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Old 04-03-2016, 09:31 PM   #1
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Class B License in Texas

As I understand it, if you domicile in Texas and have a large Class A MH, you are required to get a Class B CDL? What does this entail? How hard is it to get? Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:44 PM   #2
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Yes, it is by the GVWR of your vehicle (I think it is 26,001).

Not that hard to get, but you will see many threads on this forum about "shopping for a DMV". Some will try to get you to take the full commercial test, when really you need the noncommercial class B. I hear Marble Falls is good. In Floresville (where I took mine) I understand they make you take an Air Brake test which may or may not be required (I took the firefighter's class B so exempt from air brakes).

So go to your local DMV and tell them you are trying to get a non commercial class B for motorhome and ask them which portions of the book to study (should only be one chapter, but they may require the air brake chapter). The information you need to pass the written test is not at all RV related (mostly agriculture and some bus information) and pretty esoteric (what height above the ground do the tail lights on a pole vehicle have to be?), but if you concentrate on the sections they tell you you shouldn't have much trouble.

On the driving test, make sure you make exaggerated head motions at each intersection to make sure the examiner sees you looking both ways. If you hit a curb on a corner then it is an automatic fail. Know your vehicle, if you have to hunt around for controls they may hold that against you. And they may make you parallel park (mine was a no cones parallel park, just get close to the curb).

Also, if they do require an air brakes test you can get a checklist and watch a youtube video. There are a number of steps you must execute in a certain order.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:57 PM   #3
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Dunno about class B but a Class A is a pain now because you have to get a medical card. Over the last 6 months i have had 2 employees lose there license because of health issues from the past.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:03 PM   #4
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NOTE: Individuals who are exempt from obtaining a CDL may still be required to obtain a Class A or Class B driver license if the type of vehicle driven meets the definition of a commercial motor vehicle.
Individuals who are exempt from obtaining a CDL but may need a Class A or Class B driver license are:
  • Operators of recreational vehicles driven for personal use (more than 26,001 GVWR)
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:18 PM   #5
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I got my class b about a year ago and wife got hers last month. Anything over 26,000 lbs and towing less than 10,000 lbs needs a class b NON commercial, in Texas. You can study on line and get sample questions. Read all of the commercial sections because half of the people giving you the test has no idea what you actually need. I had to go thru the brake test. When my wife took her test the girl said she didn't have to. She shot her mouth off and said I did so the tester said she could do it if she wanted...so she did. No parallel parking but both of us had to back up next to a curb. The rest is just like a regular driving test. Both testers told us however "Hop a curb...drive back because that was an automatic fail". It's no problem once you get to the actual driving test. The confusion with the appropriate test is mind boggling though. Good luck.

This has been hashed and re-hashed in this forum so just do a search for class b and you'll have enough reading to equal "War and Peace".


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Old 04-04-2016, 12:22 AM   #6
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Yes, you'll need a Class B license. Some refer to it as a "non-commercial CDL", but that's rather contradictory. The woman we dealt with at the Livingston DPS two years ago explained that if the license is issued based on a test in a non-commercial vehicle, then it's not a CDL of any sort, just a plain old Class B.

Anyway, you'll need to study up on Chapter 14 of the CDL training manual to prep for the written test. Lot of stuff in there about farm vehicles and other stuff that seems irrelevant to driving a coach, but it's not a long test, and it's not very hard, so just go with the flow and do it.

My advice to you, since your profile indicates you're in southern LA, would be to drive to Livingston and stay at the Escapees park. The folks at the Livingston DPS deal with Escapees people and their motorhome licenses every day, and it's very routine for them. They even (at that time) ran all their tests on the same route, and had done for years.

You may be occupied for a while getting this done. If memory serves me, you must make an appointment for the road test-- which may involve a delay of several days or more-- and you are not allowed to make the driving appointment until you have taken and passed the written test. When we went there we spent three weeks in Livingston, but we were moving our domicile at that time so we had a lot of items on the list other than the DL, and we were in no kind of hurry.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digz View Post
Individuals who are exempt from obtaining a CDL but may need a Class A or Class B driver license are:
  • Operators of recreational vehicles driven for personal use (more than 26,001 GVWR)
VERY small point but as others have said, "More than 26,000 lbs". You might see that one on the written.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wego2gthr View Post
As I understand it, if you domicile in Texas and have a large Class A MH, you are required to get a Class B CDL? What does this entail? How hard is it to get? Thanks in advance for any feedback.
It's a Class B license, but it is NOT a CDL.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:21 AM   #9
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My advice after both of us got our Class B, TRY to get your wife to drive, good luck....
1 year not 1 mile.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
It's a Class B license, but it is NOT a CDL.
It's not supposed to be a CDL and I specifically told the DPS office that I wanted a Class B operators license, not a CDL. Went through the whole procedure and when I got it in the mail it was an Commercial DL with a "P" restriction which says "If CMV, only transport personal property".

The problem is there are no clear cut rules for issuing licenses strictly for motor homes 26,001 lbs and over. A lot of the DL offices don't have the experience with RV licensing that it takes to do it right.

As other posts have said, exaggerate your head turns at stop signs, etc. That was the only thing I got dinged for on one stop. I looked, but the examiner didn't see that big head turn. Also, do practice parallel parking. Some examiners will make you do that, but normally it's just starting a lane width away from a curb and backing to it in a parked position with right wheels parallel to the curb and no more than 18" away. It's not difficult if you turn your right mirror down where you can see the rear wheel. I had 100' to do it and you can pull forward one time. Also, be proficient in the air brake test procedure as you may be questioned on it and have to perform a test before the exam.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
It's not supposed to be a CDL and I specifically told the DPS office that I wanted a Class B operators license, not a CDL. Went through the whole procedure and when I got it in the mail it was an Commercial DL with a "P" restriction which says "If CMV, only transport personal property".

The problem is there are no clear cut rules for issuing licenses strictly for motor homes 26,001 lbs and over. A lot of the DL offices don't have the experience with RV licensing that it takes to do it right.

As other posts have said, exaggerate your head turns at stop signs, etc. That was the only thing I got dinged for on one stop. I looked, but the examiner didn't see that big head turn. Also, do practice parallel parking. Some examiners will make you do that, but normally it's just starting a lane width away from a curb and backing to it in a parallel parked position with right wheels parallel to the curb and no more than 18" away. It's not difficult if you turn your right mirror down where you can see the rear wheel. I had 100' to do it and you can pull forward one time. Also, be proficient in the air brake test procedure as you may be questioned on it and have to perform a test before the exam.
Regarding air brakes, I understand that some examiners make you test the air brakes for their own safety and will talk you through it. Others consider it part of the test.

When I went to renew my class b license I checked both fire truck and motor home on the application. The clerk asked went I checked both and I said "because I drive a motor home now" and she said "then i will have to give you an air brake test". so in floresville at least one of the examiners thinks full air brake test is required.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
It's not supposed to be a CDL and I specifically told the DPS office that I wanted a Class B operators license, not a CDL. Went through the whole procedure and when I got it in the mail it was an Commercial DL with a "P" restriction which says "If CMV, only transport personal property".
That's just wrong. And bad for you because if you get stopped for any traffic infraction the fines are much worse for CDL holders.

I was able to convert my CDL B to a Class B (non-CDL) at the big DPS center near Houston. I highly recommend you do so.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:53 AM   #13
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I got a Texas Class A non CDL for pulling my previous 43' 5th wheel. When I bought the MADP, I called and asked if I needed to do anything for air brakes. They said "NO, air brakes is a restriction, not an endorsement. If the license you have doesn't have the restriction on it, then your good to go". My license doesn't have any restrictions. I can drive any size RV and tow as much weight as I want, yet I have never had to drive my DP for a test.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottybdivin View Post
I got a Texas Class A non CDL for pulling my previous 43' 5th wheel. When I bought the MADP, I called and asked if I needed to do anything for air brakes. They said "NO, air brakes is a restriction, not an endorsement. If the license you have doesn't have the restriction on it, then your good to go". My license doesn't have any restrictions. I can drive any size RV and tow as much weight as I want, yet I have never had to drive my DP for a test.
I'm curious... did you ever have to drive your truck and 5th wheel rig for the Class A test? ... or was it all just a written test?
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