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Old 10-10-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
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South Carolina over 26000 lb. Driverís License

In South Carolina a Class F driver’s license is required to operate a motorhome weighing more than 26,000 lbs., and I have just obtained that license. This post may be a little long, but I have discovered some very disturbing facts about this process.

Here is a quote from the South Carolina Driver’s Manual.
“If you plan to operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs. GVW, you must obtain a Class E license. If you operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs. and tow a trailer or other vehicle, you must have a Class F license.”

The disturbing part is the term “GVW.” I can’t find a definition of that term on the internet.But hidden deep in the bowls the SCDMV web site is.

“Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW):The empty weight of a vehicle plus the weight of its load in addition to the empty weight of a towed unit and its load weight.”

Well you can imagine weighing your unloaded MH and Toad to see if the weight of your unloaded rig requires the Class F license or not.

But that isn’t what DMV uses to make that determination. They read the nameplate in the motorhome and obtain the information they define as:

“Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR):The weight or value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single or combination vehicles. The gross vehicle weight rating of a combination vehicle (commonly referred to as the “gross combination weight rating) is the gross vehicle rating of the power unit plus the gross vehicle weight rating of a towed unit.”

But note that they say that term is commonly referred to “gross combined weight rating and normally that is referred to as “GCWR.”

In any event, they do not use the actual weight of the rig, but its combined load rating. That means that you can’t reduce the actual load in the rig to satisfy the less than 26,000 lb. requirement for the test.

The real problem is when you discover you need the Class F license because of your rig’s weight rating (not actual weight). You can’t even drive it to the DMV to take the proper test and make your license legal for your rig unless you have a beginner’s license by passing the written exam and have a person with a class F license in the front seat beside you with a year or more experience. A real catch 22.

I was real lucky; I am trading in a 2000 Kountry Star with a GCWR rating of 26,000 lbs. on a 2007 Koiuntry Star which has a CGWR of 42,000 lbs. I was able to get the license with the old Kountry Star before the actual trade for the new Kountry Star took place – it will take place Monday. I could not have done that if the trade had been completed.

Be careful and keep a very unpleasant event from happening. If you are charged with not having the proper driver’s license. The penalty is severe.

With a little study, the written test is very easy. The skill test (road test) is much harder and includes a 45 minute drive with many different maneuvers required. My written test took about 10 minutes. My skill test took about two hours.

Good Luck!
Wil
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:26 PM   #2
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I have my f license as well. F is needed if you tow a toad. And you need to tow it on your road exam. Easy written test and road test wasn't difficult.
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
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No special license or test required in next-door Georgia! :-)
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:53 PM   #4
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South Carolina over 26000 lb. Driverís License

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha99 View Post
No special license or test required in next-door Georgia! :-)

My bet is he does not move to GA. 😉
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:07 PM   #5
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I'm glad states are finally requiring MH drivers to prove they can handle those Class A beasts. Still, in my state, there are no requirements at all. For any RV. Scary.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:07 PM   #6
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South Carolina over 26000 lb. Driverís License

Wil, I think the real problem for the State, and for present and future SC drivers, is that the manual section was written by someone with little understanding of vehicle weights, and a very poor understanding of the English language.

My reading of your quotes is that the manual requirement for a Class F license may vary from one day to the next, depending on the weight of the vehicle on that day. And their definition appears to contradict their own manual.

But the real problem is that any lawyer will have a field day here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wil01 View Post
.....Here is a quote from the South Carolina Driverís Manual.

"If you plan to operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs. GVW, you must obtain a Class E license......
So, if you're planning to buy and operate next month or next year, or five years from now, a MH that may have a GVW of more than 26000 lbs at any time during its operation, you must get a Class E license before you may continue considering such a plan.

... Continuing from the SC manual..
Quote:
Originally Posted by wil01 View Post
.......If you operate a motor home that weighs more than 26,000 lbs. and tow a trailer or other vehicle, you must have a Class F license.Ē .....
But if you hook up a trailer or toad, you need the Class F license only for that period of time that you operate the MH at an actual weight greater than 26000 lbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wil01 View Post
....The disturbing part is the term ďGVW.Ē I canít find a definition of that term on the internet. But hidden deep in the bowls of the SCDMV :

"Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW):The empty weight of a vehicle plus the weight of its load in addition to the empty weight of a towed unit and its load weight.Ē

But that isnít what DMV uses to make that determination. ....They read the nameplate... "Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR):The weight or value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single or combination vehicles. The gross vehicle weight rating of a combination vehicle (commonly referred to as the ďgross combination weight rating) is the gross vehicle rating of the power unit plus the gross vehicle weight rating of a towed unit.Ē........,..
So basically they say they are going by actual gross weight (which is impractical, unenforceable, and stupid), and then they actually go by a sort of bastardized mix of the official GVWR and the GCWR.

The SC DMV needs to 1) rewrite these regs before some lawyer gets hold of them, 2) send their staff to remedial English class.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:23 PM   #7
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South Carolina over 26000 lb. Driverís License

So I guess get a Class F and be done. End of story? Unless somebody has a plan to fight it...and win!
I got a PA Class B (over 26,000) and all is fine. I studied the CDL manual, and recommend it to all. I will be safer now, with all 37K lbs. I can make a button-hook turn. You?
Do whatcha gotta do, folks.
Happy trails!
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V3600 View Post
I'm glad states are finally requiring MH drivers to prove they can handle those Class A beasts........

V3600, I generally agree with you, but not the beast part. They're just vehicles, and can be learned. A Class A is no more a beast than a big 5er towed by a p/u.

But...... If a state is going to closely regulate this licensing, they have to make the rules clear and understandable and unmistakeable.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:42 PM   #9
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I think its a great idea, should be required to tow a trailer greater than 10kGVW too. To many people have no clue how to drive a Kia let alone a MOHO or tow anything
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:54 AM   #10
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Updated SCDMV Testing Sites and Scheduling Info

I just checked the SCDMVonline.com website and learned they have changed the locations available to take the Class E (26,000 lb GVWR) and Class F (26,000 lb GVWR + towing) skills test. There is also an online scheduler to set up appointments. Note that some sites do Class E but not Class F. I don't know exactly when these changes occurred, but I think recently in 2015.

Here's also the presentation in the attached PDF about what constitutes the various commercial and non-commercial classifications in South Carolina, and the skills test locations.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SCDMV_SkillsTestSiteChanges_2015.pdf (938.3 KB, 107 views)
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:45 PM   #11
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It's not needed in Louisiana but that is why I kept my Class A CDL.
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:20 PM   #12
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In a way, it's good that you need some license for a motorhome... In QC with my standard car license I can drive a 50000lbs Prevost or even a KW T2000
I'm not sure I would do everything correctly driving beasts like that...
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:31 PM   #13
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I was fortunate to have had a job, post-retirement from my Boeing career, as a transit coach operator for our county authority. The training was thorough. but was mainly slanted to learning the routes. Actually learning the techniques required to drive 40' rigs in city rush-hour traffic was fairly short.

We got our 32' footer a couple of months after I got my CDL and it was a lot easier than the buses.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:31 PM   #14
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License ??

Why all the hub bub about a license... just another bad law to collect more tax dollars and not actually do any real improvement to what someone supposed the original problem to be.

I would rather see real statistics that would prove a significant cause of rv accidents due to inexperience or at least indication that such a license would actually show a difference in the level of such accidents.

This of course precludes the cause of an accident being general stupidity and poor driving techniques.
No amount of great driving will prevent another driver from crashing in to you.
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