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Old 04-30-2014, 09:27 PM   #43
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Something must be done about our Texas DPS.
I recommend complaining to the DPS and Governor, as the incompetence and lack of training is completely unacceptable.

I was on the phone today with Austin and Rosenberg for almost 2 hours and still received incorrect information.

First I was told just fill out some form and they will give me a class B - WRONG.

At the end of the call I was told to come in person after studying ONLY section 14 of the CDL manual, not sure if this is correct but I have studied section 14 and if any questions are outside this I will have a bit of a problem.

I was told the CDL-2 form is and is not required. The CDL-2 form specifically states exemption of COMMERCIAL vehicles which mine is NOT a commercial vehicle or commercially registered. I was told YES, then NO - NO ONE on the phone (5 people) were trained, yet they all pretended to know the answers which was embarrassing.

I was told I have to fill out CDL-2 and two other forms, but she was not sure which ones and take the written test.

After the written test I will have a LEARNERS PERMIT (yeah right...) and should "Practice driving around a while and schedule the driving test when I feel comfortable"


What does the driving test consist of?
Well that depends who you talk to!

There was no mention of safety gear, this is a CDL requirement yet it is obvious some examiners are mixing up CDL B and NON CDL B due to the states lack of training and oversight - imagine that.

In addition I was told my driving test WILL include parallel parking, which I argued was absurd, and asked if I can use my side and rear cameras? They stated the examiner will not be in the vehicle and do whatever I want "they will not know" - wow great advice!

I asked about the driving test, no details were provided - again they are just making stuff up.

I asked about air brake endorsement and was told repeatedly this is ONLY required in Texas on COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, and I will not take a written or driving test on AIR BRAKES. I again was told NO AIR BRAKE TEST, yet it is clear some persons are getting air brake tested on a NON COMMERCIAL B exam - this is ridiculous and inconsistent.

In conclusion, the DEALERSHIP needs to get their act together when selling these big rigs and the DPS needs a complete top to bottom overhaul by TRAINING, hiring more educated persons (year right) and removing the class B from the CDL manual!

This is an absurd waste of my time... I will post what happens tomorrow, I am just extremely frustrated dealing with incompetent people that should know these answers and test should be IDENTICAL EVERYWHERE in Texas or if not then what is the point?

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Old 05-01-2014, 09:28 AM   #44
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Non-CDL license vs TXDPS examiners

You are correct. In my brief, but enlightening, experience (with several DPS offices) obtaining the Non-Commercial Class B license I found a wide variation of knowledge and interpretation among the DPS employees I interacted with and the set of procedures involved.

The people had wrong information, or virtually no information. Some of them realized this and made numerous phone calls to their supervisors (located elsewhere) or referred me to senior people within their own office in an attempt to find out what to do. The ones they asked or referred to spoke with authority, as if they knew exactly what to do, but were usually in conflict with the advice of other DPS people giving advice or direction. And the printed material (manuals and study guides) were also conflicting.

The written test was short and mostly covered things that were completely irrelevant, as noted in several posts above.

I had received some good advice from folks on this forum and others (see the "Texas driver's license assistance" thread) and having dealt with gummint employees and exams from both USCG and FAA, among others, I endeavored to stay calm, not argue, and prepare well enough that I would not be blindsided by official incompetence or over-reach. It worked, although as a sort of ironic last event they shipped me a new Class A "learners" license but the drive test examiner wouldn't endorse the drive test for Class A because I didn't show up with an over 10,000 pound trailer in tow. So now they're issuing a new Class B ticket. We'll see what it actually says whenever it gets here.

MH dealers either know nothing at all about any of this or are sworn to secrecy.

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Old 05-01-2014, 01:26 PM   #45
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MH dealers are there to sell, if they told you that you would need a special license then they run the chance of losing out on the commission. In all 16 states the require a class B all the DMVs are confused except for PA. I must be asking too much that they should just have a license that's says RV instead of non-com class B. With materials that cover RVs and having people parallel park is just weird. Who actually does that really. Glad I live in a state that's doesn't require this non sense.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:16 AM   #46
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Just got my non-CDL B yesterday in Illinois. I live between two very busy towns, 20,000 in each. I took it at a little town a few miles away. Nice small country town. The people in there were super nice and very knowledgeable on motor homes. Did a light check and I had to back from the street into their parking lot to show I could back it up and then off on a drive all over town, through school zones, town square, and some highway. The people in the local offices in the bigger towns are pretty grumpy most of the time. I guess they have to deal with grumpy public most of the time. The small town is better around here.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:04 AM   #47
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As I have noted before, in Texas, for the class A or B non-CDL, go to the Livingston Texas office for testing and and information. They deal a lot with the issue due to the Escapees located there.

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Old 05-02-2014, 06:26 PM   #48
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What is the best smaller town near Dallas? I live in Dallas, but no way want to deal with the DPS attitudes they have in the DL testing offices. When I went back for my class c it was a horrible and bureaucratic mess.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:28 PM   #49
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UPDATE - I went to my local dealership to discuss Texas non commercial class B. I have come to the conclusion that almost NO ONE in Texas gets this endorsement for personal use RVs. Several salesman and even the sales manger with 24 years experience is ARGUING with me that CDL is for COMMERCIAL ONLY. YES this is correct, I am not talking about CDL CLASS B, I am talking about NON CDL CLASS B. The dealership was VERY argumentative that NO SPECIAL LICENSE WAS NEEDED - which of COURSE IS WRONG. Originally I thought well they just want to sell RVs and are playing dumb, now of course I realize they are not playing dumb - they just are dumb.

In Texas ANY Vehicle OVER 26,000lbs CAN NOT be legally driven on your class C license, no way no how - do people do it? Yes. You run the risk of a ticket or insurance problems if you have a major claim.

The process for a Texas NON CDL Class B is as follows:

1. You go to your local DPS center that does TESTING, fill out 3 forms... First is a profile form everyone fills out, second is a request to change your license class, third is a CDL-2 form - which specifically exempts you from the COMMERCIAL requirements.

2. Take a written test. Study section 14 of the COMMERCIAL DRIVERS HANDBOOK. It is only - google it. Also read sections 1,3,5, and if you can read the WHOLE book for two reasons - 1. It is good information that may save your life one day and 2. The test is not ONLY section 14 as they state, and if you do not read the ENTIRE manual you will miss SOME questions.

3. Schedule a driving test. I HIGHLY recommend scheduling immediately after passing your written test, if not you will have to schedule ONLINE which is further out and you will have to arrive ONE HOUR prior and wait around on road test day. If you schedule right away, pay another $11 - you can arrive 15 minutes prior, remain in your RV and NEVER have to walk in the DPS office on test day!

4. Ask a lot of questions.

The DPS office does NOT get a lot of NON CDL B requests and they will NOT have all of the information I just posted, question EVERYTHING.

The DPS officer told me in 6 years he has not had ONE person request a NON CDL B in this Rosenberg, Texas office that he experienced. Again most RV owners do not know because the dealership lied or is uneducated, or they just flat out do not care.

Additional tips...

1. There is NO air brake endorsement on a NON CDL class B in Texas, this does NOT exist.

2. I was told I will NOT have to parallel park my RV on test day

3. I was told I will NOT be given an air brake test as NON CDL class B has no air brake endorsement - this is a COMMERCIAL ENDORSEMENT

4. I was told I will not need triangles, flares or additional safety equipment - again that is part of the commercial road test.

5. I recommend a requesting a LEARNERS PERMIT before you take the road test - this is tricky as my DPS office HAS NEVER ISSUED A LEARNERS PERMIT (or so they claim) on a CLASS B NON CDL. The learners permit allows one to drive, however you must have a CLASS B person in the vehicle - well good luck with that, I do not know anyone with such designation, but I did get the learners permit anyhow to show my due diligence for the process. I was told NOT to get the permit, but then I asked how do I drive around and practice? How do I get the RV to the test? DPS officer just said no one gets the learners permit and just it is what it is - remember when you pass the written you still TECHNICALLY are NOT LEGAL to drive unless 1. You pass the road test... 2. You have a learners permit with a class A or B in your RV riding with you.

So in other words be real careful until you take the road test as you are STILL NOT LEGAL, although this is somewhat a catch 22 situation, what do you want me to do tow my RV to a parking lot to practice and then tow it back to storage and tow it to the testing station? ***SIGH***

In conclusion the Texas Class B NON CDL does not make you a better driver. Most of the material on the written side is irrelevant and needs changed ASAP. I had to study about tractors, taxi cabs, transporting of telephone poles, and other non sense which has NOTHING to do with my situation.

If Texas wants to have safer roads here is what needs to be done:

1. The NON CDL Class B needs it's own study guide - mixing it in with the CDL manual is a disaster.

2. Dealerships that continue to be dumb or play dumb and allow those to roll off the lot with a 26,000lb or higher vehicle need sued into oblivion. They must be responsible and liable for not knowing their own industry. Allowing people to roll off the lot without a proper license creates a massive exposure to the purchaser. I own a business, homes, worked hard my whole life and it was ALL at risk by the dealership greed and lack of legislative over sight.

3. There needs to be some RV schools other than in CA or FL, I have yet to see ONE in Texas - this is a business opportunity if anyone is listening go for it!

If anyone has any other questions about a Texas NON CDL class B let me know.

Side note I FULLY SUPPORT additional licensing and training on ALL RVs, but the process we have in Texas is a joke, caused me a ton of frustration, and at the end of the day I realize I am on the road with 99% of big rig RV owners under trained and unlicensed, it is truly a failure.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:18 AM   #50
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Texas Class B Non-CDL License

We did our TX class B last Jan in Livingston. A slightly cumbersome procedure, but not bad overall.

All this ranting about the process only occurs because some folks need to understand the basis of public certification. The state of Texas has no interest in teaching you how to drive a bus. That is a commercial private sector function. But, the DPS is required by law to somehow certify that you have met some established minimum standards of driving knowledge and performance.

Anyone who has taken any public testing should already be aware that in public testing, judicial decisions have established that 1) the knowledge being tested is public, so the subject areas to be tested must be publicly available, 2) testees cannot be tested on items of specific knowledge unless those specific items of knowledge have been provided to all testees in some manner.

TX DPS has determined that the easiest method for them to prepare motorhome drivers for the non-CDL class B license is to assign them and test them on Section 14 of the CDL manual. This contains some irrelevant data, but also some MH relevant data, and it is far easier and less costly than formulating a new manual. If you've figured out the game, therefore, you won't stress
about telephone poles on trailers or any other drivel, but you will simply keep in mind that every damn answer required on the written test will be contained VERBATIM in that Section 14. Every one. So just be quiet, take 15 minutes to read the book, and all will be well.

Another point to remember is that zero- tolerance policies are unworkable and stupid. That's why road test inspectors at the various DPS offices have some flexibility and discretion as to what they will include or not include in a road test. And sometimes tests aren't testing the obvious. Nobody-- or almost nobody-- parallel parks a coach. But if the maneuvering required to PP is beyond your skill level, it calls into question your basic ability to control where your coach goes or doesn't go, even in slow speed maneuvering. It's not about parking, it's about control.

The crux of public certification is the meeting of established minimum standards. The DPS goal is not to create the most skilled drivers possible. Their goal is to fulfill their legal mandate to ascertain that every licensed driver has met the established minimum standards for that license.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:28 AM   #51
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These last two posts, from intraweb and JXFG are correct and pertinent, BUT I would add don't waste your time and imperil your getting the license required by arguing with the examiner or DPS counter person about what is or is not required or permitted. Just learn it all, practice what you think will be required, and be friendly to them. You will be dealing, for the most part, with minor bureaucrats with the power to slow, frustrate and defeat you at no expense to themselves.

You will also be a better RV driver after studying all the available info and practicing, and will probably discover some bad habits you have accumulated over your driving experience.

I found a good and competent coach to ride with me during my "Learner Permit" phase and to accompany me to the drive test by going to my local school district transportation office and asking. These drivers generally have lots of free time between shifts and are often happy to have a few extra dollars for their time. I was lucky in that the guy they recommended was the designated trainer for their new hires and knew what DPS wanted of driver license applicants. It also takes a "special" kind of person to drive a busload of screaming kids for a living, which made him a pleasant person to have aboard. PM me if you'd like to contact him (San Antonio TX area).
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:53 AM   #52
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There is something I really don't understand when applying for a Texas Class A, B license. That is having to fill out form CDL-2. Here is a direct quote from that form:

"I will operate a commercial motor vehicle that exceeds 26,000 lbs GVWR and requires a Class A or B license that is exempted by the Texas Commercial Driver License Act."

The bold part is my doing. My question is, what part of your RV that weighs in excess of 26,000 pounds is commercial?

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Old 05-03-2014, 09:35 AM   #53
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:46 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
"I will operate a commercial motor vehicle that exceeds 26,000 lbs GVWR and requires a Class A or B license that is exempted by the Texas Commercial Driver License Act."

The bold part is my doing. My question is, what part of your RV that weighs in excess of 26,000 pounds is commercial?
Answer: None.

Obviously, the DPS has tried to avoid having to set up and maintain a whole separate class of vehicle and testing just for RV operators. It would have been more accurate for them to say "...commercial type motor vehicle...", but if you cut all the legalese from your quote and then, instead of "commercial motor vehicle" use the phrase "big honkin' RV", you're left with

"I will operate a big honkin' RV...that is exempted by the Texas Commercial Driver License Act."

Hence, no need for a CDL. Is that better? Easier to understand?
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:55 AM   #55
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Great discussion and outstanding summaries by Intraweb and JFXG. I had a great experience at the Texas DPS office that I used (Jones Rd in NW Houston). The discussion leaves me with one BIG question, "why aren't the insurance companies mentioning/requiring when applying for insurance"?
This is not to diminish the fact that the licensing agencies should know the process, or at least have access to a resource that knows.

As has been stated many times, not having your appropriate licence class could leave you without insurance coverage if you have an accident. You would think if they are taking your money, accepting your policy, that they would make sure to tell you about license requirements.

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Old 05-03-2014, 09:57 AM   #56
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In regards to dealerships ignorance is not a valid defense. I am responsible for the licensing and regulations of my insurance business and there is no excuse for creating massive exposure of RV clients who roll out illegally.

In regards to DPS we should never settle. They work for us. They should know their own rules and regulations. As far as changing regulations that is for the representativeship which like the auto business is highly influenced by lobby.

CDL2 form needs changed as well. This exempts you from CDL however my DPS office did not know it existed until I educated them.

Any vehicle over 26000 lbs is considered commercial by DOT standards.

It's a mess and all RV owners are at risk by incompetent dealers and bad regulation. Be aware and be careful.

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