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Old 09-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #1
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Towing 5th Wheel in Texas - Class A required?

I would like to confirm my understanding of Texas regulations concerning the requirement for a Class A driver's license when towing. The driver's handbook says that a Class C licensee can operate 'a single unit vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds, towing a trailer not to exceed 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.' On the surface this seems to require a higher-class license for towing a trailer over 10,000 lbs., but when I look up the DOT definition of 'single unit vehicle' it specifically includes 'two-axle, four-tire single-unit vehicles pulling recreational or other light trailers' so it would seem that a standard pickup truck towng an RV is considered a single unit vehicle, and thus as long as the combination of tow vehicle and trailer are under 26,001 lbs. then a class C license is adequate. Am I reading this correctly? If so then it is permissible to operate a SRW pickup truck with a GVWR of 9,000 lbs. and a 5th wheel RV with a GVWR of 12,000 lbs. (because the total is under 26,001) with a class C license?
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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You are correct your fine with what you have now, it's no different with the motor homes they are over the limit and a standard license works fine
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:07 PM   #3
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The only time you would have to step up to A is if you have air brakes
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:03 AM   #4
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So I gotta ask... are you guys sure about this? What is the source of your knowledge? The actual text in the Driver's License Handbook sure is confusing...
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:18 AM   #5
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MOST things from the gooberment are confusing by design, haven't you learned that yet?
Years of living, driving, and towing in Texas is my source ....

and I have never needed any endorsement other than a motorcycle endorsement
(and glasses now that I'm older :( )
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:55 AM   #6
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You don't class A to pull a RV or do you need one with a motorhome anyone with a valid regular DL not permit can pull or drive a MH even the big DP that's across the USA
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #7
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The only time you would have to step up to A is if you have air brakes
Don't think so.... There's no such thing as an air brake endorsement but there is such a thing as an air brake restriction. Nowhere does it say you have to have a special license for air brakes, however, if you go take your A or B license test in a vehicle without air brakes you will be given a restriction on your license for non air brake vehicle. It's kinda a big loop hole they have never closed.

Class A & B licenses are driven by weight ratings, not equipment.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:20 AM   #8
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Most States differ than what the DOT dictates. Unless you are a comercial driver, then the DOT will supercede. Most states, state that you can drive a 2 axel vehicle of no more than 26,000 lbs. with a class C license. However if you are TOWING, that is a different story. If you are towing 10,000 and or under 15,000, you will need an endorcement on your class C drivers license. If you are towing any thing over 15,000 lb. you will need a non-commercial, class B license. Some States require you to have a Class A license. My advice to those of you who are concerned. Study your States DL handbook, take the test. Have peace of mind. The test is not as hard as most people think. In CA, if you have an accident, regardless of who's at fault, your insurance will not pay off if you do not have the indorcement on your driver's license. You would think the Insurance co. would tell you this. Nope !!!! They would rather not have to pay off on you claim. Why don't the DOT tell you what license Class you should be driving or towing, Not their responsiblty either, unless your involved in an accident. Sorry for the long reply. Hope this is of help.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:35 AM   #9
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L.C. Gray is correct about the Air brakes. Also,you may drive a Class A motorhome that has air brakes with only a Class C license in some States. Keep in mind that if you are TOWING, the speed limit is 55 in some states.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:39 AM   #10
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You don't class A to pull a RV or do you need one with a motorhome anyone with a valid regular DL not permit can pull or drive a MH even the big DP that's across the USA

Just to clarify, every state is different and that is why it is important to read the driving laws of your state. Many, many states require a higher class license depending on the requirements of the state. In most cases the cut off is the weight or combination of weights. What ever your particular state requires will be honored under a reciprocal agreement between states.

Happy trails.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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The basic nuts and bolts of it per the DOT driven rules is:

Class C for 26,000 lbs and under.

Class B for 26,001 lbs and above.

Class A for 26,001 lbs and above if towed is 10,000 lbs or above.

A class A or B license is not neccessarily a CDL, as there are straight A and B licenses available just like there is also a class C CDL available as well.

All states follow the same rules for commercial vehicles since DOT standardized the rules for all states in 1992. Most states non commercial limits tend to closely follow the Federal DOT rules with a few deviations.

My license is a AM CDL with T and X endorsements. The only thing I'm not legal to drive is a passenger bus with more than 15 seating capacity.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:37 AM   #12
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Well here's the way I read it in Texas. First, the applicable statute:

SUBCHAPTER D. CLASSIFICATION OF DRIVER'S LICENSESSec. 521.081.

Sec.521.081. CLASS A LICENSE. A Class A driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate: (1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; or(2) a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, if the gross vehicle weight rating of any vehicle or vehicles in tow is more than 10,000 pounds.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 521.082. CLASS B LICENSE. (a) A Class B driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate: (1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that is more than 26,000 pounds;(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more towing: (A) a vehicle, other than a farm trailer, with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 10,000 pounds; or(B) a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds; and(3) a bus with a seating capacity of 24 passengers or more.(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(3), seating capacity is computed in accordance with Section 502.162, except that the operator's seat is included in the computation.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 521.083. CLASS C LICENSE. A Class C driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate: (1) a vehicle or combination of vehicles not described by Section 521.081 or 521.082; and(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds towing a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


So...

A Class C license allows 'a vehicle or combination of vehicles not described by Section 521.081 or 521.082' (Class A or Class B).

Class A describes:

1. 'a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more'

That does not describe my rig (a 9,000 lb. tow and a 12,000 lb. trailer.)

2. 'a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, if the gross vehicle weight rating of any vehicle or vehicles in tow is more than 10,000 pounds.'

The GVWR of my trailer is 12,000 lbs. so the first part of the sentence applies, but my combination of vehicles does not have a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, so the section does not apply.

My vehicle combination is not described in 521.081 or 521.082 therefore a Class C license is adequate. And apparently none of the 'single unit vehicle' stuff really matters because it is not even mentioned in the actual statute.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:11 PM   #13
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since when is any privately owned rv a comercial motor vehicle under DOT/FMCSA rules? RVs are not normally engaged in commerce required a CDL or any other endorsement. I am prpoperly licensed with a normal everyday drivers license to tow my privately owed 5th wheel in my home state. This should be all I need when traveling the country. No? Our do I need to boycot TX and CA?
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:22 PM   #14
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The only time you would have to step up to A is if you have air brakes
You do not need a Class A unless you are over 26,000 lbs. AND you are towing in excess of 10,000 lbs. Over 26,000 lbs. and towing up to 9,999 lbs. requires a Non-Commercial Class B license.

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