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Old 12-14-2006, 03:40 AM   #1
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How many of you Excel owners from Texas have gotten your "Non CDL Class A Drivers License"¯? Also be advised that Texas has a requirement for the trailer to be inspected every year and the inspection sticker be displayed on the street side of the pin box. Here is the wording from the DPS handbook regarding the license requirement.

"Class A driver license permits a person to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds; including a vehicle included in a class B or class C, except a motorcycle or moped."¯

Keep in mind that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), uses the GVWR for all calculations of weight for both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Typical example of what DPS uses: Ford F350 CC, 4X4, LWB, PSD = GVWR 13,000#. Excel Limited 35 MKO = GVWR 17,500#. Total 30,500# 4,499# over the requirement for the Class A. As you can see, almost any Excel and one ton DRW truck combination will drive you into the Class A requirement.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:40 AM   #2
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How many of you Excel owners from Texas have gotten your "Non CDL Class A Drivers License"¯? Also be advised that Texas has a requirement for the trailer to be inspected every year and the inspection sticker be displayed on the street side of the pin box. Here is the wording from the DPS handbook regarding the license requirement.

"Class A driver license permits a person to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds; including a vehicle included in a class B or class C, except a motorcycle or moped."¯

Keep in mind that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), uses the GVWR for all calculations of weight for both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Typical example of what DPS uses: Ford F350 CC, 4X4, LWB, PSD = GVWR 13,000#. Excel Limited 35 MKO = GVWR 17,500#. Total 30,500# 4,499# over the requirement for the Class A. As you can see, almost any Excel and one ton DRW truck combination will drive you into the Class A requirement.
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Old 12-14-2006, 04:44 AM   #3
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Excellent point Bob and a requirement that most 5th=wheel RV'ers are not aware that they are not in compliance.

Illinois has a similar statute:
"CLASS A: Any combination of motor vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, providing that the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs. Does not include motorcycles or motor-driven cycles. (A CDL is generally required.)"

In Illinois, a CDL is not required for non-commercial RV towing.
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Old 12-14-2006, 05:46 AM   #4
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Trying to find someone at the DPS that understands this, is like looking for a snow flake in Texas in August.

My conbined GVWR is 25,900#, 100# under the requirement.

Ken
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:20 AM   #5
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As Ken said, my attempts to approach the DPS with this issue have been met with the "deer in the headlights" look!

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Old 12-14-2006, 06:35 AM   #6
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Well.....they knew all about it here in Fort Worth when I did it. It's pretty cut and dried when you read the Texas Drivers HandbookTexas Drivers Handbook
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:54 AM   #7
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Rusty,

Same here in Illinois -- you either get the puzzled look and/or they start off on another tangent that has absolutely nothing to do with obtaining a non-CDL Class A license.

I could provide a lengthy example of registering my Class 7 HDT as a MH in IL. However, I'm sure we've all had similar experiences in dealing with government bureaucracies. After much cussing, fussing, and discussing, I finally got the title and registration to reflect MH versus commercial truck.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:38 AM   #8
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Let me take a few lines and explain a little further why my situation left DPS eyes rolling:

1. If we look at GVWRs:

Truck GVWR = 10,500 lbs
Trailer GVWR = 16,000 lbs
Total GVWR = 26,500 lbs

Therefore a Class A non-CDL license IS required.

The problem with this is that part of the trailer's GVWR (2,000 lbs - see below) is carried by the truck as pin weight, so it's counted twice. The most the rig can actually weigh is:

2. Looking at GAWRs:

Truck front axle GAWR = 4,500 lbs
Truck rear axle GAWR = 7,500 lbs
Trailer axles total GAWR = 14,000 lbs
Total GAWR = 26,000 lbs

Therefore, a Class A non-CDL license is NOT required.

To look at the realistic situation:

3. Recognizing that the 5th wheel pin weight is carried by the truck:

Truck GVWR = 10,500 lbs
Trailer axles total GAWR = 14,000 lbs
Total rated rig weight = 24,500 lbs

Therefore, a Class A non-CDL license is NOT required.

The DPS personnel didn't know how to handle this situation, despite what the handbook showed.

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Old 12-14-2006, 08:53 AM   #9
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Rusty, that's not how Texas calculates it. For a Class A driver's license, it's simple addition:

GVWR of truck
plus
GVWR of trailer

If the above sum equals 26,001# or more, you need a Class A driver's license as long as the GVWR of the trailer is more than 10,000#.
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
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You're assuming that GCWR = GVWR + GVWR. That's not what Texas law says:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">GCWR means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination or articulated vehicle or, if the manufacturer has not specified a value, the sum of the gross vehicle weight rating of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit or units and any load on a towed unit. TEXAS TRANSPORTATION CODE SECTION 522.003. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Where the problem arose was how the "total weight of the towed unit" was defined; notice that it specifically does NOT say "gross vehicle weight rating of the towed unit".

That's where the conversation I described came about.

In any case, my truck's GCWR as specified by the manufacturer is less than 26,001 lbs, so by that definition above, a Class A non-CDL license is not required.

Rusty
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:57 AM   #11
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Rusty,

Just as an added note, when I finished and passed the written part of the test the DPS examiner used the GVWR off of the registration of the truck and the trailer, added them together and that was the verification for the Class A requirement. It just so happens that the registration of both actually reflected the correct GVWR.
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:02 AM   #12
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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 Highgturn:
Just as an added note, when I finished and passed the written part of the test the DPS examiner used the GVWR off of the registration of the truck and the trailer, added them together and that was the verification for the Class A requirement. It just so happens that the registration of both actually reflected the correct GVWR. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Not to beat a dead horse, but:

1. Your examiner must not have been familiar with Section 522.003 cited above.

2. The registered GVWR is an entirely different matter in most cases than the manufacturers' GVWRs for the truck and trailer. Most Texas registrations indicate whatever the clerk at the dealership entered in the GVWR blank when the original application for title was submitted.

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