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Herman:

I have a couple of questions as I inquired about a class A license last week. The Plano office was jammed with 100+ people waiting for their number to be called. They basically threw the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook at me and said "read this".

1. Why did you opt for the class B over the class A?

2. You make no mention of "air brakes" endorsement. Isn't that required with your rig?

3. Is there an office in Collin County that is less crowded than the one in Plano? It's always a zoo! What was your wait time in McKinney?

4. Since you referenced Chapter 15 and the brochure they gave me only goes through Section 14, you must have another book that I need. Can you tell me what your book with chapter 15 is called?

Just got off the phone with the McKinney office. Had a very knowledgeable gal. She answered several questions and I learned that I can't get a class B license without taking the test in a class B type vehicle. She suggested renting one for a day!

Right now I can't even legally test drive a unit I am looking to buy. Not too cool.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Planocat

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Herman:

I have a couple of questions as I inquired about a class A license last week. The Plano office was jammed with 100+ people waiting for their number to be called. They basically threw the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook at me and said "read this".

1. Why did you opt for the class B over the class A? Class "B" is for driving a personal vehicle that weighs more then 26,000lbs. Class "A" is for driving a personal vehicle that weighs more then 26,000lbs pulling a vehicle or trailer that weighs more then 10,,,lbs

2. You make no mention of "air brakes" endorsement. Isn't that required with your rig? My rig does have air brakes and they will test your brakes for pressure drop.

3. Is there an office in Collin County that is less crowded than the one in Plano? It's always a zoo! What was your wait time in McKinney? Ther is no way in H*** i would go to McKinney. I went to Sherman, I had to wait for about 15 min. the first time. Made an appoimtment for the driving test and got right through ahead of time.

4. Since you referenced Chapter 15 and the brochure they gave me only goes through Section 14, you must have another book that I need. Can you tell me what your book with chapter 15 is called? Mine was the yellow Drivers Hand Book. (I may be mistaken with the number but I'm sure it was 15.)

Just got off the phone with the McKinney office. Had a very knowledgeable gal. She answered several questions and I learned that I can't get a class B license without taking the test in a class B type vehicle. She suggested renting one for a day! Mike, do you now have a Motor Home? If push comes to shove I can go with you for your driving test. You do not need to drive your M/H to take the written test. After you pass the written test (computer) you have to set up an appointment to take the driving test

Right now I can't even legally test drive a unit I am looking to buy. Not too cool.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Planocat

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Guest Wayne77590

Hi Richard, and welcome to the Forum.

I feel your pain, and I think most of us in Texas has gone through some type of "situation" at the DMV. As busy as they are they should not be rude to customers. Before I make my next statement I need to express that I know a "Commercial Drivers License" is not needed to drive a motor home, just a normal Class A, or Class B, depending on the weight as Herman addressed.

The normal Class A or B test is based on the information in the Commercial Drives License handbook. Read it, take the programmed tests after each section, and when you are comfortable with the knowledge head on down to the DMV and take the written test - get it out of the way.

After taking the written test they will give you some type of paper that is like a "Learner's Permit." (they used to) Then you can drive if you have another qualified licensed person with you (ha ha) and go back at your leisure to take the driving test.

Someone said in a forum that they called the DMV in their area and asked how they were supposed to get the MH there if they didn't have a license, and the reply was, "We don't care how you get it here." But take Herman up on driving you on down to the DMV. Study the air brake section. In the worse case scenario you will be up on air brakes and it could help you traveling down the road. Everyone should know about "slack adjusters," "pressure gauges," and "testing the system." Even if it is not a required written test.

Good luck - get-er-done!

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Thanks for responses.

Herman:

Your offer is most generous. I think I will join the thousands of other law breakers and drive to the Sherman office if and when the need presents itself. I did find the basic Driver's Handbook on line which contains your referenced Chapter 15. The DMV office gave me the CDL version. I may take the written test just to get a feel for it........it's been a long time since I have taken one.

Right now we have a 36' single slide gas motorhome that we have had for 14 years. We've decided to put off buying a used DP and take our summer trip in our current rig while watching gas/fuel prices to see if motorhoming remains in our future. We have owned motorhomes since 1977 and while we enjoy the lifestyle, affordability is becoming an issue. We'll see where it goes.

Again, thanks to all for your input. It is much appreciated.

****

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Guest Wayne77590

Richard,

Have you weighed your coach? I find it strange that a 36' would exceed 26,001 pounds. What are the specs on it.

Good luck.

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It's a far cry from 26,001 lbs. But, IF the day comes that we move to a DP, I would like to be properly licensed. Not to mention that if I should ever be called upon to "pinch hit" for someone, I would like to be legal.

I don't recall needing a class A or B license (if there was such a thing) back in the 80's when I had a Bluebird that did weigh that much.

Thanks for the follow up.

****

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Guest Wayne77590

Yes, the 80's had the same requirements as I remember. I had a CDL back then and if I remember correctly section 521, and 522 were there at that time. Some of the wording and requirements for the different classes have had some word smithing over the years. In '84+ the class B CDL was not as much limited to the 26,001 pound as it was to a trailer that was over 10,000 pounds. I believer the class B for non-cdl was the same, but then I was not interested in a non-cdl. I was driving for a company and instead of going through and putting "Private" on all the vehciles, we decided on a CDL, and basically for insurance purposes. Before I got to the company everyone was driving on a class C. At that time we had a 1 Ton Chevy Dually with a 454 engine and we were pullling a goose neck, and a tt, both weighing in at a little over 14,000 pounds. A class B was needed even though the combined weight was not over 26,001.

Even back then there was a difference of opinion, even at the DMV offices. Even back then I pointed out to 3 DMV inspectors the sections in the book, and they gave me the driving test.

Yep! Go for it. Nothing to lose and you'll be ahead of the curve ball.

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Folks,

Hearing from some friends in La. about their travel through I-10 in Katy, Texas. Seems a DOT inspector is pulling over Class A's with air brakes and asking for a CDL and log books (regardless of fact they do not live in Texas or the vehicle is not registered in Texas). These folks got tickets for failure to have a CDL or log book , vehicle improperly registered and whatever items his DOT inspection uncovers (no flares, a fogged headlamp, etc). He will not enter into the RV to inspect registration papers or FMCA Dec issue with license by state printed table. Attorneys had to be hired and court dates met, most charges were dropped.

Their info provided to them reveals a national (Federal) effort is (quietly) underfoot to get large rig drivers a federal CDL (like school bus driver classified vs commercial drivers) and folks are jumping the gun on enforcement. Seems revenue for such gets a Federal and state split in $'s received and adds a new cost and new regulations for RV owners to deal with.

Has anyone heard anything else along this subject or had this experience ?

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Folks,

Hearing from some friends in La. about their travel through I-10 in Katy, Texas. Seems a DOT inspector is pulling over Class A's with air brakes and asking for a CDL and log books (regardless of fact they do not live in Texas or the vehicle is not registered in Texas). These folks got tickets for failure to have a CDL or log book , vehicle improperly registered and whatever items his DOT inspection uncovers (no flares, a fogged headlamp, etc). He will not enter into the RV to inspect registration papers or FMCA Dec issue with license by state printed table. Attorneys had to be hired and court dates met, most charges were dropped.

Their info provided to them reveals a national (Federal) effort is (quietly) underfoot to get large rig drivers a federal CDL (like school bus driver classified vs commercial drivers) and folks are jumping the gun on enforcement. Seems revenue for such gets a Federal and state split in $'s received and adds a new cost and new regulations for RV owners to deal with.

Has anyone heard anything else along this subject or had this experience ?

Having lived in Texas for 45 years, I have never heard of what you describe.

If the motorhome was a commercial vehicle it would fall under DOT governance. If this was a personal vehicle it would not.

Was there a reason they may have thought his was a commercial vehicle?

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Guest BillAdams

Sounds like a bunch of Hooey to me! Hard to swallow that anyone anywhere would waste valuable law enforcement resources on an unenforceable non-event.

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... I've also heard at a FCRV rally that some insurance companies may deny coverage to us if we do not have the proper license to be operating our MH's. If you think that insurance companies may not do this just ask some of our friends along the path of recent hurricanes regarding what their insurance companies do regarding crossing the "T's" and dotting the "I's"when the loss is significant. I'm also aware that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Please check fellow FMCA members before the need.

Warren Leith F403214

I just got my Texas Class B, the wife and a fellow MH driver buddy are dragging their feet but will eventually follow suit.

Really, it was no trouble. The examiner relished every moment of being away from her spot behind the counter, we had a great time. Now, I don't have the specter of not being in compliance hanging over my head.

While claim denial is unlikely, the attorney watering flowers on the patio behind me says that it is within the insurance company's rights to deny the claim.

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There had to be more to that story(of being stopped) by a DOT inspector than meets the eye. First off, those guys(and Gals) have their fill of trucks coming through Katy, and more than they have time for.

This motorhome had to doing something that attracted the eye of the inspector. Being a retired law officer, I guarantee there was more going on, and you only heard a small part of the story.

Also, when was the last time anyone heard of someone being stopped in any state(other than California), by a DOT person, "for no reason".

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Guest Wayne77590

I'm wondering if there were some type of banner or sticker on the side of the motor home indicating it may be commercial. Then stopping it to check and finding out it is their business, the driver then requires a CDL, Class A or B or C, depending on regulatory factors. (Yes grasshopper, there is a Texas Class C CDL.) See section 522 of the driver license manual.

Just a plain old motor home only needs the proper licence, Class A, B, or C depending on regulatory factors. See Section 521 of the Texas Drivers License Manual.

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Wayne, that thought went through my mind also. (I know there a lot of hole for it to go through) I got some nice Chrome letters and put them beside my entry door. "PRIVATE COACH" Does it work, I do not know, but they look nice.

Semper Fi good buddy.

Herman

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The TEXAS COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVER HANDBOOK is DL-7C available in pdf format the the Texas DPS website. Information to study for a non-commerical class B license for over 26,001 lbs.

Happy Trails

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The smaller yellow book is the one you want to get ahold of.......... Study chapter 15 (which isn't in the larger version) and Appendix B has the list of questions from the written test for your review. It is the easiest method to prepare for the written test. I received my yellow book from the DPS office that does the testing. It is not on line, but it's what IMHO you need to make your life easy.

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Rules and regulations change. Maybe not much, but sometimes the wording changes that can have an effect on the meaning of the sentence. So it is my opinion that the best manual to read is the one "On-line."

You can find it here: Texas Drivers License Manual in PDF format.

Now, if you really want an education, get the CDL book also, and after you have taken your test read the CDL book. There is information in there that may benefit you. It's interesting to say the least.

Please, please don't read into the statement that an RV is exempt from a CDL. Yes it is but depending on the weight of the vehicle a straight Class, A, B, or C may be needed.

Happy trails.

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Wayne, that thought went through my mind also. (I know there a lot of hole for it to go through) I got some nice Chrome letters and put them beside my entry door. "PRIVATE COACH" Does it work, I do not know, but they look nice.

Semper Fi good buddy.

Herman

Isn't it amazing how greaty holy minds work alike??

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I'm posting out of frustration with the Texas Class B drivers license process.  I've just returned from failing the written test the second time.  The questions I missed were not part of any practice test I took and have no relevancy to operating a motor home.  I did not know what year manufacturers were required to have turn signals on their cars.  I also didn't know what lighting was required to be put on farm tractors in 1972.  There were many others that were obscure and relevant to some degree to a CDL but not for a motor home.  Ask me about air brakes or driving regulations.  I know about the regulations regarding disabled vehicles and placing markers.  I don't know the requirements for loading sand, gravel or other items that might fly off a trailer, I don't haul those in the motor home.

I'll try for the third time next week and hope for the best.  If I don't pass I may end up taking my chances and driving the motor home without the Class B.  After over 100,000 miles driving a diesel pusher I feel pretty comfortable that I know what to do.

Bruce B

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Did you explain to them that your there for the Class B recreation vehicle, over 26,000 pound, 15 question test?  What town did you take it twice?

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Bruce, we had to go to 3 different locations, before they could understand that all we wanted was the short exam for the class A and not the CDL.  We had talked to the commercial enforcement office in Austin and had a name and a phone number.  The last place we tried, we gave them the officers name and number.  they disappeared to the back and about 15 minutes later, they came back and told us we did not need the CDL test, only the short test over a couple of chapters.

It sounds like they are trying to give you the CDL test.

Ken 

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Bruce, when I took my test there was a question "What color of tow strap is required to tow another vehicle ". It showed a truck towing a car with a Yellow strap. So I answered Yellow. WRONG. The answer was, "There must be a White flag 1 foot by 1 foot attached to the tow strap ". That was no where in the book.  

Who thanks up these quedtions?

Good luck.

Herman 

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The problem with Texas, it's not written in stone!  Yes, it's on the books, but it has not gone thru the voting to become Law yet, still a gray area.  You can go to one DMV and they have and give the test, go to another DMV and they have no clue!  

I drove to the State Police and asked them, where can I take the test and where do I go for the driving part...painless!  I got a note with the add. of places within 50 miles of Galveston for both.  

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Bruce - You got me curious so I just went and read through the Texas Drivers Handbook to see what's changed down there since I last lived in Texas in the 90s. Boy oh boy, they've messed things up and made a complicated mess of getting a driver's license.

However, page 71 of the handbook does have the information about hauling sand and gravel. Seems like in addition to whatever book they gave you for the Class B part they also were pulling questions out of the standard driving book.

From an outsider's reading of the rules in Texas, it appears that 3rd party testing is permitted for the skills testing. Would seem like something some of the larger motor home dealers would want to get into to help their customers get into the larger rigs.

Hope you can get this worked out and glad to see you posting on the forum.

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