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Old 03-23-2016, 03:53 PM   #1
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Avoid Fort Worth Class B Licensing Road Testers At All Costs

I wouldn't have believed this, if I hadn't witnessed it with my own eyes.

After a pleasant Class B experience in Granbury, I urged a fellow pilot who is a retired dentist with 40 years of RV'ing under his belt to go ahead and upgrade his license. A friendly cop who'd pulled him over for exceeding combo length gave him the same advice, after agreeing not to cite him for driving his Newmar Essex on a Class C Texas license.

To be absolutely proper, I accompanied him to the testing facility, today.

The "facility" is an old maintenance lot on the run-down southside, a stone's throw from busy I-35W. He wanted me to be seen driving into the lot, and I politely refused. It is a narrow gated entryway off a busy 2-lane access road. The left lane has a tall retaining all marking its outboard boundary. At the very least, I'd jump the curb; and, at worst, I'd scrape his rig.

Like every other vehicle we saw today, he jumped the curb.

The "facility" consists of a spartan metal building with a place for examiners to do paperwork. Escorts, passengers and waiting driver candidates must wait in a 3-sided open equipment shed, shielded only from the sun and rain.

Exiting the lot, he jumped the curb. It was either that, or smash into the retaining wall blocking his view, on the other side of the lanes.

He did well, until the examiner faced him west on Rosedale Street adjacent Texas Wesleyan University, told him to occupy the right lane, and forced him into a recently-built "traffic calming" roundabout.

Anyone who drives a 45 footer knows that bumping the curb is unavoidable, unless you cross lanes, in a small-radius traffic circle. He touched the curb, and she declared the ride a failure.

Afterward, we returned to the roundabout and shot video of him re-attempting to negotiate it. Frankly, I couldn't have done a better job. And, you'll hear him remark that he climbed atop the curb even worse than he did during his test.

Watch the video, and see for yourself. At the end, you'll hear me begin to suggest that the only way to thread his bus through the roundabout will be to "cheat" by intruding into the left lane. Any other way is physically impossible. Tomorrow, we'll learn whether or not waiting and swing across both lanes is allowed. At the low, low cost of another day, another 60 miles on his rig.

I'd suggest for now that Fort Worth area RV'ers who want to "do the right thing" by upgrading their licenses avoid Fort Worth at all costs.

[NOTE: If the video below fails to play on your computer, you can view it here.
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:07 PM   #2
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how far away is the other option?
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:18 PM   #3
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Driving Distance to Fort Worth Alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by dexters View Post
how far away is the other option?
I haven't researched this personally, but he was told that the other exam site is Waco, about an hour south of Fort Worth.

Here are two Google Earth views of this testing site.
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:24 PM   #4
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Did the examiner say that he should have stayed in his lane and not touch the curb? As we all know, that's often impossible. It might have been *more* acceptable to straddle lanes (after checking traffic) - but it's up to the examiner.

I can tell you that hauling more than 45' of 5th wheel, that's what I did more than once - after being very obvious about clearing the traffic.

What written tests needed to be taken for the Class-B? I can tell from taking the Class-A that different offices demand different written tests, so thinking that I was done with testing at one office resulted in additional written tests at another. Escalating to DPS several times and citing their own (limited) written policies did no good. As near as I can tell DPS allows offices to do what they want for non-commercial Class-A and Class-B.

My advice is find one of the two "standard" offices in the state of TX where everyone goes for these tests and go there... Yup, you may burn more than a day making that trip, but it seems like the only way to get it done in Texas.

Someone needs to make a big stink about test standardization for non-commercial Class-A/Class-B in Texas... I took 3 different written tests at more than 2 different offices, across 3 different days to get the darn license.. It's an exercise in frustration.
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:45 PM   #5
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Good Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by cb1000rider View Post
Did the examiner say that he should have stayed in his lane and not touch the curb? As we all know, that's often impossible. It might have been *more* acceptable to straddle lanes (after checking traffic) - but it's up to the examiner.

I can tell you that hauling more than 45' of 5th wheel, that's what I did more than once - after being very obvious about clearing the traffic.

What written tests needed to be taken for the Class-B? I can tell from taking the Class-A that different offices demand different written tests, so thinking that I was done with testing at one office resulted in additional written tests at another. Escalating to DPS several times and citing their own (limited) written policies did no good. As near as I can tell DPS allows offices to do what they want for non-commercial Class-A and Class-B.

My advice is find one of the two "standard" offices in the state of TX where everyone goes for these tests and go there... Yup, you may burn more than a day making that trip, but it seems like the only way to get it done in Texas.

Someone needs to make a big stink about test standardization for non-commercial Class-A/Class-B in Texas... I took 3 different written tests at more than 2 different offices, across 3 different days to get the darn license.. It's an exercise in frustration.
Further, some offices waive the driving portion!

I mean, my examiner even admitted that they realize we're often there just as matter of conscience. Her whole attitude was one of a safety officer: "Let me show you the inspections we'd like you to make, pre-trip, and give you driving pointers." Had it been lunchtime, I'd have offered to take her to BBQ, and I think she might've enjoyed the break.

I agree that the trick to this ridiculous and unnecessary puzzle is to visually clear to the left, and swing briefly into the left lane. It's 100% legal; but, then, so is mounting a curb
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:02 PM   #6
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Looks like entering and leaving the compound making left turns would let you not need to jump the curb.
I'd use some of the left lane in the traffic circle...
But maybe I don't have it right, either...
Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:32 PM   #7
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REPOST

There were minor editing problems, seen after 60 minutes.


I wouldn't have believed this, if I hadn't witnessed it with my own eyes.

After a pleasant Class B experience in Granbury, I urged a fellow pilot who is a retired dentist with 40 years of RV'ing under his belt to go ahead and upgrade his license. A friendly cop who'd pulled him over for exceeding combo length gave him the same advice, after agreeing not to cite him for driving his Newmar Essex on a Class C Texas license.

To be absolutely proper, I accompanied him to the testing facility, today.

The "facility" is an old maintenance lot on the run-down southside, a stone's throw from busy I-35W. He wanted me to be seen driving into the lot, and I politely refused. It is a narrow gated entryway off a busy 2-lane access road. The left lane has a tall retaining wall marking its outboard boundary. At the very least, I'd jump the curb; and, at worst, I'd scrape his rig.

Like every other vehicle we saw today, he jumped the curb during entry into the lot.

The testing facility consists of a spartan metal building with a place for examiners to do paperwork. Escorts, passengers and driver candidates must wait in a 3-sided open equipment shed, shielded only from the sun and rain.

Exiting the lot with the examiner, he again jumped the curb. It was either that, or smash into the retaining wall blocking his way, on the other side of the lanes.

He did well during the test, until the examiner faced him west on Rosedale Street adjacent Texas Wesleyan University, told him to occupy the right lane, and forced him into a recently-built "traffic calming" roundabout.

Anyone who drives a 45 footer knows that bumping the curb is unavoidable, unless you cross lanes, in a small-radius traffic circle. He touched the curb, and she declared the ride a failure.

Afterward, we returned to the roundabout and shot video of him re-attempting to negotiate it. Frankly, I couldn't have done a better job. And, you'll hear him remark that he climbed atop the curb even worse than he had done during his test.

Watch the video, and see for yourself. At the end, you'll hear me begin to suggest that the only way to thread his bus through the roundabout will be to "cheat" by intruding into the left lane. Any other way is physically impossible. Tomorrow, we'll learn whether or not waiting and swinging across both lanes is allowed. At the low, low cost of another day, another 60 miles on his rig.

I'd suggest for now that Fort Worth area RV'ers who want to "do the right thing" by upgrading their licenses avoid Fort Worth at all costs.

[NOTE: If the video below fails to play on your computer, you can view it here.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNeophytes2 View Post
I agree that the trick to this ridiculous and unnecessary puzzle is to visually clear to the left, and swing briefly into the left lane. It's 100% legal; but, then, so is mounting a curb
Agree.. that's actually what is taught in the coursework, even if it means crossing into the other lane. There appeared to be no other traffic and the text maneuver is to use part of that other lane... It's counter-intuitive that it's less safe to touch the curb.

The question in my mind:
Was that an automatic failure? Or was it a point deduction in combination with other things that resulted in a failing grade...
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:07 PM   #9
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If he wants to stay in the Fort Worth area, I recommend the DPS office in Hurst. I took mine there as they do a ton of commercial truck tests. You have to make an appointment and they do run a full equipment and air brake check before the exam. None of the maneuvers or turns the examiner had me do were out of the ordinary. There was a 100' straight backing test and a parallel parking test. The parallel parking was pretty easy just backing in to where the right wheels are next to the curb, no poles or area marked off, just a block long curb. The trick I used was to aim the right mirror down where I could see the rear wheel and had no problems. They were very fair and professional.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:19 AM   #10
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Looks like he's NOT THE FIRST ONE to hit that curb. Look at it in the video it's really black. It almost seems like the examiner is using this traffic circle as a way to ENSURE that he fails the road test.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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Before taking a second test have your friend pick up a copy of a CDL training manual. Take a look at the section covering licensing for commercial and school bus drivers. In the one I have it makes reference how to avoid hitting or jumping the curb when negotiating tight corners. It mentions it's an acceptable practice to cross into the oncoming lane of traffic after making sure the lane is clear. While jumping the curb is not illegal as far as I know the preferred method to negotiate a tight corner is to cross into the oncoming lane of traffic.

The licensing examiner may not have practical experience driving either a bus or motorhome, but rather is relying on information supplied in the training manuals.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:04 AM   #12
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Good Question

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Was that an automatic failure? Or was it a point deduction in combination with other things that resulted in a failing grade...
Good point. In the aviation business, that is usually my conclusion, when I hear "one strike you're out" checkride busts described.

The examiner was a young woman who struck me as a little intimidated from the start. She couldn't establish eye contact with my buddy, during rescheduling.

Juxtaposed against the fact that his driving experience dwarfs mine (I hold a Class B), and his near obsessive attention to details and precision -- we like that in dentists and pilots -- I'll go out on a limb and guess that she was told by a supervisor/trainer that a curb bump is a bust, no matter what. He swears the rest of the ride was golden, and I believe him.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:09 AM   #13
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Money in the Bank

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Originally Posted by D Lindy View Post
Looks like he's NOT THE FIRST ONE to hit that curb. Look at it in the video it's really black. It almost seems like the examiner is using this traffic circle as a way to ENSURE that he fails the road test.
You're onto something that might help us all: If you refuse to drive through a stretch of roadway that you consider unsuitable for your rig, is that in itself a bust-worthy offense?

A slippery slope, I know. But, if an examiner instructs you to cross railroad tracks whose crown will cause a bottom strike, you're expected to refuse. Likewise, I won't take my Beaver down a residential street with low-hanging trees.

Acting in the name of safety should be impossible to log as a reason for failure, for an examiner.

I made a little cardboard model of the intersection for his test today, so he can have the opportunity to let the examiner explain how to pull this off. Photo below. As everyone can see, the bus penetrates fore and aft into the left lane, while touching the curb at the same time.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:09 AM   #14
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Curb hit is auto fail (also when parallel parking or any other maneuver). Have him take it again somewhere else or go to the same place and use both lanes (just remember to use left blinker when entering the inside lane of the traffic circle).
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