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Old 09-05-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
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About a month ago while reading a motor home magazine I saw a list of states and their specific requirements for driver's license for motor homes. I live in SC and bought my Class A motor home about a year ago and never knew until I read the article that SC requires a special license. Here is the SC law. To drive an automobile you need a Class D license. To operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs gross vehicle weight, you must obtain a Class E license. To operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs and tow a trailer or vehicle, you must obtain a Class F license.

Some out there may have already known this, I didn't. Yesterday I passed the driving skills and road test and obtained my Class F license. I had previously passed the written part of the test and recieved my "Learner's permit". The only problem with the learner's permit is I could not find anyone with a Class F license to ride with me when I practiced driving my RV during that time. Nor could I find a person to go with me to the DMV yesterday to take my test at the North Augusta DMV. I love living on the edge!! Oh, by the way, you have to go to specifically designated DMVs in SC to take the RV skills and road test. Written test can be taken at any SC DMV. When I finished and passed I told the examiner that I was a little apprehensive about driving my MH into the DMV without a license. I told him I had looked and couldn't find a co-driver.
The examiner told me he wasn't suprised as he had been an examiner for the state of SC for 18 yrs and I was his first ever RV skills and road test.
And here is the main reason I wanted to post this information for all SC motor home owners that fall in the above catagories. The examiner told me that the SC DMV had recently sent out a memo telling all of their examiner's and enforcement people to start enforcing the laws. He said that the state will soon begin a program where they will match RV registrations with the owner's driver's license to determine if the owner possesses the correct license. He wouldn't tell me what the penalty would be if an owner didn't have the correct liscense, nor did he say they would give the owner a designated time to obtain the correct liscense.
The information in the Driver's manual is very limited on RVs and the Commercial Driver's manual has even less, other than information on air brakes.
The skills and driving test are the same that an appplicant for a Commercial Driver's license takes. There were a couple of quirky things about the tests that is not in any book and if interested let me know and I'll be glad to share them with you.
I hope this helps some of my fellow travelers. We spend enough money in this lifestyle without giving any more to the state in fines !!!!1
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:39 PM   #2
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About a month ago while reading a motor home magazine I saw a list of states and their specific requirements for driver's license for motor homes. I live in SC and bought my Class A motor home about a year ago and never knew until I read the article that SC requires a special license. Here is the SC law. To drive an automobile you need a Class D license. To operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs gross vehicle weight, you must obtain a Class E license. To operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs and tow a trailer or vehicle, you must obtain a Class F license.

Some out there may have already known this, I didn't. Yesterday I passed the driving skills and road test and obtained my Class F license. I had previously passed the written part of the test and recieved my "Learner's permit". The only problem with the learner's permit is I could not find anyone with a Class F license to ride with me when I practiced driving my RV during that time. Nor could I find a person to go with me to the DMV yesterday to take my test at the North Augusta DMV. I love living on the edge!! Oh, by the way, you have to go to specifically designated DMVs in SC to take the RV skills and road test. Written test can be taken at any SC DMV. When I finished and passed I told the examiner that I was a little apprehensive about driving my MH into the DMV without a license. I told him I had looked and couldn't find a co-driver.
The examiner told me he wasn't suprised as he had been an examiner for the state of SC for 18 yrs and I was his first ever RV skills and road test.
And here is the main reason I wanted to post this information for all SC motor home owners that fall in the above catagories. The examiner told me that the SC DMV had recently sent out a memo telling all of their examiner's and enforcement people to start enforcing the laws. He said that the state will soon begin a program where they will match RV registrations with the owner's driver's license to determine if the owner possesses the correct license. He wouldn't tell me what the penalty would be if an owner didn't have the correct liscense, nor did he say they would give the owner a designated time to obtain the correct liscense.
The information in the Driver's manual is very limited on RVs and the Commercial Driver's manual has even less, other than information on air brakes.
The skills and driving test are the same that an appplicant for a Commercial Driver's license takes. There were a couple of quirky things about the tests that is not in any book and if interested let me know and I'll be glad to share them with you.
I hope this helps some of my fellow travelers. We spend enough money in this lifestyle without giving any more to the state in fines !!!!1
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
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NCTom.
You would be surprised at how many states have the same or similar laws. Texas is one of them. GVW over 26,000 pounds and it's a Class A or CDL.

If it is a trailer and the trailer weighs over 10,000 pounds a Class B, or CDL.

Everyone needs to check their state regulations. If you are legal in your state, you are legal in all other states.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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The back of the SC class D drivers license (regular drivers class) has the following statement: Vehicles not exceeding 26,000 lbs, GVW, except motorcycles.

The State Patrol will have a field day in the Myrtle Beach area with the number of large campgrounds and RV's going and coming.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:53 PM   #5
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The sad part of this discussion is that after obtaining the proper license, you really haven't accomplished anything. Sure, it is nice to know some of the stuff on the CDL test. But is it really useful when driving your RV? Are you a better RV driver because if it? Are the other drivers on the road safer as a result of your being correctly licensed? I'd wager that the best that any one can answer is "very little."

So, like my vehicle inspection (which is almost always an absolute joke here), the special license turns out to be just another "sin tax" to pay for very limited benefit to anyone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate of driving with an improper license. I'd just like to think that there should be some value in obtaining one, not just going through the motions of doing so to satisfy the requirement.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:11 PM   #6
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Just a note to everyone -- I live in Georgia and the similiar language about the weight and trailer requirements is in the DMV law and it talks about having to obtain a class A or B non-commercial drivers license in addition to the class C which allows you to drive a car. At first you think you need the additional license due to the weight of the MH if it exceeds 26,000 lbs and it not being a commercial vehicle or you are towing a trailer in excess of 10,000 lbs (a large 5th wheel I suspect is over 10,000 lbs). When you go to the specific requirements for the Class A and Class B, it specifically excludes recreational vehicle operators from the need for the additional license --- the quote is (from page 4) "Please note that operators of recreational vehicles are not required to obtain a commercial driver's license or a Class A or B non-commercial license if the vehicle is a self-propelled or towed vehicle equipped to serve as temporary living quarters for recreational camping or travel purposes and is used solely as a family personal conveyance." Without this exclusion, one in Georgia would have to get a class A or B non-commercial license if the weight is over 26,000 lbs or the trailer is over 10,000 lbs.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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Florida also specifically exempts private recreational vehilces from its 26,000 lb and over license class. Glad I don't live in SC!
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:08 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Wayne M:
NCTom.
You would be surprised at how many states have the same or similar laws. Texas is one of them. GVW over 26,000 pounds and it's a Class A or CDL.

If it is a trailer and the trailer weighs over 10,000 pounds a Class B, or CDL.

Everyone needs to check their state regulations. If you are legal in your state, you are legal in all other states. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, you have those reversed. If the RV is over 26,000, you need a Class B. If you're towing a trailer that's over 10,000, you need a Class A. And it's not "or CDL". It can be a Class B CDL (which I have), or a Class B non-CDL. A CDL that's not an A or B (as appropriate) does you no good.

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Old 09-06-2008, 04:37 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roamer:
Florida also specifically exempts private recreational vehilces from its 26,000 lb and over license class. Glad I don't live in SC! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Yup - if you can afford it and mostly see over the dash, you can legally drive it

Plus no state vehicle inspections

These are two of several reasons why we are still officially Florida residents even though we have a place in Texas.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:29 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by David K:
"Please note that operators of recreational vehicles are not required to obtain a commercial driver's license or a Class A or B non-commercial license if the vehicle is a self-propelled or towed vehicle equipped to serve as temporary living quarters for recreational camping or travel purposes and is used solely as a family personal conveyance." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Same for TN (as well as many other states). This is one of the reasons we (legally) titled and tagged our Eagle highway coach (bus) as a motorhome. Many folks only read part of this rule and never catch the "exception". This is why you will often see posts where one poster is having a hissy fit over another poster who drives a large RV (usually a conversion) on a regular Driver's license and not a CDL. This does not apply to all states and you must make sure you are legal in your home state.
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:05 PM   #11
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FlyingDiver,
Actually some of the "wordology" has changed since I received my Texas Class AM CDL and the new statement in the TDL for CDL is as you stated.

However, for a Recreational Vehicle it states:
Quote:
Who is exempt from a CDL? (Certification form CDL-2required)
......
4. A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use. Unquote.


HERE IS THE CDL-2 FORM
======================
Chasfm11,
I tend to disagree with the test not being beneficial. I think that it will vary by state and what each state has as it's test. I learned quite a bit from the TEXAS CDL TEST, and frequently go back to review. Wow, talk about a check list - we should all follow what is in that book.
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I tend to disagree with the test not being beneficial. I think that it will vary by state and what each state has as it's test </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I agree with you, Wayne, that the CDL Handbook has some good information. That, however, was not my point.

The failure of the test, IMHO, is similar to the failure of our education systems testing today. We've lost sight of the goals. Why study history? To learn from it. A test should help us determine where we have learned from historical events, not just that we can repeat facts about those events. Why study driving, specifically driving relate to the heaviest MHs on the market (or some of the heaviest trailers?) To learn AND RETAIN the most important aspects of handling them.

In the TEXAS CDL Handbook
- there is no mention of automatic slack adjusters. In some cases, MHs are not braked hard enough to exercise them and a routine needs to be performed to correct that.
- there is no mention of ABS yet I'd venture to say that a significant percentage of the heaviest MHs on the road today are so equipped. The panic braking technique with an ABS system is different than the one described.
- the handbook discusses "retarders". Many of the today's heavy coaches have two stage exhaust brakes or engine compression ("Jake") brakes. The relative power of those is different and should be understood by the driver.

Those are simply a few examples. I'd wager that 90% of the RVs who are forced to take the extra tests have retained littler or nothing about the test contents 3 months later. This is because the most important points to be retained about RVs are obfuscated by the heavy dose of commerical trunk information.

We call could benefit from periodically re-reading the standard driver's license handbook for passenger cars. There is always some limited benefit in revisiting driving information. If the purpose, however, is to improve the overall quality of the heavy MH driver, the information and testing falls so far short of that goal that it is not worth the investment, IMHO. Those, like you and I, who are interested in improving our driving skills and safety behind the wheels of our RVs will do so anyway.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:41 AM   #13
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What we see as a set of instructions for driving any type of vehicle is only the tip on the iceberg, for sure.

In the Texas CDL handbook, all three items you mentioned are listed. Although it is not called "Automatic" there is a good section on slack adjusters, also on ABS, and also on Retarders. Granted, technology changes and it may be better to research a specific set of instructions for the type of vehicle that a person drives.

The one thing that is missing from the equation is experience. Although I have pulled many a trailer, I have not driven a MH except from the dealer to the house and I am looking forward to the first trip out. (Just got the 39W) But all in all, the difference is that I have an overall shorter vehicle then when I was pulling a trailer and the one thing that I was concerned about was tail swing. That 12 to 14 feet of length after the rear tires can jump up and bite a person. (or another vehicle, lamp post, etc.,) I would not drive something for the first time without having someone qualified with me and the person that accompanied me home said I did fine (What does he know, right?)

I would encourage anyone who is buying a motor home, or trailer, for the first time to get assistance, even instructions, before they venture out on their own.

Very unfortunately, Texas RV'ers are not required to take a test. Their Class C license with a CDL-2 form is sufficient. (Things do change) There is so much information to be gained from reading the manual for each type of license. Retaining it is another story and as stated, should be reviewed from time-to-time.

Thanks.

Is there a thread on driving safety tips?
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:11 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Wayne M:
What we see as a set of instructions for driving

Very unfortunately, Texas RV'ers are not required to take a test. Their Class C license with a CDL-2 form is sufficient. (Things do change) There is so much information to be gained from reading the manual for each type of license. Retaining it is another story and as stated, should be reviewed from time-to-time.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not true. The form is an exemption from needing a Texas CDL, not from needing to take both a written and driving test, if you own a RV in Texas which weighs over 26,000 lbs, which requires a Class B license or tow a trailer over 10,000 lbs which requires a Class A license.

Also if you have air brakes, you'll have to take a written test and also demonstate your knowledge of the air brake system and if you take the driving test in a commerical vehicle you can't get a non-CDL license.

IMO the test is geared too much toward a commerical vehicle, instead of a RV.

Sue
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