weight rating, if your motor home weighs more than 26,001 pounds or if it has air brakes. And if you're doing any of this for money, that's a whole other can of worms.

The problem is that each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia have their own, sometimes different, rules when it comes to driving regulations. Other countries abide by national driving rules rather than state rules.

Here in the U.S. it gets really complicated when it comes to towing regulations. Some states require a special license for towing a trailer weighing more than 1,500 pounds; in others whether the trailer has brakes or is a fifth-wheel/gooseneck rig may place more regulations on it.

Then there's the driving ability of those who tow. If you have to show that you can parallel park or back up a car to get a driver's license, shouldn't you have to do that with a trailer attached?

What do you think? Should there be a separate towing license, and if so, what parameters would you add? Do you think a towing license should be a national standard so drivers don't have to check five state websites just to get across New England? Or should anyone who passes a normal state driving test be allowed to tow something as heavy as a small house? Let us know in the comments section below. graphic by Paul Dolan; manufacturer image


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