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Old 03-28-2008, 03:21 PM   #1
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Recently a well-known Tejano musician in Houston, Texas wrecked his tour bus at a very dangerous intersection of I-610 and I-59N. Even for people who drive this route regularly, it is a very dangerous place.
The news reported that he was driving without the proper license.
When I bought my Diplomat in February, I asked the salesman if I needed a special license to drive this bus. He assured me that my present Class C license was enough since the MH was a privately owned vehicle not used for commerce.
In the wake of the Tejano musician's tragic accident, I asked the State Patrolman who is in charge of our local DMV. He handed me a study pamphlet for a Class A/B CDL license and informs me that yes, I must have a non-CDL license, and that this is a National licensing requirement.

How many of us, I wonder, are driving a MH over 26,000 lbs without a Class B Non-CDL? Conversely, how many of us did not know that we should have one?
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:21 PM   #2
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Recently a well-known Tejano musician in Houston, Texas wrecked his tour bus at a very dangerous intersection of I-610 and I-59N. Even for people who drive this route regularly, it is a very dangerous place.
The news reported that he was driving without the proper license.
When I bought my Diplomat in February, I asked the salesman if I needed a special license to drive this bus. He assured me that my present Class C license was enough since the MH was a privately owned vehicle not used for commerce.
In the wake of the Tejano musician's tragic accident, I asked the State Patrolman who is in charge of our local DMV. He handed me a study pamphlet for a Class A/B CDL license and informs me that yes, I must have a non-CDL license, and that this is a National licensing requirement.

How many of us, I wonder, are driving a MH over 26,000 lbs without a Class B Non-CDL? Conversely, how many of us did not know that we should have one?
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:37 PM   #3
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I'm not sure all states have adopted the Federal guideline for the Class B Exemption but I'm sure the Feds are putting the pressure on. When we purchased our coach I was told that only an operators license was required. After some digging I found out otherwise. The TexDOT license manual is somewhat vague so I visited the local office and talked to the Supervisor and found out that a Class B Exemption is required. It is NOT a CDL however. The bus that crashed in Houston was a 45 ft with tag axle which required a full CDL.
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:59 PM   #4
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No national requirement in Florida. Only requirement is a Class "E", same as a car. There used to be a Class "D" for non-commercial over 8,001 lbs. Talked to the local Highway Patrol Captain and he requested an Attorney General's written opinion, which said only Class "E" required for an RV. Couple of years ago FL did away with the "D", so no more question.
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:40 AM   #5
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There is no national requirement for non-CDL licenses.

Each state has their own rules, and some require a higher class of license and some exempt RV drivers.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:45 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Route 66:
There is no national requirement for non-CDL licenses.

Each state has their own rules, and some require a higher class of license and some exempt RV drivers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Yep. Here is a list of individual state requirements from the "Changin' Gears" web site (Other useful information there as well.) Interestingly, only 12 states (plus DC and HI) require special driver's licenses for RV's. I would have thought it would be more. The states are CA,CT,IL,KS,MD,NC,NV,NY,PA,SC,TX,and WY. (WI only if &gt;45') My guess is that the law is not strongly enforced in several of those states, but the problem there is that if live in one of those, and have an accident, the lawyers will get you.

I've been driving a motorhome since 1999 and never knew I needed a Class B non-CDL until this winter when I was reading a similir discussion in another thread. Now that I know , I guess it's on my TO-DO list for this Spring.
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Old 03-29-2008, 05:17 AM   #7
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There's a lot of misinformation being thrown around the Houston area about Emilio's crash. The Bellaire police have even said that he wasn't properly licensed since he had a Class A license and needed a Class B to drive his bus.

The information below is taken directly from the Texas Transportation Code as it applies to non-commercial drivers' licenses - those that would apply to us RVers:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
SUBCHAPTER D. CLASSIFICATION OF DRIVER'S LICENSES


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, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


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, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


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, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


521.084. CLASS M LICENSE. A Class M driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate a motorcycle or moped.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


521.085. TYPE OF VEHICLE AUTHORIZED. Unless prohibited by Chapter 522, the license holder may operate any vehicle of the type for which that class of license is issued and any lesser type of vehicle other than a motorcycle or moped.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Insofar as Emilio's case is concerned, here's the section dealing with CDLs:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
SUBCHAPTER D. CLASSIFICATION, ENDORSEMENT, OR RESTRICTION OF LICENSE


522.041. CLASSIFICATIONS.

(a) The department may issue a Class A, Class B, or Class C commercial driver's license.

(b) Class A covers a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, if the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle or vehicles exceeds 10,000 pounds.

(c) Class B covers:

(1) a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more;

(2) a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less; and

(3) a vehicle designed to transport 24 passengers or more, including the driver.

(d) Class C covers a single vehicle or combination of vehicles not described by Subsection (b) or (c) that is:

(1) designed to transport 16-23 passengers, including the driver; or

(2) used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under 49 C.F.R. Part 172, Subpart F.

(e) The holder of a commercial driver's license may drive any vehicle in the class for which the license is issued and lesser classes of vehicles except a motorcycle or moped. The holder may drive a motorcycle only if authorization to drive a motorcycle is shown on the commercial driver's license and the requirements for issuance of a motorcycle license have been met.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Therefore, if Emilio had a Class A CDL, he was legal to drive a Class B vehicle.


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Old 03-29-2008, 07:33 AM   #8
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Rusty,
Absolutely, he was legally driving the bus. I stand corrected on the vehicle size requiring a CDL. I looked at the TXDOT DL handbook and it looks like he would have been legal with a Class B non-CDL. Am I reading it correctly? At one time I thought length figured into the CDL requirement but it looks like that is not the case, at least any longer.

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Old 03-29-2008, 08:05 AM   #9
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The only reason Emilio would have needed a CDL would be if the authorities ruled that the vehicle was being used in a commercial venture. The length of the vehicle has nothing to do with the CDL versus non-CDL issue.

He're's the section of the Texas Transportation Code dealing with when a CDL is not required - notice the RV exemption:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
522.004. APPLICABILITY.

Text of subsection effective on January 1, 2008

(a) This chapter does not apply to:

(1) a vehicle that is controlled and operated by a farmer and:

(A) used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm;

(B) used within 150 miles of the person's farm; and

(C) not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier;

(2) a fire-fighting or emergency vehicle necessary to the preservation of life or property or the execution of emergency governmental functions, whether operated by an employee of a political subdivision or by a volunteer fire fighter;

(3) a military vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle, when operated for military purposes by military personnel, including:

(A) active duty military personnel, including personnel serving in the United States Coast Guard; and

(B) members of the reserves and national guard on active duty, including personnel on full-time national guard duty, personnel engaged in part-time training, and national guard military technicians;

(4) a recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use;

(5) a vehicle that is owned, leased, or controlled by an air carrier, as defined by Section 21.155, and that is driven or operated exclusively by an employee of the air carrier only on the premises of an airport, as defined by Section 22.001, on service roads to which the public does not have access; or

(6) a vehicle used exclusively to transport seed cotton modules or cotton burrs.

(b) In this section, "recreational vehicle" means a motor vehicle primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreational camping or travel use. The term includes a travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, and motor home.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1061, 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 357, 2, eff. September 1, 2005. Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 424, 4, eff. January 1, 2008.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>


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Old 03-30-2008, 09:12 PM   #10
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This subject came up in some earlier posts.

See:

http://irv2.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4481082232/m/...10876341#76210876341

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Old 03-31-2008, 05:48 PM   #11
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Yes, we both have our correct licenses. We have Class A non-CDL, so that we can pull a heavier trailer/car if we needed to do so. You will need to take a written and driving test. I would recommend you not do so in a big town. We did ours in Tyler, people there couldn't have been nicer and you do the written on the computer (skip any answers you are uncertain of, and when you get 14 correct, the test stops), nice well laid out driving course that covers city streets and 2 and 4 lane county roads. If you can handle your rig, you won't have any problems with the tests.

BTW - The first mistake is believing a salesman on ANYTHING!

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