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Old 03-16-2010, 08:36 PM   #29
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Rusty,
Isn't it strange that for the Class A it mentions GCVWR, and for the Class B it mentions GVW. Hmmm!
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:22 PM   #30
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I did my Class B in Beaumont in February. They do quite a few of them here and have two of the five examiners trained to handle CDL applications.

The manual is confusing because it appears to say that RV's for personal use are exempt. However, the DPS officer I spoke with said that has been revised by recent legislative changes (the manual is "out of date") and everybody driving a rig over 26,000 lbs needs to have the Class B.

As others have said, the process here in Beaumont was pretty simple, except you do have to make three trips. You need to come by once to take the written tests (there are four parts) and once that is passed, you have to schedule the driving test. Driving tests are "first come first served" to sign up and by the time you show up and take the written exam, the schedule is full for that day. So, you come back in the morning and stand in line to sign up for the driving test. They don't take reservations over the phone. But I suppose it's good practice for national health care. Anyway, once you get signed up, it's then just a matter of showing up with your MH to take the driving portion.

The tricky part here is that until you have your Class B, and assuming your rig is over 26,000 lbs (mine is 34,500 - hard to disguise) you can't legally drive your rig to the testing site by yourself if all you have is a Class C. Once you pass the written test, you can drive your heavy rig if you are accompanied by another driver who has a CDL. I had been told by my shop maintenance manager - who sends guys over to take CDL exams all the time - that some examiners make an issue of this and some don't. To be safe, I "recruited" one of our qualifed shop hands to ride with me while I picked up the coach and drove it back over to DPS office for the test.

The examiner did ask how I got the coach to the testing site and I introduced her to my qualified CDL driver and that seemed to satisfy her question. I can't say if she would have flunked me if I had not had the other driver with me.

The test itself was as described by others. This examiner did ask to see the safety triangles and wanted to know the rules for deployment. She also asked quite a few questions about air brakes. She checked all the lights and had me demonstrate that the air brakes would lock on their own when pressure dropped too low, etc.

There was no parallel parking, although others in my rally group had reported that they had to demonstrate that "skill". I did have to back up about twenty feet and then take a half hour cruise around town.

Overall, not a bad experience, but having to make three trips to the office to get it all done was a bit of a hassle. It is a relief to have it finished.

One downside, once you have a CDL in Texas, you are ineligible for getting tickets dismissed by taking Defensive Driving. Every one counts! Also, you get to pay about double what you would pay for a Class C license every five years (used to be every six years).
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:04 PM   #31
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Dan and Linda,
Please re-read what Rusty posted concerning code. A CDL is not needed for an RV.
You are correct in that anyone driving a rig over 26001 pounds needs at least a class B, and the towed vehicle weighs less than 10,000 pounds.

There are two sections pertaining to drivers licenses that are important to us in Texas:

CLASSIFIED DRIVER LICENSE (Texas Transportation Code, Section 521)

COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE (CDL) - (Transportation Code, Chapter
522)

Note that the Chapter 521 is for Class A and Class B and does not apply to CDL

Chapter 522 is the CDL portion and it states exemptions there but that does not negate the need for a Class B or Class A, just not a need for CDL.

Happy trails.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:13 PM   #32
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Wayne -

I understand and agree with your point, but I wanted the CDL for other reasons, and not just the Class B. At our office here in Beaumont, the steps would have been the same regardless of which classification.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #33
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Am I reading that requirement right. If your tow vehicle is more than 10,000 lbs you can use a A license but if it's less you need a B?
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:09 PM   #34
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If what you're towing has a GVWR of over 10,000 lbs and your towing vehicle GCWR is 26,001 lbs or greater, a Class A is required. If your towed load has a GVWR up to 10,000 lbs and your towing vehicle GVWR (don't know why they didn't stick with GCWR) is 26,001 lbs or greater, a Class B will suffice. If your towing vehicle GCWR is less than 26,001 lbs regardless of towed load weight or GVWR, a standard Class C license is all you need.

A Class A license will cover Class A, Class B and Class C vehicle configurations. A Class B license is valid for Class B and Class C vehicle configurations.

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Old 03-26-2010, 09:14 AM   #35
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Here's another reason I use South Dakota as a domicile. I emailed the DMV of SD to just check whether I needed a class B or C license. Here's the response:
Daniel,
According to SDCL 32-12A-9, you are not required to have a commercial driver license.
South Dakota Codified Law 32-12A-9. Operators exempt from provisions of chapter. The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
(1) Operators involved in farm to market transportation movements, at least sixteen years of age holding a valid operator's license, limited to those operators of a farm vehicle:
(a) Controlled and operated by a farmer;
(b) Used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm; and
(c) Not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier;
(2) Operators of emergency fire fighting equipment necessary to the preservation of life or property or the execution of emergency governmental functions performed under emergency conditions that are not subject to normal traffic regulation, or nonemergency conditions when operated by members of a fire fighting agency;
(3) Operators of commercial motor vehicles for military purposes including:
(a) Active duty military personnel;
(b) Members of the military reserves;
(c) Members of the national guard on active duty, including personnel on full-time national guard duty, personnel on part-time national guard training and national guard military technicians (civilians who are required to wear military uniforms); and
(d) Active duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel;
(4) Operators of recreational vehicles; and
(5) Operators of rental transporting equipment used as personal family use vehicles.
United States reserve technicians are not exempt under the provisions of subdivision (3) of this section.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:31 AM   #36
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I had the exact same experience in Livingston as Rick in December. Read the book pages the lady told me to read, passed the written exam, took the driving test with the other lady and she took me around town to make sure I stopped at lights and signs, used the correct lanes and signals and could back up OK. Also, the vehicle inspection for the license plates was not much more than I do everytime I hook up my toad and start out in the morning. Lights, signals, horn, brakes etc.

I was really nervous after reading all the posts about getting everything done in Texas and allowed 7 days in case anything messed up. Did everything in 1 day and only spent 2 nights at Escapees. All-in-all a great experience.

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Old 03-26-2010, 09:44 PM   #37
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Welcome neighbor - we live "just down the street" from you on Rainbow Drive.

People sometimes make things harder than they are. I always wonder about people who are so afraid to take a driving test to show they can handle their rig - is there something everyone else on the road should know?

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Old 05-07-2010, 05:50 PM   #38
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Butch

I too had an experience obtaining a Class B - Non-Commerical Drivers License in the state of Texas. When I purchased my 40' DVS 31,000 pound GVWR American Dream I was told by the salesman that I only needed a Class C "regular" driver's license. So I have been driving around the country thinking I was legal....it's a good thing I wasn't stopped. If it hadn't been for this website and FMCA article I would still be driving illegally.

According to Texas Department of Safety I needed to obtain a Class B - Non Commerical Driver's License. CLASS B: Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, any one of those vehicles towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, and any vehicle designed to transport 24 passengers or more, including the driver; and a Class B license will be restriced to operating busses under 26,001 pounds GVWR if the skills test is taken in a bus with a GVWR of less that 26,001 pounds...."

Also according to the DPS all drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle (see definition on page 1-1 of the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook) will be required to have a Commercial Driver License (CDL) by April 1, 1992. The law does provide for some exemptions. If the driver meets one or more of the criteria listed below, he will not be required to have a CDL. However, the driver will be required to have a Class A, B, or C Non-CDL License.

Persons operating the following vehilcles are exempt from a Commercial Driver License: (4) A recreational vehicle that is driven for person use.

This morning I went to Cedar Hill, Texas Driver License facility and took my written test and once I passed that I came back in the afternoon and took my driving test which consisted of a safety test (turn signals, headlights, brake lights etc). Then I had to back about 75 feet between two yellow lines, then I had to parallel park within a designated area without the tires touching the yellow line. Then we went on a road test on secondary roads and residentual areas.

I have to say both examiners at the Driver's License facility were polite and very business like. I told my wife afterwards even if I failed the tests I would still have to say how courteous both of these individuals were.

Well anyway I am now legal for at least the next 6 years!
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:49 PM   #39
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It you had taken your test in Livingston or Tyler you won't have been asked to parallel park. Not sure why other areas think this is necessary - how often do you see someone in a Class A parallel parking in town?

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:17 AM   #40
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I agree with you. I don't think I will EVER parallel park it again. I told the examiner prior to the parallel test this is the first and last time this will ever be done by me. My wife was watching and she said "you were perfect".....but I already knew that.....hmmm maybe she was talking about my parallel parking.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:59 PM   #41
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I never thought I would have to parallel park. Then, we stayed at Lunga Park, Quantico, VA, Site #2. yup, It was as close to parallel that I ever want to get, so it does pay to know how to do it. You just never know. Oh! And I would not change sites because #2 was the best one in the park. Fifty yards down to the water, and the closes RV was 75 or more yards in any direction from me.

And you don't need any special license, you just need to know how to drive.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:32 AM   #42
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Just a little clarification?

If I drive through Texas on a SD license and stopped would be required
to get a Texas class b update or stamp on my SD license? (or is this just
for Texas residences)?
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