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Old 06-19-2014, 10:41 PM   #1
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Texas Class B - Sticky / FAQ

This is a summary of all the threads on this topic + options on how to get a class B in Texas. PM me for edits/updates.

Do I need a Class B license?
You only need a class B license if the GVW of your motor home is greater than 26,001 lbs.
TxDPS - Classes of Driver Licenses

What happens if I drive without a Class B license?
Best case - Nothing. Many people have been driving for years with no consequence. Many officers don't know or enforce the law. Worst case - Since you are not legally licensed to be driving a vehicle over 26,001 lbs your insurance carrier MAY not pay in the event of an accident. If you crash your big diesel pusher into a bunch of cars and injure and kill others, you are legally responsible for all of the property damage and bodily harm. $$$$$

What is the process to get a class B?
1) Optional - Get DOT medical certification (Explanation of when you need this later)
2) Take computer tests - You can take 2 tests and get learners permit and then come back and take 2 more tests OR you can take all 4 tests and NOT get learners permit.
3) Schedule driving test (Doesn't need to be at the same DPS office where you took your computer test)
4) Arrive with a 26,001+lb vehicle and take driving test. It doesn't necessarily have to be an RV, you can do it in a big truck. This is explained below.

If I can't legally drive my motorhome, how do I get it to DPS for my drivers license test

Forum members have used one of the following methods:
1) Drive it to the DPS and hope you don't crash, get pulled over and the examiner doesn't ask you how you got there. This is a popular option that has worked out for many.
Upsides - It is simple
Downsides - It is illegal. Your not insured. They may fail you on the spot. If you have never driven a big DP before, your first time could be with the examiner.


2) Have a friend drive your RV
Upsides - It is the simplest option
Downsides - None.


3) Hire a driver who drives your RV
Upside - You legally get your RV there and are insured.
Downside - $. If you fail, your driver has to take the DP back home and you have to start all over. If you have never driven a big DP before, your first time will be with the examiner. Unless - (A) You get a class B learners permit (B) pay a driver to go around with you while you figure out how to drive a big bus before your exam

4) Pay a CDL company to rent you a truck and a driver specifically for the exam. They help you pass the test and get a class B CDL.
Upside - You are legal and don't take on the liabilities of driving an uninsured DP. You can take the exam in a short 24ft flatbed truck that you can see out the back window instead of a 45ft diesel pusher. This makes it much easier to pass the exam.
Downside - It costs about $350. They only give you about 1 hour to get used to the truck and give you tips and pointers to pass the exam. No real great companies in Dallas.
  • This company does what they say they are going to do. Their tucks are POS and drive really rough. Loose drivers seat that slides around, bumpy as hell, air brakes are all on/off throwing you through window. Despite POS trucks, they are still easier than driving a 45 foot bus. CDL Connection Dallas.
  • This guy has built himself a reputation as a scam artist and has a pretty bad reputation you can easily google CDL Test Truck .
  • I have no data on this company other than a few references I received neither good/bad. PM if you know anything about them CDL Rental TX - CDL Truck Rental & CDL Training | Weatherford, TX 76086

CDL or Non-CDL?
The law only requires you to have a non-CDL to drive your motorhome. There is exemption paperwork you can file for this. The big difference people care about is that if you have a full CDL you can't take defensive driving to get a ticket waved. There are some other fee differences but they are minimal.

If you go with options 1,2,3 it is best to opt for the non-CDL.

If you go with option 4, then your best bet is go with the full CDL. The problem you run into with #4 is they want you to take the test in whatever vehicle you are likely to be driving. If you file for a RV exemption and then show up in a flatbed truck you may run into issues. Your class B CDL will let you drive your RV. So, just go the normal truck route process and take the exam in a flatbed class B truck. It is much easier to pass the test in a 24 foot flatbed truck that you can look at the back window than a 45 foot dp. If you really want the non-CDL, I suppose you can go back at a later date any apply for the exemption.

Do I need a DOT medical?
Technically No if you only want to drive your RV for personal use. If you are going with options 1,2,3 you should be able to pass through the process without a medical. If you are going through #4 you can also pass without a DOT medical, but must explicitly fill out a form saying the CDL is for personal use only.

They will ask for your DOT medical when you go take your exam. Your driving examiner may also ask you for your DOT medical.

Caveat - The people at the DPS don't seem to know what the official answer is. So, it is quite possible that you could wait in line for 2 hours to get to the front only to argue and have them to tell you to come back with a DOT medical. The same when you go for the driving exam. Yes, you don't need it, and yes they are wrong, however they make the rules. If you want to get a DOT medical, it takes about 15 minutes, cost $80 and they are available at walk-in clinics like Carenow. There is a walk-in clinic about 5 minutes from the McKinney DPS office.


---===----

Hope that Helps!
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:29 AM   #2
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Weights are incorrectly stated... It's "more than 26,000" not 26,001.
In paragraph 3 "process", what 2 or 4 tests are referred to? There is only one (1) written/computer test required for a class B... A commercial test may require more but doubt anyone on this site is interested in learning about a commercial license...
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:20 AM   #3
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If you are going for a Class A, B, or C, exemption forms are not necessary.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
If you are going for a Class A, B, or C, exemption forms are not necessary.
Maybe no form if your are getting a CDL A, B, C.

I did not take anymore tests after the first day's, computer test.

I got my upgrade to a non CDL Class B last year in April. I had to sign the exemption form. I renewed my license last week as it was expiring, and the staff had to call and see if I needed to sign another exemption forum. Answer he got from somewhere on the phone was, "yes, another signed form".
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:36 PM   #5
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I don't want to get into a word contest about this. Here are some specific words on the CDL-2. It starts out like this:

"I will operate a commercial vehicle[...]"

"( )4 - A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use."

So if a person is a company that uses an RV in their business, and it falls withing the weight limitations of the specific license requirements you need a CDL. However, if it is a company vehicle and a person wishes to use it for personal use the CDL-2 is required.

No privately owned RV requires a CDL-2 Form for licensing requirements. If a CDL-2 (Texas) is required I would like to see the documents that say so.

So many read into regulations instead of reading the regulations. Even the DMV has problems with their own regulations.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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"No privately owned RV requires a CDL-2 Form for licensing requirements. If a CDL-2 (Texas) is required I would like to see the documents that say so."

You are correct, we can drive our RV's without the Commercial (CDL) A, B, or C license. As the first post suggested, just go get the proper NON Commercial upgrade for your heavy RV, or trailer over 10,000#.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailwing2003 View Post
Maybe no form if your are getting a CDL A, B, C.

I did not take anymore tests after the first day's, computer test.

I got my upgrade to a non CDL Class B last year in April. I had to sign the exemption form. I renewed my license last week as it was expiring, and the staff had to call and see if I needed to sign another exemption forum. Answer he got from somewhere on the phone was, "yes, another signed form".
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailwing2003 View Post
"No privately owned RV requires a CDL-2 Form for licensing requirements. If a CDL-2 (Texas) is required I would like to see the documents that say so."

You are correct, we can drive our RV's without the Commercial (CDL) A, B, or C license. As the first post suggested, just go get the proper NON Commercial upgrade for your heavy RV, or trailer over 10,000#.
I do understand you post that a CDL is not required to drive an RV that is privately owned. DMV licensing offices don't all have the same standards to go by. Well, the do, they just don't know what they are doing.

I used to have a CDL Class-A. I converted to a Class-A. No forms to sign other than the driver license renewal form at the DMV. So go figure.

They have a new license manual out and it has significantly changed since I renewed. Laws change all the time.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:05 PM   #8
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The common theme in most of the posted comments relative Motorhome license requirements in the state of Texas is CONFUSION, and it is very concerning when you visit the DPS (dept. of public safety) and there are various opinions of the employees in the office about what actual license requirements are necessary for a motorhome with a GVW in excess of 26,000 lbs., especially when you advise them that you have air brakes.

Once they understood it was a motorhome for my own personal use and would not tow anything in excess of 10,000 lbs, and after they had some internal discussions, it was finally communicated to me that I would need to apply for a non-CDL, Class B, for my 33.000 GVW motorhome. Yet another person in their office referred to the required license as a CDL Class B exempt.

After all the confusion, I finally got to take the knowledge test, which only consisted of 20 questions, all taken from Section 14: Special Requirements for Texas Commercial Motor Vehicles. I took this test at the end of May, and after passing this test, I was advised to go on-line and schedule the driving test since I was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks.

Today, I drove my motorhome to the DPS office/testing location in the DFW AREA and took the driving test, and passed it, which was not too difficult, just a little nervous due to an examiner sitting in the co-pilots seat scoring your driving activity.

It consisted of the air brake test, which consisted of 4 different testing procedures. The driving was a little challenging, especially in heavy traffic, as they evaluate starting, stopping, use of turn signals, lane changing, merging with traffic, use of lanes, right of way, posture, approach to corners & intersections, traffic signals, traffic signs, and left & right hand turns, and it even included a backing and parallel parking maneuver.

This is certainly a relief to have successfully completed this process and provides some added comfort to know that in the unlikely event of an accident, I will not have to worry about the insurance company denying a claim because I did not have a valid drivers license for the type of vehicle being driven.

Hope this is of some help to those who may be interested to complete the licensing requirement of a Texas resident that will be driving a motorhome with a GVW rating in excess of 26,000 lbs.

Happy RV'g

Jack
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:14 PM   #9
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What Sections Will I Be Tested On?
The sections below refer to the sections contained in the "Texas Commercial Vehicle Drivers Handbook" https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/intern...orms/DL-7C.pdf
  • General Knowledge (Sections 1-3) {2 tests}
  • Air Brakes (Section 5) {1 test}
  • Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection (Section 11) {1 test}
There are two tests that cover section 1-3, one test for air brakes and one test for pre-trip vehicle inspection. Although it is not supposed to be covered, there are a few fifth wheel/trailer questions in the general section tests. If you are not familiar with trailers you may also want to read section 6, combination vehicles. Section 6 has its own test which you don't need to take. However, for whatever reason the general tests still ask questions that come from section 6.

You take all the tests on a touch screen computer. It actually is more like one big long test. One you finish a test it says, "Wait, you are not done yet. Click to continue to the next test"

From my understanding, they used to do the pre-trip inspection evaluation during the driving test. At some point they incorporated it into a computer based test.

You will have a computer test on air brakes and they will test you a 2nd time during your driving test for safety.

Opinion -> Any safe RV driver of a big rig should be able to pass these tests. Every driver should know how their air brakes work and what to do in a low pressure situation. They should also know the basics of doing a pre-trip inspection of their rig before heading out. Most of the items in section 1-3 should be common sense if you have been driving awhile.

Side Note -> There is a lot of confusion in the DPS on what tests actually need to be taken. There are posts from members that have taken 1 written test OR 2 computer tests OR 4 computer tests, etc. The most you will be tested on is the above listed tests. You may get lucky and have to less test sections. Regardless, I read the information the night before and took all 4 tests in under an hour and scored 90%+ on each test. I waited in a line, out the door of the building, longer than it actually took for me to take the computer tests. The computer tests are not that hard even if you end up taking all four tests.
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