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Old 09-18-2015, 09:20 AM   #1
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NC Class B License -- Done!

After years of entertaining(?) reading on the subject of driver's licenses for recreational vehicles, I decided that I was making a mistake by not having the correct license level for my motorhome. Two weeks ago I visited the NC DMV office in Kannapolis and applied for my Class B (non-commercial) license and took the written (computer) test. Contrary to what many people have written about this, the DMV people didn't hesitate when asked if this license level was necessary, and they administered the 50-question test. You can miss up to 10 questions and still pass. Many of the questions had to do with subjects you would only find on OTR trucks, so reading the whole CDL manual beforehand was helpful.

Yesterday, I took the skills test at the DMV office in Albemarle. I chose this office because it is in a small town and rarely has much wait time. I arrived early and was able to park my motorhome in a corner of the parking lot with no problem. I was the first one in the door at 8AM. The examiner for the test was great and really put me at ease. He verified that the turn signals and stop lights were working and then we were off. We drove around downtown Albemarle, making about a half-dozen left turns and right turns into the fairly narrow streets, but nothing at all challenging or tricky.

We talked about air brakes, motorhomes, and traveling. He asked me to drive back to the DMV and park in the same place that I left, and when we got out he said "you did great." I went back in the office, paid $32 for an 8-year license, had my picture taken, and was done by 8:45AM.

All in all, I feel much better having the correct license. I know I haven't read any actual horror stories about people being stopped, insurance problems, etc. But it is nice to know that this won't happen in my case. I don't know why people seem to push back on the requirements for licensing. It's true the rules for a non-commercial license don't specifically call out recreational vehicles, but that fact that they say *any* vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds should make it clear enough.

So if you're in doubt about this and you live in North Carolina, I say "Just Do It!" You'll be glad you did.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:09 AM   #2
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in texas I got a class B exempt license for driving for trucks as a volunteer fire fighter. Similar experience to yours with a written test and road test in the fire engine.
We had a variety of trucks from Viet Nam era deuces for off road, to a brand new freightliner tanker. Incidentally, the cockpit of the tanker looks just like the cockpit of the diesel pushers I have seen.
I don't have a dp yet, but I am in the market.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:12 PM   #3
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Congrats!! I know it is so time consuming studying and then taking the test. Plus nerve-racking. I don't care how much experience you have, it still makes you nervous to be tested. I'm in Nevada and this state requires a Class "J" endorsement for towing a trailer over 10,000#. I passed the written test a couple of days ago and am waiting for the driving test a week from Monday.
This is my second 5th wheel. The other one, a toy hauler, was 40'. I've also had three Class "A", and two Class "C" in my lifetime. With my Washington drivers license I've driven pretty much all over the US, including several trips to or through the great state of Nevada. But now that I'm a resident of the state, I have to take a test. Now, honestly, isn't it stupid that I could legally drive my RV in Nevada with a Washington license, BUT the minute I say I'm a resident, I have to take a test to tow my 34' 5th wheel?? Stupid!!!
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:57 AM   #4
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Bill98116: No question about it! I cannot for the life of me understand why things like motor vehicle licensing and traffic laws vary from state to state. What is it about driving in North Carolina that is fundamentally different from driving in Washington? It really seems like this is one area where a uniform license/vehicle code should be developed and implemented nationally.

But since that is unlkely to happen, I'd settle for putting specific language in the state laws that say which license level is required for operating a private recreational vehicle. I'm not holding my breath, though, so the debate likely will keep raging!
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:57 AM   #5
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Got mine a couple of years ago. So glad i did. Now I am legal when driving the MH. I did not want to have a lawsuit or charges in case of an accident. Interesting enough, if you ask several highway patrol officers, none think you are required to have a class B license.
YMMV,

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Old 09-24-2015, 12:28 PM   #6
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Congrats!! I know it is so time consuming studying and then taking the test. Plus nerve-racking. I don't care how much experience you have, it still makes you nervous to be tested.
I'll second the nerves. I am a retired LEO with years of experience driving our old 36' motor home, but I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs about taking a driving test in the new rig. I knew it had to be done, but dreaded it for weeks before I could get in to take the test. There were no nerves or problems once we started driving, it was the anticipation that was the worst.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:32 PM   #7
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I passed the written test and went for my "skills" testing. Three parts. One: a "pre-trip" inspection. It took over 30 minutes!! Oh, come-on we are recreational drivers, not driving hazardous materials requiring a CDL!! I had to answer questions about the systems, demonstrate my knowledge about weights of the vehicle (GVW and GVWR) and the 5th wheel, know the towing capacity of my truck, etc etc. Two: driving a course. Drive through cones forward, stop before my front bumper crossed a line at the end. Then back up through course not touching the cones. Then demonstrate "alley" backing where I had to jack-knife the trailer to back into the "alley". Three: the road test. It took 45 minutes on both freeway and city street driving. I really hit it wrong because it was 5 pm. Now Las Vegas isn't a large city like LA or something, but still at 5 pm it is busy. I have driven many many RV miles both towing a 5th wheel and driving a 40' class A. The examiner took me down a side street to make a right turn at the bottom of the hill. He told me that the intersection is a "blind" corner so be careful. He was right, I couldn't see around the corner but luckily no cars were coming so I was able to swing wide into the oncoming left lane to clear the right hand turn. Did it fine. Then I was directed to a busy two lane street MLK Blvd. Now remember this is 5 pm on a weekday. MLK was bumper to bumper and I was told to make a right turn from a side street onto MLK. I had no stop light just a stop sign. Now have you ever tried to enter a major street during rush hour from a side street? There was no way traffic was going to let me use both the lanes so I tried to enter and not make a wide swing into the oncoming left lane. I thought I did fine but the examiner told me I hit the curb when I made the right turn. And hitting a curb is an automatic fail!! So, I have to retake the entire skills test. And guess what, I'm scheduled again at 5 pm on a Monday! This time I'm going to wait till the traffic clears in both lanes so I can make that wide swing, I don't care if I have to wait an hour at the intersection. Frustrating.
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:19 PM   #8
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Albemarle

Congratulations on passing the test. Lived in Albemarle 37 years ago in a place called "Dennis's Trailer Park" on the road that went to Troy. Great memories from a special time in my life.
Now in CT enjoying my 5 special granddaughters but sure do miss NC.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:10 AM   #9
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Congratulations on passing the test. Lived in Albemarle 37 years ago in a place called "Dennis's Trailer Park" on the road that went to Troy. Great memories from a special time in my life.
Now in CT enjoying my 5 special granddaughters but sure do miss NC.

I know what you mean about missing an earlier time. I went through a very bad divorce several years ago, my mom died during that time also. It was a pretty low point in my life. So after going through that, I asked myself "Where were you happy last?" I had no ties at that point, no kids to put through college. For once in my life I had only me to worry about. I moved to Washington state, bought a boat and lived on it by myself for about 6 years. What a great time that was for me. Single, living on a boat in a beautiful place. I had a Harley. Who could ask for more?
Man, I miss those days!!
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:44 PM   #10
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....I cannot for the life of me understand why things like motor vehicle licensing and traffic laws vary from state to state. What is it about driving in North Carolina that is fundamentally different from driving in Washington? It really seems like this is one area where a uniform license/vehicle code should be developed and implemented nationally.

.......I'd settle for putting specific language in the state laws that say which license level is required for operating a private recreational vehicle.....

Ficodek, there is no debate! It is the nature of our statutory structure and the nature of our Federal structure.

Our laws don't tell us what IS allowed, they tell us what is prohibited. Anything not specifically prohibited is allowed. It is amazing to me how many societies operate in the reverse. Most are authoritarian tyrannies of one sort or another, but not all.

Our federal structure is dictated by our Constitution. All authority belongs to the individual States, except for those functions and responsibilities specifically assigned to the Federal Government. There are already a host of laws enacted to smooth over interstate activity. For example, in the matter of basic driver licensing, all states must recognize all other states' licenses. Even concerning large vehicle licenses like the Class B for motor homes, you are only required to meet the rules of your domicile state, and your privilege will extend to all.


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Old 10-16-2015, 05:05 PM   #11
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Ficodek, there is no debate! It is the nature of our statutory structure and the nature of our Federal structure.

Our laws don't tell us what IS allowed, they tell us what is prohibited. Anything not specifically prohibited is allowed. It is amazing to me how many societies operate in the reverse. Most are authoritarian tyrannies of one sort or another, but not all.

Our federal structure is dictated by our Constitution. All authority belongs to the individual States, except for those functions and responsibilities specifically assigned to the Federal Government. There are already a host of laws enacted to smooth over interstate activity. For example, in the matter of basic driver licensing, all states must recognize all other states' licenses. Even concerning large vehicle licenses like the Class B for motor homes, you are only required to meet the rules of your domicile state, and your privilege will extend to all.


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I hear you, John. The frustrating part is that when you move to a new state, you have to get a new license and perform any testing the new state requires. Even though with the license you have to surrender to the new state, you could drive your vehicle legally. Now you have to take a test proving you can drive your vehicle in your new state of residence!! It is NUTS!! I don't understand why when you move to a new state they can't honor the old states license and simply transfer them. If you have a motorcycle permit in your old state, the new state will honor that and transfer it to your new license, you don't have to retest for that. So why don't they transfer ALL permits to the new state? Anything you were legally permitted to operate in your old state, you can now operate in your new state. That seems reasonable to me. Ludicrous!!
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:23 PM   #12
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I hear you, John. The frustrating part is that when you move to a new state, you have to get a new license and perform any testing the new state requires..........,,So why don't they transfer ALL permits to the new state?....

REVENUE!!


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Old 10-21-2015, 05:16 PM   #13
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I recently took my test for the Class B Non-Commercial license in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This included an air brake test, emergency stop drill, a question and answer session and a driving test in the pouring rain. Talk about putting a guy under stress. After one hour and driving through narrow streets in Carlisle, I was awarded my Class B license. To say the least, I am as proud as getting my license at 16 exactly 50 years ago. Being a retired LEO I knew it best to be legal and I think everyone who is required should go through the process and get your license. It really feels great to know that your have the proper credentials.


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Old 10-21-2015, 05:38 PM   #14
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I recently took my test for the Class B Non-Commercial license in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This included an air brake test, emergency stop drill, a question and answer session and a driving test in the pouring rain. Talk about putting a guy under stress. After one hour and driving through narrow streets in Carlisle, I was awarded my Class B license. To say the least, I am as proud as getting my license at 16 exactly 50 years ago. Being a retired LEO I knew it best to be legal and I think everyone who is required should go through the process and get your license. It really feels great to know that your have the proper credentials.


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Yep, I know what you mean about stress. Congrats on passing your test. Sounds like it was pretty intense!! I didn't pass my test the first time, I hit a curb and that was an automatic fail. I retested Monday and passed it this time. I had the examiner and two trainees riding along when I retested. So I had three people watching my every turn and lane change!! That was stressful. I'm sure glad that is over and now I'm legal. I didn't worry so much about getting a ticket.....I've been driving for years and years and aside from getting TWO tickets within two months 25 years ago when I bought a red sports car (yeah we know you LEO's target red sports cars!!!) I haven't had a ticket or even been stopped since. So the ticket wasn't a motivator for getting the RV license. I worry about if I were to get into an accident the liability for driving without the proper license. You know that is going to be the first thing out of the mouth of the attorney of the person involved in an accident with me. "Are you properly licensed to drive that RV?" If the answer were to be "No", I'd be up the proverbial creek!! Then I'd get a ticket and be sued. Anyway, now I don't have to worry about that.
Bill
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