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Old 05-15-2009, 04:35 PM   #1
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Out of State Purchase - New Driver's License requirement

I'm fortunate in Texas that our current RV requires only our normal driver's license to drive. I was reading on another forum where I guy bought a 45' DP in FL and he lives in CA. He wanted to know where he could go to get some training - in other than his on vehicle. As I understand it, there are RV driving schools but they require you to show up with your own RV. Hmmm.
Then, I realized that the driver's license (CA requires a different class license for longer than 40 feet) was also a problem and for the same reasons.

I guess there are two ways to handle it. Fly to FL, pick up the new RV and drive it back to CA, handling the license issue when you arrived. I judged that to be somewhat risky behavior.

The second way would require you to find someplace to rent a vehicle in the class required for the license to practice on and take your driving test before you go to FL to pick up your own. Don't get me wrong - I fear no written driving test because they are all basically CDL tests and I passed one of those without even studying. Taking a driving test in an unfamiliar vehicle, without experience in driving a vehicle of that size might give me pause. With 5 years and over 30K miles in a Class A, I would have no hesitation about jumping into a 45' one and taking a test but would want at least a little time to acclimate to it. I understand that the tag axle has to be lifted when backing but would want to be smooth about doing that and I would want to try it a couple of times before doing it for someone else. My biggest concern would be the pre-trip inspection. I know exactly where everything is on mine but I would have to mentally go through the checklist and make sure that I could locate all 50 items that some of the inspectors want to hear about. That might not be as easy as it sounds on an unfamiliar chassis. Things like the drains for the air tanks are almost always in a different place.

So, my question is: What WOULD be the best way to handle such a situation? No, I'm not faced with - I'm just curious and thought it might be a good discussion.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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As a Class B holder in Texas, we drove ours for a few months before we got the license upgrade. I guess that's what most people do to get practice in their unit.

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Old 05-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Barb. If I had an in-State purchase, I would have done exactly as you did. Perhaps I'm making too much of the fact that the subject of my post would have been driving the vehicle from FL to CA after the purchase. I wonder if the average LEO in some sort of a traffic stop would bother to examine the license classification requirements in a driver's home State to see if they are in compliance or not. I was recently stopped and the LEO made a statement about my driving a 30K lb vehicle (which ours isn't) though I clearly showed him a class C Texas license which shouldn't have been legal on that type of vehicle. Perhaps the only real exposure would come with an accident, particularly if the MH driver could be judged at fault. Then, having the wrong type of license could be a real problem.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:09 AM   #4
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Ah! Driving License regulations. I just surrendered my Class A CDL for a Class A, since I have no intention of driving commercially again. Here is an excerpt from the Texas DL manual.
========
CLASSIFIED DRIVER LICENSE (Texas Transportation Code, Section 521)

The following listed Class A, B, C, and M licenses will be issued to persons who are exempt from obtaining a Commercial Driver License or persons who are not required to obtain a Commercial Driver License:

1. Class A driver license permits a person to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds; including a vehicle included in Class B or Class C, except a motorcycle or moped.

2. Class B driver license permits a person to drive the following vehicles, except a motorcycle or moped:

a. 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;

b. a bus with a seating capacity of 24 passengers or more, including the driver; and

c. a vehicle included in Class C.
==================
My interpretation:

If your GCWR is 26001 pounds AND your trailer weighs more than 10000 pounds, you need a Class A.

If your single vehicle 26001 pounds and your trailer weighs less than 10000 pounds you need a Class B

If you weigh 26000 pounds you only need a Class C.

Did I get that right.

Chasfm11, Doesn't your Georgie Boy weigh in at around 22000 pounds? If so, and your TOAD is less than 4000 pounds, you only need a Class C in Texas, but watch how much cargo you carry, or how much you eat.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:44 PM   #5
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Wayne, if you will look back at my original post, I was not addressing my own RV situation but one that I had read about. It is possible, if I bought another RV, that it might be out of State but I don't have that plan in the works right now. You are correct - our current GBM has a GVW of 22K and travels around 19.5Klbs. As I said, I'm fine with our current Class C license.

I'm very aware of what the RV license requirements are in Texas. It was the possibility of having to deal with needing a Class B and purchasing out of State that prompted my question. I don't ever see myself driving an RV and towing something that weighted 10Klbs - so no Class A license in my future ever.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:03 PM   #6
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Charles,
Sorry for my confusion. You have a good question, and scenario. If one buys a new RV and the weight specifications are such that a license change is required, it could be quite a situation for the individual.

Living South of Houston, I called a couple licensing schools. They all would come to my location. The only prerequisite was to obtain a learners permit, which entails taking the written test. I surmise that a learners permit keeps it all legal while he teaches driving.

Regardless of ones type of motor home, fith wheel, or tt, I would strongly recommend everyone try to get a Class A license so to preclude what you have described as a possibility of happening. One never knows when one might just purchase a new Class A. (Hey, class A for a class A.) The information gained when taking the test is most beneficial for everyone. I tend to re-read the manual every couple years to just to freshen up on what I have forgotten.

Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
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An interesting suggestion, Wayne. When we first bought, I spoke with DPS, trying to find out what the regulations were. I called multiple times (I never trust one person to have the correct answer.) What I heard consistently was:
1. They will NOT issue a B or A license unless your rig requires it.
2. To get a B or A license, you have to show up for the test with a vehicle that meets those requirements. That would have put me in exactly the situation that I am asking the question about since our current RV isn't that heavy. For an A license, I guess that I would have had to produced a title for a trailer that weighed 10K pounds but I'm not absolutely sure about that. I suspect that there is no difference at all in the tests for B and A so I'm it might not really make much difference.

I originally thought it would be nice to have a B license in case I was ever called up to help someone else move a heavier coach. I had a request like that just before our purchase. I couldn't work out the logistics of that move (OR to TX) so I didn't help. In thinking back, that would be an exposure - driving someone's RV without the proper license (it was a 39 footer and I'm sure that it was more than 26K.)
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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I picked up my CDL in the early 80's. I was driving the company's 1 ton chevy with a 454 engine, and we towed a laboratory that weighed 14,000-16,000 pounds depending on how we had it loaded. It was a goose neck. At that time the Texas requriements were that if you were towing anything over 10,000 pounds you needed at least a Class B license. (Now the 1 ton did not weigh over 26,000 pounds, and the GCVW was still less than 26,000 pounds, but a Class B was "required." I sure wish I had kept that driving manual so I could point that out to someone. Anyhow, I opted for the Class A CDL, without Air Brakes since we didn't have them. There was absolutely no problem at the licensing station. I took the test in that vehicle and got a Class A CDL w/o Air. Two years later we were in the process of buying a Tractor that had Air and I had to get the "no air,' taken off the license. I rented a Ryder truck w/air, drove it to the DPS, (didn't get caught) took the written test and aced it. I didn't have to do the "walk around."

I was surprised to see that a class be is 26,001 pounds and a trailer less than 10,000 pounds. Times sure do change, and so do the laws and regulations. That is probably my main reason for re-reading the manual every couple years.

If everyone would read the CDL manual they would gain so much information. I can almost gaurantee that at some point through the manual the will say, "I didn't know that!" Or in Texas tongue, "Now, who woulda thought!"
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
If everyone would read the CDL manual they would gain so much information. I can almost gaurantee that at some point through the manual the will say, "I didn't know that!" Or in Texas tongue, "Now, who woulda thought!"
I don't disagree with your point that there is some valuable information in the CDL manual. The vast majority of it, IMHO, has little relevance to the safer driving of RVs. I also believe that the non CDL Class B driving test, as administered in Texas is a waste of time. Again, it isn't that there isn't some good material in it, it is that it doesn't come close to focusing on the real skills need to safely handle an RV. It is a watered down CDL test, plain and simple. When was the last time that someone needed to back an RV in to a loading dock in real life? It is very much like the TSA - where the screener gets beat with guns and knives in tests frequently but they faithfully find the little old lady's finger nail clippers every time.

Just call me cynical.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:10 PM   #10
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Talking

Just got my Class B in Maryland. Had and drove my RV for a couple of months, practiced backing in large parking lots. MD MVA gives you a very
comprehensive booklet on getting your RV Class B with a detailed RV pre-trip inspection check-off list. My inspector was an RV owner so things went better than expected. Pre-trip was easy as long as you could ID the windshield, tires, highlights, mirrors, and operated the blinkers.
I have a tag on mine but didn't bother to lift it for the backing either the straight line or off set to the right. Hardest part was coordinating my friend's (Class A holder) with my work schedule. First thing the inspector asked for was his Class A license. The whole inspection took about half the time I spent in line getting the hard copy license.
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