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Old 03-24-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
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DZ license in Ontario experience

DH and I just returned from our successful completion of our DZ licenses! We were thrilled to pass the written and road tests on the first go. Thought we would share our experience for others thinking of going through the same process.

In Ontario you need a D class license for vehicles over 11000 kilos and can tow up to 4600 kilos with that license. (Towing more than that you need an A or A-restricted). Any vehicle with air brakes necessitates an air brake endorsement (Z). So we needed a DZ for our Phaeton diesel pusher.

We initially took a weekend course through Modern Training in Hamilton for the air brake endorsement. At the end of the weekend we had a written and practical test administered by a MTO rep and were granted the Z endorsement. We could have skipped the course and done the written and practical directly at the MTO but we feel we learned a lot and would not have passed on our own. Nick at Modern Training was fantastic. A few weeks later we received a certificate from MT in the mail and went to the MTO to have the Z endorsement added to our licenses.

Then we did our D class written on our own at the MTO. The test was two parts, the first a knowledge test on truck driving specific to the D license (it is a commercial license) and then another test on road signs and regulations that was general. We also did a vision test. Once we passed those we were allowed to drive a D class vehicle with a fully licensed passenger for practicing.

We went back to Modern Training for instruction and time on the road. We compressed it down to 6 hours each which was a "crash course". We, however, didn't crash but did ask for additional time the day or our practical drive test to re-familiarize ourselves with the bus we practiced on for test time.

We trained on a 40 foot bus (think GO or Greyhound bus) with air brakes and automatic transmission. We used this bus for our road test.

Our road test consisted of a circle check, air loss and low-air warning tests, three-point brake test, in-cab equipment check and a road test, including city, service road and industrial area driving, with a back-up parking test.

Once we passed we were free to go, temporary licenses in hand, and ready to pick up new coach next week! I know this was Ontario specific but hope it is helpful to some folks.

Oh and the costs were reasonable: 85 bucks for the D practical and written tests together, the classes were about 65 an hour each, and the air brake course was only a few hundred bucks each (can't recall exactly). Now we just have to keep our plate sticker valid (82 I think?) and we can pour our money not the RV instead!!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:44 PM   #2
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Congrats on getting everything done!!! You'll be so glad to have it done and be legal. It is doubtful you would get pulled over and checked for drivers license but if anything ever happened you know you are licensed. Those fees seem really resonable.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Just out of curiosity who told you that you needed the class D license? That is a commercial license. My father thought he needed the D license to operate his 42 ft Sceptor so like you he booked a road test. I told him that he did not need the license via my research and phone calls.
He went for the test and the MTO told him the same, that he did not need a class D, only the Z endorsement for brakes which he already had. My father said, well im here anyways so I might as well take the test. MTO guy said sorry I cannot allow you to take the test with a vehicle which a D license is not required to operate. You took the test with a bus so go figure, maybe it depends on who you talk to as to weather the license is required. In any case you are covered and congrats.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:11 PM   #4
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Just out of curiosity who told you that you needed the class D license? That is a commercial license. My father thought he needed the D license to operate his 42 ft Sceptor so like you he booked a road test. I told him that he did not need the license via my research and phone calls.
He went for the test and the MTO told him the same, that he did not need a class D, only the Z endorsement for brakes which he already had. My father said, well im here anyways so I might as well take the test. MTO guy said sorry I cannot allow you to take the test with a vehicle which a D license is not required to operate. You took the test with a bus so go figure, maybe it depends on who you talk to as to weather the license is required. In any case you are covered and congrats.
It is all based on weight. Some RVs are light enough to not require the D license. If you look at tha back of a regular license it shows that a G license only covers vehicles up to 11000 kilos. The commercial part is a bit of a misnomer: there are commercial vehicles that can be driven with a G license if they are under 11000 kilos and some non-commercial vehicles like heavy RVs that do require additional licensing.

There is no exemption for RVs.

It is true that for the road test one requires a vehicle in the class you are obtaining a license in. You couldn't use a RV that weighs under 11000 kilos for the test.

I'm glad we are covered because I don't want to face denial of an insurance claim, or face law enforcement problems. I have heard that police officers in Ontario are being better educated about the licensing requirements and are enforcing them. My insurance company also knew to ask about proper licensure.

Sounds like your Dad was given bad advice (unless his coach is under the weight limit). Sometimes those that SHOULD know, DON'T, unfortunately.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:21 PM   #5
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Here is the information nicely spelled out for RVs right from the Minsitry of Transportation. Hope that helps to clarify things.

RV Information for Drivers - Class of driver's licence
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:24 PM   #6
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Sounds like your Dad was given bad advice (unless his coach is under the weight limit). Sometimes those that SHOULD know, DON'T, unfortunately.
Ya I think your right. My fathers coach is 42 ft long with a tag axle, its a heavy coach. Our coach's gross weight is 25000 which is just a tad over the limit for class G according to that web site. Funny I googled after my first post and it brought me to that web site you posted a link for.
I made calls a couple of years ago to the MTO and was told that Rvs were exempt from the class D but it is hard to argue with the clear and bold print on that MTO website. So I guess I was wrong and got bad advice. Pretty much any diesel pusher is over 25000 lbs which means and Im guessing here that most Rv drivers do not hold the class D license so thats alot of illegal drivers on the road. Hope they dont do a blitz
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:00 AM   #7
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I'm also surprised how many dealers don't point people in the right direction.

I don't remember seeing that MTO webpage a few months ago. I wonder if it was put up in response to confusion (maybe even internally).

I'd highly recommend Modern Training if you ever decide to do training. We drove more than an hour to get to Hamilton to train with him because he was that good.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:18 AM   #8
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I do hold a class AZ . I also trained in Hamilton many years ago. Company was called Danbro and I think its still in business.
My guess as to why dealers don't bring up the subject of the D license ( except for obvious self serving reason) is that it is never enforced and not many know about it. We are going to the Sicards ( rv dealer) open house in Smithville next month, I will ask one of the owners about this.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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I was under the Impression that if my license was valid to drive a vehicle in my Home state (Indiana) that I was legal anywhere, we are not required to have any endorsements unless we are for hire, which I'm not. I read the Ontario link and it states that they are reciprical to your home state as long as it is valid. am I reading this wrong or just not understanding. I'm pretty new to all this, just want to get it right.....
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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You are reading it right. Whatever is legal in your home state or province is legal in Ontario.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #11
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I'm also surprised how many dealers don't point people in the right direction. ...
It's funny you mentioned that; last year I asked on of the local RV dealers if they could recommend somewhere to get training for A or D class license. They looked at me as if I was I was from Mars and had no idea where I could possibly get that.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:42 AM   #12
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(shakes head) Makes no sense.

I'd like to add that our lessons, leading to a new license class or not, were imperative to our sense that we could drive the RV safely. I really wonder how people can drive their RV off the lot without experience first and not be terrified at their lack of skill or experience. I would have been a terrible driver had I not taken some lessons - and I am an excellent driver with trailer experience with a 100% clean record going back 20 years and living in a major metropolitan city with completely congested and crazy highways, and having crossed my country and the one south of me several times. For my job I also have to drive in all kinds of weather, day and in the middle of the night, with urgency. Just to say that I am not a newbie driver.

We simply would not have been equipped to drive a heavy RV with air brakes without some lessons. Now we have to practice, practice, practice.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by terapin-bear View Post
DH and I just returned from our successful completion of our DZ licenses! We were thrilled to pass the written and road tests on the first go. Thought we would share our experience for others thinking of going through the same process.

In Ontario you need a D class license for vehicles over 11000 kilos and can tow up to 4600 kilos with that license. (Towing more than that you need an A or A-restricted). Any vehicle with air brakes necessitates an air brake endorsement (Z). So we needed a DZ for our Phaeton diesel pusher.

We initially took a weekend course through Modern Training in Hamilton for the air brake endorsement. At the end of the weekend we had a written and practical test administered by a MTO rep and were granted the Z endorsement. We could have skipped the course and done the written and practical directly at the MTO but we feel we learned a lot and would not have passed on our own. Nick at Modern Training was fantastic. A few weeks later we received a certificate from MT in the mail and went to the MTO to have the Z endorsement added to our licenses.

Then we did our D class written on our own at the MTO. The test was two parts, the first a knowledge test on truck driving specific to the D license (it is a commercial license) and then another test on road signs and regulations that was general. We also did a vision test. Once we passed those we were allowed to drive a D class vehicle with a fully licensed passenger for practicing.

We went back to Modern Training for instruction and time on the road. We compressed it down to 6 hours each which was a "crash course". We, however, didn't crash but did ask for additional time the day or our practical drive test to re-familiarize ourselves with the bus we practiced on for test time.

We trained on a 40 foot bus (think GO or Greyhound bus) with air brakes and automatic transmission. We used this bus for our road test.

Our road test consisted of a circle check, air loss and low-air warning tests, three-point brake test, in-cab equipment check and a road test, including city, service road and industrial area driving, with a back-up parking test.

Once we passed we were free to go, temporary licenses in hand, and ready to pick up new coach next week! I know this was Ontario specific but hope it is helpful to some folks.

Oh and the costs were reasonable: 85 bucks for the D practical and written tests together, the classes were about 65 an hour each, and the air brake course was only a few hundred bucks each (can't recall exactly). Now we just have to keep our plate sticker valid (82 I think?) and we can pour our money not the RV instead!!!

Hi terapin-bear, if you have a few minutes, I'd love to hear more details about the actual tests. Since I haven't been able to find any reasonably priced D class courses in my area, I might just try to do the tests myself but I really have no idea what they kind of stuff the ask about on the written test and what they have you do during the practical portion so I'm pretty hesitant to try.

Let us know. Thanks,
Mike
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #14
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Sure, no problem. We just studied the books - our driving school didn't help us with this part.

The tests were mostly based on the regular Driver's Handbook (maybe 25% of the test was general knowledge) and the rest was from the Truck Handbook (can buy at Canadian Tire, MTO directly, DriveTest Centres, Chapters). I found the review at the back of the Truck Handbook to be very helpful and was very similar to what questions I was asked in my version of the test. I memorized the maximum weights and measurements (several questions were asked about these), and the distances you must be from things (like between commercial vehicles, are parked distance from fire hydrants) or where you had to set road flares, etc. I skipped the parts in the book about trailers or references to A licensing. I studied for about 2 hours after reading the book through, including finding the answers to the sample test at the back, and writing down all the measurements and numbers stuff.

That's how I approached it. I'm not sure how Bear did as I am a solitary studier. I think he read the book through a few times and then made notes, and memorized all the numbers.

The other part of the test was the roadsigns, taken directly from the Truck Handbook.

Hope that helps!
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