Planocat

Finally Legal To Drive My Motorhome Licensed In Texas

64 posts in this topic

Well, I have joined what seems to be a minority group in Texas........ legally licensed to drive my diesel pusher that weighs over 26,000 lbs. I opted for a Class A license over the Class B so I can now tow a trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs - which I'm sure I won't do. But, all procedures to obtaining a Class A and Class B are the same. So, I figured why not go for the A.

Written test was very easy....... just study the CDL handbook and in particular, chapter 15.

Once the written test is passed, they will give you a new driver's license with a "learner's permit" for Class A noted. Ironically, the driver's license showed the learner's permit expired in 30 days. Strange, because the paperwork showing you passed the written portion says you have 90 days to take the road test........ go figure. Last year when I went through the process, there was no mention of the new driver's license with learner's permit. I did not take the driver's test in 2012. So I had to start all over in 2013.

I booked the road test on line which is a very nice feature of the process. Arrived to take the test and had to fill out more paperwork as the learner's permit had gone over 30 days and expired. But when I showed them the paperwork stating I had 90 days to take the road test, they had me fill out some more paperwork and allowed the test to proceed as scheduled.

The road test was simple. Safety inspection of vehicle horn, lights, etc, check for current registration and inspection sticker, chock the wheels, test the air brake system, and off you go on an approximate 8 or 10 mile drive in the city and freeway. Done deal. Examiner was very nice and specific about what she wanted done.

They cutup my DL and gave me a paper version showing I was now licensed for Class A (non-CDL) and said I would have a new license in about 2 weeks. (last license showing the learner's permit came in 10 days). (Update - this permanent license arrived in 9 days.)

So, I am now legal. $22 in fees and little time but I now have no worries about the insurance company having a "gotcha clause" by driving a vehicle I am not legally licensed to drive. That was my real motivation for getting the license.

Sorry for the length........ but there is so much confusion among drivers, dealers advice, and the Department of Public Safety that I thought inquiring minds would like to know!

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I had to do that in NC but when we moved to NM, DMV just took my old NC license and issued a regular operator license, told me I did not need a class A here. Sure wish all states would operate on the same channel......

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Congratulations! I too had to go for my class A in Texas. Besides towing a trailer, a car towed behind the RV also requires the class A license in Texas. I also read the fine print in my insurance policy where it states that the driver of the RV will operate the RV in accordance to the state requirements or not be covered in the case of an accident. When I checked further, that meant that I needed the proper license in the state. I surely did not want a loophole for the insurance to void a policy if there was a wreck - being the coach value was well over $400,000.

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Wow! I wish I lived in TX. You should try this in CA. Almost no one at the CA DMV, even in Sacramento, knows about Class B non-commercial license and when they say they do, they are invariably proven wrong later by someone else. With a scheduled appointment, for taking the written test only, 2 pleasurable hours, (yeah right!) went by to take a 10 minute exam. It took them over an hour to find a person who knew which test to have us take, and then some more time to even locate the test itself. The nice lady behind the counter said she has been at this DMV location for over 8 years and this is only the 2nd request for a Class B non-commercial license she has handled.

Thank goodness we had an appointment, otherwise I would have needed a sleeping bag and tent, because we couldn't bring and sleep in our motor home because I'm not yet licensed to drive it!!!

We still have to take the actual driving test.....can't wait to see if the DMV employee/examiner will know the front of the motor home from the back because it could make a huge determination whether I pass that part of the test.

And we have to do all of this because it is the law in CA!

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JJ777-I don't know where your generator is located, but if it's in the front of your coach, I dare you to open this up to the driving inspector and tell them this is your engine!

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When Louise and I moved to Texas, we went to the license bureau, stood in line for an hour and a half and then presented our South Dakota drivers license, a regular drivers license like every car driver in South Dakota has. The kind lady at the counter called someone and verified that it was indeed the required license to drive a Class A motor home over 26,000 pounds and we were given a Texas Class B Non Commercial Drivers License, no test, written or driving.

We could have had a Class A if we wanted but didn't need it to tow our car. You only need a Class A if what you are towing is over 10,000 pounds. So if you are from out of state and have the proper license for driving your motor home in the state you are coming from your license will translate into the license you need in Texas without all the testing.

I know it sounds crazy but that is Texas!

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There is a reciprocal agreement between states. If you are licensed correctly in your state, then you are licenesed correctly in the other states.

Texas requirements for a Class A - GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds AND the towed item weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

Texas requirements for a Class B- GVWR of 26,001 or more and the towed item is less than 10,000 pounds (Fits most of us.)

For Info

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Okay, so we just moved to the Dallas TX area back in November. We use our class A DP for our work/ Business. Turns out I have to get this CDL license as well. I printed off the 155 pg manual yesterday.

I don't mind telling you that I am a little intimidated.

I've been driving our coach for over 4 years and I'm happy to report I have managed to avoid plowing into the back of every Toyota Prius that has cut me off and then slammed on their brakes!

One question I have is this. I'm pretty sure I can pass the written test once I've studied all 155 pgs of the manual. (by the way, there isn't a chapter 15 in my copy, could you tell me the title of the section 15 you mentioned?).

So my question is this. Once I get my "learners permit" do I need to have someone that has the appropriate license drive my coach to the driving test? If so, any thoughts on how to go about that?

And another question, has anyone ever had to parallel park their coach? Like ever??? Can't believe that is part of the test!

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Chapter 15 is in the smaller yellow manual which was given to me at the DPS office. It is by far easier to follow than the revised white version that only goes through chapter 14. The gal at the office who was the only one who understood what a non-CDL class A or B license is gave it to me.

Maybe you can show them this picture and ask for the yellow manual.

post-22966-0-52347100-1377012395_thumb.j

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As the OP indicated he uses his MH for work/business and may well need the CDL

I believe that the CDL manual has not changes as that is pretty much regulated by federal law, however the regular Texas Driver's License manual was updated early in 2012 and superceeds the other previous manuals. Just be aware. One can search for the words, 'Texas Driver's License Manual' or 'Texas CDL Driver's License Manual' and get the most current version of the TDPS web site.

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Yes, there may have been 2 revisions since the yellow book, but I'll stand by my statement. The easiest way to pass the written test is to get your hands on a yellow book and study chapter 15. That will cover all the questions on the test.

There might be a circumstance where a CDL is required, but I traveled in a motorhome for 20+ years in my business and didn't need a CDL. I chose a motorhome for showing my product to accounts over setting up in motels and pulling a trailer behind my truck. I was legal until I passed the 26,001 lb border. Then I needed the Class A or B non-CDL license. Your mileage may vary.

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What anyone does is their own business and I will say to you, congratulations in that you never had to prove licensing requirements. It happens that way most of the time.

However the legal status states that if you are using a vehicle for business purposes you "may" (Note I said may as in my original post,) need a CDL. The "may" part is my wording. Ignorance of the law is still not an excuse in most courts. If it were me and I was not positive I'd ask the DMV clerk to give me a written statement covering all aspects of my work/business, RV, and that I did not need a CDL. I will bet dollars to donuts that it will never be given.

I don't believe they give out the little yellow books anymore. If a standard Class A or B license is needed study the entire CDL manual, you can't go wrong and there is good information to learn.

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Hope that I never have to take up residence in one of those states that require class A or B or CDL. As an Alabama resident I am not required to have a special license for a motorhome. I had to have a chauffeurs license in Florida, as I worked where I drove large equipment, this was pre CDL. If I had remained in Florida, it would have grandfathered to CDL. But when I moved back to Alabama I had to surrender the chauffeur license to Alabama as no chauffeur license was required at the time to drive anything that was drivable in the state. Now that CDL has become federal law, I tried to upgrade to a CDL, but was refused as I became Diabetic during the course of all of the above. Now a diabetic can obtain a CDL as long as he can maintain the diabetes with the pill. I was on the pill, but I had diabetic episodes many times because of the pill. After going on insulin, never had another episode. But CDL requirements will not allow a diabetic on insulin to get a CDL, go figure.

So I guess that I will have to drive my motorhome with my good old Alabama license.

Glad you are finally legal and happy trails, Kay

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Now I am really confused .. after having our 2001 Monaco Windsor 40 foot diesel pusher for one year we just now learn this? We were told by many we did not require, in Texas, a CDL license! We do not tow anything with our pleasure RV nor do we ever have more than 4 total people inside while driving. I guess I will have to call tomorrow to confirm. Dang ..

All of the examples in the link, provided above, reflects an RV above 26,001 pounds and 'towing' a vehicle. Wondering if that is the reason why or if we were told incorrectly and I've been lucky not to receive a traffic ticket. Yikes ....

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Actually what you need in Texas is not a CDL but a non-commercial version of same. You will need a Class A license if you tow more than 10,000 pounds with your coach. If your coach is more than 26,001 pounds you need a Class B license. Your class B will entitle you to tow a toad or trailer up to 9999 pounds. Even if you don't tow, if your coach is over 26,001 pounds you need the Class B license.

I think part of the reason for confusion with this issue is that RV's are a teeny tiny portion of the whole vehicle market. There are hundreds of millions of cars, millions of big trucks, a few hundred thousand motor homes and only a few of those are the really big motor homes. Think about how long you drive on the highway and how many vehicles you pass or meet before you see another big coach.

I guess a clerk in some license offices can go for years without having someone come in to license a Class A motor home and then only a few of those are over 26,001 pounds. So if you ask your local clerk they may be totally clueless. Reading the Texas drivers license rules on this matter require some legal training (it takes careful reading and study of the whole set of laws applying to large vehicles to get to the bottom line). Even some license office clerks who think they know the answer don't know. Every motor home dealer in Texas should know what is required but the incompetent or disreputable dealer or salesman may not give you the information. Caveat emptor!

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Why are you confused?

You live in Texas.
You have a motorhome that weighs in excess of 26,001 pounds and use it for recreational purposes only.
To legally operate your vehicle:
You are required by law to have a class B non-CDL license whether you tow something or not.
If you tow a trailer in excess of 10,000 pounds, you are required to have class A non-CDL license.

End of story.

It doesn't matter what your salesman told you. I personally believe that if you have a catastrophic claim, the insurance company could deny your claim on the grounds that you were not legally licensed to drive your vehicle. Some would disagree with that statement but I have enough experience with insurance companies to know they don't have all those lawyers on staff to be on the policyholders side. And just like the RV salesman, your agents interpretation means nothing when it's time to pay the claim.

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TButler, I want to say thank you very much for a very helpful post it is certainly appreciated. For some of us newbies entering the Class 'A' world, not to mention newbie to RVing period, we come here seeking advice, clarification and some mentoring if at all possible. Thank you again.

For those others .. it eludes me as to why some posters feel the need to use, "You live in Texas" and "End of story". Simply post your knowledge, experiences and of course humor is always appreciated, leaving out the snippets. Everyone doesn't have 20-30 years experience .. but we are certainly working on it!

To: Plano Cat ...

My confusion .. RV purchased out-of-state and brought home to Texas. The out-of-state RV dealer stated a CDL was not required in Texas (he was a former Texas resident) and nothing was mentioned regarding a non-CDL license. The very verbiage of a non-CDL license, to me, is indicative of a normal car license (Class 'C'). The DPS handbook for CDL, under 'Prologue', page IV paragraph titled, "Who is exempt from a CDL? (Certification form CDL-2required)" reads ... 4. A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use! The next section, "Different Classes of Commercial Driver License" reflects, ...

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 24passengers or more, including the driver; and aClass B license
will be restricted to operating buses under 26,001 pounds GVWR if the skills test is taken in a bus with a GVWR of less than26,001 pounds; and ...
No where do I see a reference for "non-CDL Class B licensing" within the Texas DPS Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook .. thus my confusion!

I personally believe that if you have a catastrophic claim, the insurance company could deny your claim on the grounds that you were not legally licensed to drive your vehicle.

I agree with you regarding the insurance statement and licensing issues.

Update (as of 8/23/2013 at 12:15PM): I wanted to share with those interessted the following information: I called Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) this afternoon and spoke with a Texas DPS Officer. He stated, "One does NOT require a CDL or any other driving license classification (other than a Class 'C') if one drives a Recreational Vehicle for pleasure/personal use and it's not towing/hauling anything or using it for a business or other commercial purpose(s)". Based upon this information, I then contacted my RV insurance company and they stated, "as long as I am licensed in accordance to the laws of my state (DPS states that I am with a class 'C') of residency and hold the proper insurance coverages both my Texas Class 'C' and current insurance coverages are legal and valid wherever I travel (USA). I am sure if I travel outside those borders, such as Mexico or Canada ... additional insurance 'may' be required.

Regardless of the type of state license/classification one holds, I do agree the Texas DPS Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook, or the one for your state of residency, contains information that is very valuable and can help educate RV drivers to some aspects of their rigs. One thing comes to mind, air brake inspection.

Thank you one and all for the feedback and information. I've learned a lot today.

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Sorry you took offense at my failed sense of humor from the movie Fargo. And stating that you live in Texas is meant to say disregard anything posted regarding other state's requirements - you must abide by Texas laws - no other state matters. Only trying to help you become legal. As stated by others, many within the DPS don't know ALL the rules when it comes to RV's.

PLEASE go to this link from the DPS and read it. It spells it out as clearly as can be found. The ONLY reason the CDL comes into play for this discussion is because that is where the information upon which you will be tested is found.

If you take the time to read this link, you will see what is required. Your insurance agent only stated you are covered within the policy if you are within the law. Driving a motorhome exceeding 26,001 pounds requires an A or B license and here is that documentation:

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/dlClasses.htm

Again, I apologize for offending you...... after reading the above, I think you will see who is right. And yes, I have driven many miles illegally, thus the title of my original post. Here is the opening paragraph of that post:

"Well, I have joined what seems to be a minority group in Texas........ legally licensed to drive my diesel pusher that weighs over 26,000 lbs. I opted for a Class A license over the Class B so I can now tow a trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs - which I'm sure I won't do. But, all procedures to obtaining a Class A and Class B are the same. So, I figured why not go for the A""

Planocat

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Plano Cat;

Thank you for the apology .. and further information. The movie Fargo was a great movie.

I sent an email requesting written clarification as there appears to be a contradiction. The link above you provided does clear it up, but why would the Commercial Drivers Handbook state we're exempt?

Anyways, I also sent it to the Police Department who handles Commercial DOT infractions etc.. If I need the license, I guess I will have to study the book again. I passed the Class 'A' written test once a long time ago, but could not find a truck to take my test back then. I understand now, an adjacent city has a loaner truck for that purpose, but now I would just use my RV for the driving test.

I will update with the DPS written response.

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"The link above you provided does clear it up, but why would the Commercial Drivers Handbook state we're exempt?"

I believe the CDL handbook is only stating that you are exempt from a CDL Class A or B. It does not mean you are exempt from a Class A or B license. When you do the paperwork to take the test, you have to sign a form that gives multiple reasons for being exempt from a CDL license. One of those choices is a Recreational Vehicle for personal use. You must check that box and sign the form in order to proceed with the process.

Agreed, you do not need a CDL version of the A or B license. You do need an A or B license. When you request clarification from the DPS authorities be sure and let them know that your vehicle weighs over 26,001 pounds. Without that weight stated in your inquiry, you could be given the wrong information regarding your motorhome.

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There is a reciprocal agreement between states. If you are licensed correctly in your state, then you are licenesed correctly in the other states.

Texas requirements for a Class A - GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds AND the towed item weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
Texas requirements for a Class B- GVWR of 26,001 or more and the towed item is less than 10,000 pounds (Fits most of us.)

For Info

Seems the link I posted is identical to the one Planocat posted. Must be great minds.

Whe does it state in the CDL portion of the manual that RV's are exempt. Probably because a business can own an RV but it is being driven for personal use and is exempt from the CDL requirements. Just my assumption. Somewhere else I have posted a link that Texas describes any vehicle that is 26,001 pounds or greater as a Commercial Vehicle. I'll see if I can find that again. That would also explain the "exemption."

Strange, I have never had to fill out form CDL-2 for any Class A or B license I have ever obtained.

Also, please consider that an RV weighing 15000 pounds towing s trailer weighing 11001 pounds requires a Class A, or a Class A CDL. It is a combination of vehicles weighing in excess of 26,001 pounds and the towed vehicle is over 10000 pounds. Many miss that aspect of it.

Some more information of the definition of a commercial vehicle:

(bold emphasis is mine)
There is a federal requirement that each state have minimum standards for the licensing of commercial drivers. This manual provides driver license testing information for drivers who wish to have a commercial driver license (CDL). This manual does NOT provide information on all the federal and state requirements needed before you can drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You may have to contact your state driver licensing authority for additional information.

You must have a CDL to operate:
A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds.

A trailer with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds if the gross combination weight rating is more than 26,000 pounds.

A vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver.

Any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials placards.

(Your state may have additional definitions of CMVs.)

[uNQUOTE}

Sources: Texas CDL Drivers License DL-7C-1.pdf. (This book was referenced in the Texas Drivers License DL-7.pdf (Revised July 2012))

So, any vehicle that is over 26000 pounds is considereda commercial vehicle. That is why they have the exemptions section for RV's and other equipment.

The above is only for informaiton. Laws change, publications change, ingnorance of the law has never been an excuse. It is the discussions regarding drivers licenses that keep us abreast of current regulations. I hope.

Happy trails.

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I will proceed on Monday and pickup the necessary study material/handbook and move on to the Class 'A' non-CDL as Plano-Cat opted for and join the minority. I truly did not want to have to take a driving test. Oh well ..

My rig is 35,800 pounds combined weight and I do not tow. So do I get a CDL Class 'A' or a non-CDL Class 'A' if I want to tow? Also, what type of safety sticker does one have for Class 'A' over 26,001? I was given, twice in Texas, the Commercial Safety Inspection sticker.

Thanks all

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Non-CDL license A or B

First I have ever heard of that type of inspection sticker on a motorhome. Being a diesel, I have only needed the basic non-emissions safety inspection sticker......same as for my motorcycle. $14.50 instead of $39.95 as I recall. Only thing I know of that's cheaper than gas on a diesel. LOL.

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Where does one go to get regular inspection sticker? Both places seemed to only see I was over26, 001 lbs and argued I only get a commercial inspection sticker.

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