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Pennsylvania DOT Requirements For Non-Commercial Class "B" Driver's License For Motorhomes Over 26,000 pounds

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Carl,

Actually the parallel parking requirement in Texas is "up to the office/inspector". I can tell you for a FACT that at the Texas City office last year, parallel parking WAS required. Plenty long space-- OK for 18 wheelers. But indeed it was part of the driving test.

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As Brett stated in Texas City, TX (My home town). I was the designated driver for an individual taking their test and the very first thing the inspector asked them to do was to parallel park - failed after 3 tries - test over.

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Carl, it is confusing, I believe they do this so there is no black and white with the law so it is open to interpretation, that will get some out of trouble and others with lower price attorneys in deeper trouble. I hope that the "newbie" reports back with his experience, my only concern is depending on the mood and interpretation of the next person at the DMV will yield different results.

I have a degree from this state for this stuff and I result back to what I was trained with "just arrest everyone involved for everything that applies and let the judge and lawyers sort It out, your job is done at that point". Lol, that was my favorite line.

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Just Fill out the DL-31 Application

Check the Add/Extend Box

Check the Class B Box

Sign and Hit the Local DMV with $5.00

Thats it Guys!

No tests, No Driving involved!

Only thing that would be different is if you were towing over 10K!

Then the exam and test comes into play.

Addition to license comes in the mail from the state.

The first part of what JLeamont pasted is correct.

The second part (parking) is for a first time drivers test just getting their license.

No test and no driving involved for the ADD!

Rick

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Rick, glad to hear it was simple. Kind of scary that there was no behind the wheel test but I guess its good for you. I am glad you posted back now I do not have to babysit my friend when he goes for it. :D

I am surprised they didn't hand you the license at that time, they usually print them on the spot, you smile they take the picture and you leave. Is it going to be a card to keep with your current license until it expires?

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Yes.

They don't issue a new license unless you are up for a renew due to your picture retake.

They send a card to keep with you at all times through the mail.

I did the card issuing once before when I changed my address.

Then the next time I had to get the picture taken it was all on the new card.

Rick

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I went through, this song and dance in the State of Texas as well. The dealer and even a Texas State Trooper told me I didn't need anything special to drive my class A. I looked into it further to be sure, and after numerous conversations with the Texas Department of Transportation, I discovered that because the class A weighs over 26,000 lbs, I indeed needed a Class B non commercial license. There was both a written and driving test that did include the air brakes.

My biggest fear for those Driving around without it is, when there is an accident, the insurance company will say DENIED DUE TO BEING NOT PROPERLY LICENSED DRIVER...

Just my 2 cents

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I had to laugh yesterday.

After speaking with the State Office of the PA DMV and Speaking with the Manager of the whole office I have come to find out that every DMV Station runs itself differently.

Even though there is a set of rules to follow and laws to follow; it just does not matter.

Here are my events:

Called the DMV 3 weeks ago. Assured there are no tests and driving involved through an operator and the manager as I asked the operator to check with their boss.

I was told that the DL31 needs filled out and the addition of Class B would be added.

Called the following week just to be sure. Same results. Different manager and Operator.

Called this Wednesday as I was taking the DL31to the local DMV to get this done. Same answer and results.

SO Thursday I went to the Belle Vernon DMV and had the DL31 done.

Got my Permit on the spot.

I was informed by the man there that there was no test and that there was a somewhat driving test.

He said every DMV does it different.

Some walk around the vehicle and ask 3 questions and pass you while others Make you take them for a ride and others make you pull forward 10 feet back up 10 feet in a straight line then pass you.

He said you have to go to a DMV that does CDL testing to take the test.

So I made him call the Uniontown DMV while I was there just to be sure that was correct.

Yes all correct that is what Uniontown does for their Class B Non's.

Take a drive and pass you.

Do not need any air brake knowledge just able to drive and know what the buttons do.

OK Ready to schedule my test!

But let me call the State DMV and tell them they were wrong first!

So today I called the state and told them my story and whalla The local DMV's are wrong there is no driving test!

I think I opened a can of worms!

Phone calls are being made to the local DMV's to let them know the correct procedures.

Waiting patiently to hear back from the DMV now!

Craziness!

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Hi guys!  New member here, and a rookie diesel pusher owner in PA, King-of-Prussia area.   The posts above are very helpful, and allowed me to argue some of the answers I got when I called PennDot. 

I heard it all, from "no test needed", to "there's no non-commercial Class B, you'll need a CDL".     So where I stand now is that I need a non-commercial Class B.   I went to the DMV with a DL-31. 

They got me my permit and told me to schedule a driving test at the nearest "Commercial" test center.  I'm supposed to pick-up my coach next week, and I found a friend of a friend who drives a school bus and could help me with the test, so I figured that we should try to do that the same day I pick up my new motorhome, right?  

So I called to make an appointment.   "Our first available time is on December 1st."   ........  excuse me, could you please repeat, the connection isn't very good and I thought you said December.    "That's what I said, but I can see if another center has an earlier slot available.  June 21st in Reading."          Well, the friend of a friend isn't available on June 21st.....   

 Anybody here could help me in finding a designated driver for my test?   

Happy to compensate for time/trouble.  

 

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Mtroise46, did they require you to bring a designated driver to the test? Curious what time of day is your test appointment?

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They said that in theory, I should only be driving with someone who has a Class B until I go for my test..  In practice, as we all know, many drive without a designated driver...   I checked with the insurance and they said that I would still be covered if something happens.  then I check with the authorities, and they said that the only risk if I get pulled over is that I get a ticket (but only if the officer knows about the requirement!).  So the risk of driving between now and then seems to be fairly small, unless I missed something.   But I absolutely need someone for the test!!

My appointment on the 21st is at 1:15, but they had more time available later in the afternoon.   Once/if I find someone who can help, I can try to change the appointment to accommodate schedules.

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Mtroise46/ A suggestion. Find a copy of the study guide for a class B commercial license. It is not difficult to info to absorb. Rent a truck under 26,000 lbs for a few hours to practice. Preferably with air brakes. When you are comfortable with everything go for the exam by yourself when you can schedule with Penndot? As long as you are under 26,000 lbs you don't need anything special to drive it. You can go by yourself. I know people that drive straight trucks with air brakes that keep the truck licensed for under 26,000 lbs just to avoid the test ( because they are lazy ).

If Joe can help you I am sure that he will. My MSN email address is on my profile. Remember you are dealing with Penndot. Oddly, the folks at Penndot Harrisburg (the home office) are very nice. Never had a problem with big truck registrations or auto issues.

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Well, I am now the proud owner of a non-commercial Class B driver's license.   First, a big "thank you" to Joe, who took time out of a busy weekend to come with me to the DMV.  The experience was not the most pleasant, and I'm happy to share with everybody.   First, I made multiple calls to the DMV to get some direction.  I was told 3-4 times that I didn't need any special test.  Then, I was told 3-4 times that I needed a CDL.  Meanwhile, I'm looking at the website that says clearly that I need a non-commercial Class B.  So after asking multiple times to talk to a supervisor, and then to their supervisor, I worked my way up to someone who seemed to know what he was talking about.  'Call this number, ask for a non-commercial Class B driving test.  It will only be a driving skills test, nothing else."  So I asked if it changes anything if my motorhome has air brakes.  "No, just a driving skills test".  OK, so I called mid-May to get an appointment.  I live in a Philadelphia suburb, so I'm told that the closest is Norristown, and I can have an appointment in December 2016.....    "Excuse-me?.."   Yes, December.  If I want an earlier test, there's an opening in York in mid-June.  "Go on please..."   Opening in Reading on June 25th.  "YES!!  I'll take that!"    So Joe and I went to Reading today.  We go in the DMV office but we're told that we have to go directly to the test location, which happens to be behind the strip mall.  We get there, and we meet the "instructor".  He asked me to drive the coach in the middle of the test area, and park there, which I did.  He asked me to step out, and tells me that since this has air brakes, we need to do the air brake test....   I very politely explained that the instructions I received from Harrisburg (in writing!) mention only a driving skills test.  He said that it's wrong, and I have to do the "pre-trip inspection and tests".   Oye....  After some (polite) objection, he asked me to step in the office so we can talk to the supervisor.   The supervisor is sitting at one of the stations, helping people like everybody else, but he nicely interrupted what he was doing to explain to me that since my coach has air brakes, I need to do more than just driving.  I asked to see if they have a write-up on that, and he gives me the CDL book....  Oh boy, I'm in trouble now...   So I asked for his card, predicting that I will fail the test and will need to send a letter to Harrisburg.   Jason has no card.  Only his supervisor has cards, ad he's not there...   How many supervisors are there?  I though he was in charge...  So as we walk toward the door, a woman who seemed to be in charge stopped us and asked what was the problem.  So I explained what I heard from Harrisburg, and she then said something really strange.   "You need to know the safety procedures of an airbrake vehicle" (which btw I agree with) "so you will be tested on that;  however, it doesn't count toward your final score."    Huh??!!   On the way out, the instructor says that she's wrong.    OK, whatever, let's do it.      Back to the coach, I have to act as if I was taking a trip to California.  And think out loud!    Check tire pressure, fluid levels, make sure doors are closed and locked, and the tanks are properly closed.  Get in the coach and check all the lights for turning signals, low beams, high beams, brakes.  The instructor is outside and assisting, so I don't need to walk out every time. Then I need to check wipers.  I forgot to check wiper fluids and the horn, but he said that he won't fail me for it.  Start the coach, check every gauge.  Then, the brake test!!!  Stop the engine, and pump the brake pedal until it starts beeping and then until the parking brake pops out.   Done!   Start the coach, and wait until brake pressure is back.   Turn off the coach again and see how much psi I lose in one minute.  Less than 3psi!  we're good.   Time for the driving test, which was a breeze, except for one thing.  We went under an overpass.  After we passed it, he asked me how high it was.  Told him it was 14'2", and he seemed totally surprised that I knew.  As we get back to the test center, he becomes Mr. "nice guy".  he said he's been doing that for 22 years and has been begging the DMV for a motorhome section on the internet.  It's crazy to allow people to drive without knowing how to check air brakes.  He then proceeded to give me a tutorial on brakes and emergency procedures.  Justin had just become my friend!    So I passed, but not without doing some homework so I knew how to do a few of the brake things (thanks to Joe who explained what he does with his coach every time he goes out).

So again, thanks Joe!   I will likely repay the favor with someone else who decides to get his/her Class B.   Feel free to reach out!

Conclusion:  still a very confusing area of DMV requirements and they don't seem to agree internally on what needs to be tested and what actually counts toward the score.

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I think I was more nervous than you. I tried to break the ice with the instructor when we got there but he wasn't having it.

In the end glad you passed! No go and enjoy that coach you are all nice and legal now.

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PA is not the only state that has inspectors that do not know the regulations.  Back in the 80's I went for a class B CDL driving a 1 ton chevy and a TT weighing 14,000 pounds. In those days anything over 10,000 pounds being towed required a Class B.  It took several inspectors including the supervisor looking at the manual while I explained what the words said.

With that said, congratulations on the Class B non-CDL and KUDOS to Joe with the assist.

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Mtroise, I feel your pain. Me and my new/used Motorhome are heading out to New Jersey for the next 2 weeks and my test is scheduled for the fall. Gotta go and can't wait for the test. My son is a travel baseball player and trips to Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and a few more are already scheduled. Hotel costs alone would be a full years worth of RV Payments. 

I have the permit but no full license yet. I was told the same as you and yes I knew that maybe just maybe an instructor would ask about bleeding off the air brakes so I actually typed the instructions into my phone under notes just in case this would happen to me. 

Place blocks under tires; Air them up, shut off coach, bleed off till signal, bleed off till release and then start back up and fill up then back off and check 1 minute pressure.

Seems simple but this is something not everyone knows when it comes to driving with air brakes. I check it every time I leave for anything. 

I am having 3 of my friends take the test also as we go on many fishing trips and son in law goes with us on baseball trips. My wife needs to have some time behind the wheel before she feels comfortable driving it.

Good luck anyone in PA! Its truly a battle to get it done right.

Frisco

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Frisco, one good thing I heard from my insurance is that the license had no impact on their coverage.  License requirements vary by State and most insurers ignore that, as long as you have a valid driver's license.  So my only risk driving the coach before my Class B was to get a ticket.  I talked to cops about it and they said that they weren't even sure of the requirements, let alone those in other States.  

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Hello all,

I've read through this thread at least twice and I'm still unsure what to expect...LOL

I received my Class B Noncommercial permit about 18 months ago and was told I did not need a Class B licensed driver with me to drive, I even asked the lady at the Chambersburg office to double-check so she called her supervisor in Lancaster to confirm. Said I could renew it as many times as I liked for $5 each time. Which I have done once.

So I really would like to take the test and stop wondering about my legality. Has anyone taken the test at the Chambersburg location?  I've scheduled my test for Saturday the 20th of August. I still need to find someone to go with me, and it would be nice to know what that particular test center requires.  

Thanks for all the info...

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2brew, because it's not a CDL I was told you do not need a licensed driver to go with you. I got that from the lead CDL test administrator at the Reading PA location.

they will ask you to perform a full air brake test and Pre-trip just as its outlined in the CDL manual. While driving make certain to observe the bridge weight and height postings, after you cross they will ask you what the sign behind you read. If you can handle the coach on the road and pass the stuff above you should be good. They were more relaxed with a non-CDL than the regular CDL.

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