Special Licenses in Rhode Island
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Special Rhode Island Driver's Licenses
Depending on what type of vehicle you want to drive and what kind of driving you want to do, you may need to apply for a special driver's license or endorsement with the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
On this page you'll find an overview of some of the basic special licenses available through the Rhode Island DMV.
If you are looking for information about applying for a regular driver's license, please visit our pages on the following topics:
- Applying for a New License in Rhode Island (Driver 18+).
- Applying for a New License in Rhode Island (Teen Drivers).
In Rhode Island, a chauffeur is someone who drives a private or commercial vehicle to a designated location for payment. To do this, you'll need to get a valid chauffeur's license, denoted by an "R" restriction on your regular operator's license.
To obtain a chauffeur's license, you must:
- Be a resident of Rhode Island, although citizenship is not required.
- Have a minimum amount of previous driving experience.
- Provide references.
- Agree to a criminal background check.
- Complete a CPR course.
A chauffeur's license allows you to drive any vehicle, ranging from a taxi to a van, with a capacity of less than 14 passengers.
To receive a chauffeur's license, you must complete written, road, and eye tests.
For more information, please contact the Rhode Island DMV.
If you need to drive a vehicle that carries a large number of passengers, you must have a Class C Rhode Island CDL with a passenger endorsement.
Along with transporting a large number of passengers, certain endorsements and classes of commercial driver's licenses will allow you to:
- Operate heavy vehicles.
- Transport hazardous materials.
- Drive for hire.
For more information, please visit our Applying for a New CDL in Rhode Island page.
Driving a School Bus in Rhode Island
If you're a school bus driver, Rhode Island law requires you to have a Class C CDL with passenger, air brake, and school bus endorsements. School bus driver certificates must also be renewed on an annual basis.
In addition to completing all applicable commercial driver's licensing requirements, you must:
- Have held a motor vehicle operator's license for at least 3 years and be at least 21 years old.
- Have had no felony convictions and/or committed crimes of moral turpitude.
- Complete 10 hours of classroom instruction.
- Complete an eye test and physical examination by a licensed physician.
- Agree to an annual randomly administered drug test performed by your employer.
For more information, please contact the RI DMV.
If you have questions regarding the special classifications of driver's licenses in Rhode Island, call (401) 462-4368 or contact:
Division of Motor Vehicles
600 New London Ave.
Cranston, RI 02920
While most sport/off-road vehicles don't require a special driver's license or endorsement in Rhode Island, there may be a minimum operating age or safety class requirement. Certain vehicles may require you to hold a motorcycle license or endorsement. For more information, please visit our Motorcycle License in Rhode Island page.
To drive an ATV, you must:
- Be at least 12 years old.
- If you're between 12 and 16 years old, you must have an adult with you.
- Not cross highways if you're under 16 years old.
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