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Old 12-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
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Another Texas DL Question

Folks, I'm trimming up loose ends at the completion of our first year of RV'ing.

Way too much information about the intricacies of Texas code, license classes and requirements. But, I think even though our Fleetwood normally operates way under the law's 26,000 lb limit, its rating determines the need for a Class B.

BUT... I just stumbled onto an application for exemption, where Texas drivers can apply for the right to operate a commercial vehicle meeting certain criteria. While I'm inclined to believe the exemption affirms I can drive a motorhome over 26K for personal use, possession of a Class B makes that redundant. So, "application for exemption" suggests to me waiving the sole obstruction of the Class C: the weight rating.

Before you tell me I could get a ticket, think for a moment: if I have a valid Class C and the state has presented me with a document affirming my right to drive a motorhome weighing more than 26K, there's no longer an argument. Has anyone explored this avenue?




I was just downstairs here in Tokyo with a table full of fellow airline pilots, old friends; and, the majority are either established RV'ers or are shopping for rigs. It's the product of our age, empty-nest status, the hassle of hopping on commercial flights, our plummeting pay, wives' attempts to corral us timewise, looming retirement and other factors. Brace yourselves, here come the airborne heavy equipment operators!!

Photo: Past Christmas together in our bigger rig. The FAA forbade Havana riding on the dashboard, her normal perch.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:32 PM   #2
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I can now legally drive the MH!
read all ten pages.....
my new one arrived today in the mail
and yes if your rig is GROSS of over 26k you need a "B" ticket
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:57 PM   #3
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You are EXEMPT from holding a CDL, NOT from holding a Class B NON-CDL if you drive a MH that Gross weight is over 26001 lbs and you hold a Texas driver license... If it is one pound less, i.e. 26000 lbs then you are fine with only a Class C (normal driver license)
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNeophytes2 View Post
Folks, I'm trimming up loose ends at the completion of our first year of RV'ing. A years illegal operation! You've been lucky.

Way too much information about the intricacies of Texas code, license classes and requirements. But, I think even though our Fleetwood normally operates way under the law's 26,000 lb limit, its rating determines the need for a Class B. The GVWR determines the license requirement.

BUT... I just stumbled onto an application for exemption, where Texas drivers can apply for the right to operate a commercial vehicle meeting certain criteria. While I'm inclined to believe the exemption affirms I can drive a motorhome over 26K for personal use, possession of a Class B makes that redundant. So, "application for exemption" suggests to me waiving the sole obstruction of the Class C: the weight rating. There is no such thing as a "commercial vehicle. The "use" determines commercial or not. Further, a commercial drivers license has nothing to do with our "private" operation of a motorhome (at least 99.9% of us).

Before you tell me I could get a ticket, think for a moment: if I have a valid Class C and the state has presented me with a document affirming my right to drive a motorhome weighing more than 26K, there's no longer an argument. Has anyone explored this avenue? I believe getting a ticket should be the least of the worries after an accident maiming a third party and the insurance company saying "no coverage as the driver has no license". That can get real expensive - real fast.




I was just downstairs here in Tokyo with a table full of fellow airline pilots, old friends; and, the majority are either established RV'ers or are shopping for rigs. It's the product of our age, empty-nest status, the hassle of hopping on commercial flights, our plummeting pay, wives' attempts to corral us timewise, looming retirement and other factors. Brace yourselves, here come the airborne heavy equipment operators!!

Photo: Past Christmas together in our bigger rig. The FAA forbade Havana riding on the dashboard, her normal perch.
...
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:25 PM   #5
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If you are at 26,001 lbs or more you need a Class B license in Texas. Has nothing to do with being commercial, it has to do with the heavy weight and being able to demonstrate that you can handle the rig. Are you afraid that you can't pass the test? If not, then just do it! We've had our licenses for 5 years. Yes, we know others who have never gotten theirs - for all sorts of reasons but mainly because they were worried about some part of the test. It is a 20 question written test and 20-30 minutes of driving. And if you can't pass it then you really have no business having one of these rigs on the road.

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Old 01-12-2012, 02:59 PM   #6
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I am a little late to this thread but I went through this about two years ago. I think the study and test were good for me as someone new to dirving a large MH. I would recommend that everyone take it. If you have a lot of previous experience you shouldn't have any problem with the test. If you fail the test you should find a location to practice or study the book. However, just like anything else dealing with a Texas state agency, be prepare to spend time waiting. There is one good reason to make sure you tell the person doing your paper work that you want a non-commercial Class B; it will save you a lot of money for the cost of the lic. I think the non-commercial Class B is the same cost as a Class C. CDLs are much more expensive.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:18 PM   #7
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Sorry I'm late in responding to this thread, I just missed it, and DL's in Texas are a pet peeve of mine. The problem is when people download the electronic version and search for the term CDL. They are given Section 522 of the TDOT code, and in that code it specifically states that to drive an RV for personal use does not require a CDL. And you know what, they are right -------- HOWEVER.

Please go back to Section 521 of that same book. That is the section that everyone not driving commercially needs to study. In Section 521 it will give you the weights and class of license needed. It has absolutely nothing to do the a commercial drivers license.

Please read section 521, and ignore any other license requirements, unless you plan on driving for commercial purposes.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNeophytes2 View Post

BUT... I just stumbled onto an application for exemption, where Texas drivers can apply for the right to operate a commercial vehicle meeting certain criteria.
I do believe I came across that when preparing for my test and, as Wayne points out, we're not talking about commercial vehicles here we're talking about the weight and licensing requirements of RVs so I think you're out of luck in this regard.

I did a little study and was able to pass the written and driving test with no problem. Driving through downtown Livingston was the toughest part of the whole thing!

BTW, if anyone else out there has had laser eye surgery in "mono vision" where one eye is for reading and the other for distance... you WILL NOT pass their eye exam and will need to consult with a local specialist who will give you a letter saying you're safe...

Good luck

Rick
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
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If you are at 26,001 lbs or more you need a Class B license in Texas.
To be a little more accurate - If your (vehicle's) Gross Vehicle Weight is 26,000 lbs or over you need a Class B License in Texas.

It's not the actual weight of the vehicle - it's the vehicle weight rating (GVW)


Or as RVNeophytes2 says

"....our Fleetwood normally operates way under the law's 26,000 lb limit, its rating determines the need for a Class B...."


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Old 01-12-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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I called the customer service folks today from the Tampa show. I wanted to get clarification on what the break points were between the license classes and if it was referring to GVWR or GCWR.
The first one said that you had to have a class A license for any motorhome. I talked to her for awhile to try to get the real info and finally asked to speak to someone else. That lady told me that it had nothing to do with the weight, but with what you were towing. After talking to her some more she finally told me that anything over 26,000 pounds required the non-CDL A or B. From talking to her I would be very confused on anything doing with licensing in Texas.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:34 PM   #11
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Do not go by what the customer service people say. Go by the manual. Even inspectors at the DL testing facility here in Texas City had to have a conference with 5 other officers, and then I pointed out the wording in the manual and they came to agreement on licensing. This was years ago.

Class A - Combined Vehicle Weight Raiting of 26,001 pounds or more provided that the GVWR of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

Class B - a single unit vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001
pounds or more, and any such vehicle towing either a vehicle with a
gross vehicle weight rating that does not exceed 10,000 pounds, or a
farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that does not exceed
20,000 pounds;

So, if you MH weighs 26,001 pounds and you are towing less than 10,000 pounds, it's a Class B.

There is absolutely no CDL involved in any fashion for a privately driven RV, just the straight Class A or B in Texas.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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OK Wayne, what about towing a trailer in Texas....

My truck has a GVWR of 11,550#. The trailer has a GVWR of 16,000#.

Just what class license do you need?

Now you are towing a trailer with a GVWR of 9500#....what class is needed

Next, you have a trailer with a GVWR of 14,400#...what class is needed?

The 521 section is about as poorly written as a lawyer can make it.

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
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OK Wayne, what about towing a trailer in Texas....

My truck has a GVWR of 11,550#. The trailer has a GVWR of 16,000#.
CLASS A, Your Gross COMBINATION Weight Rating is over 26,001 pounds

Just what class license do you need?

Now you are towing a trailer with a GVWR of 9500#....what class is needed
CLASS C(?) You don't exceed 26,000 pounds in either case and combined is less than 26,001 pounds

Next, you have a trailer with a GVWR of 14,400#...what class is needed?
It doesn't fall in either category. Personally, I'd go with CLASS B, but most likely by law a Class C would suffice, but that is just MY PERSONAL OPINION. Best get an answer from the TDOT.

The 521 section is about as poorly written as a lawyer can make it.
I have no argument in how poorly it is written. I obtained my CDL in the 1980's, and over the years the sections have been re-worded, but only slightly. It has always been confusing, and is made more so when asking questions at the driver license office. Every time I have asked that question I have gotten a different answer.


Ken
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:44 AM   #14
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Every time you ask this at the DPS office, you get 4 different answers from three different people. If they cannot understand the requirements, just how do they expect a college educated person to read it.

It is pretty obvious that who ever wrote it does not have a clue about trailer weights and towing weights for RVs.

Ken
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