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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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2 minutes ago, jleamont said:

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.


Thanks, that is good info to know. It is what that testing center told me when I received my Class B Permit. I've never done the Air Brake Test but it doesn't seem that impossible. I believe this is the test PennDOT Requires:

PennDOT air Brake Test

- With the engine running, build the air pressure to governed cut-out (typically 100-125 psi).
Shut off the engine. Turn on the key but do not start the engine, chock your wheels, if necessary, release the parking brake(s). Check the air gauge to see if the air pressure drops more than two (2) psi in one minute for single 
- Then, fully apply pressure to the foot brake and hold for one (1) minute. Check the air gauge to see if the air pressure drops more than three (3) psi in one (1) minute for single . If the air loss is greater, check for leaks and fix before driving the vehicle. You could lose your brakes while driving.
- Begin fanning off the air pressure by rapidly applying and releasing the foot brake. Low air warning devices (buzzer, light, flag) should activate before air pressure drops below 60 PSI.
- Continue to fan off the air pressure. At approximately 40 PSI to 20 PSI the parking brake valve should close (pop out). 
- Check rate of air pressure buildup. When the engine is at operating RPM, the pressure should build from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds.


Also found a youtube video Air Brake Test for UTAH, which I beleive is similar.

Thanks again for the info...

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Hello all,

Just a bit of an update on my Non-commercial Class B Drivers testing experience. I went to my DMV test appointment yesterday in Chambersburg, which oddly is in a strip mall between D I C K's Sporting goods and Allure Beauty Supply. My appointment was at 0900hrs. As stated numerous times within this thread, it is believed by some that no other Class B or better licensed driver needed to accompany me to the test. However, I mentioned to my niece's husband that I wasn't certain if I needed a licensed driver to accompany me and he volunteered to go with me, he has a CDL license.

So I arrived at the center at 0830, went inside and asked the lady at the front reception desk where I should go. She said park in one of the four parking spaces in the front. I informed her I was in a 43' motorhome. Oh she said, well then just stand in one of the spaces and look for a bald guy to come by... ??? OK. So I stood in the space. after about 20 minutes I see the bald fellow named Mike. He ignored me, standing in the space, so I went over to him, told him I had a 0900 appointment. He looked at me a bit strange and said just pull into the parking space. I informed him that I was here in a 43' motorhome, he looked at me a bit perplexed, then without a word, turned and walked into the building. I waited a bit in my space LOL then decided I'd better go see what was going on, so I went inside. Mike was speaking with the receptionist by this time and I could tell they was a bit of confusion. After a bit Mike turned to walk out the door and noticed me standing by the door, he said oh, I don't do that test, a fellow now working at the counter would be giving me my test and he'd be delayed for a while and the test will take an hour. I said OK, exactly which guy and what is his name and where should I wait. He said the guy is Pete, pointed to a fellow working at the counter and said go ask him where he'd like you to wait. So I waited till Pete was done with his counter customers, went to Pete and asked where he'd like me to park. He told me to park out toward the parking lot exit and he'd be a while, then the lady working next to him asked me if I had a licensed driver with me, I informed her that I did, she said oh, OK. So I moved my coach, and returned to the counter waiting area to wait for Pete. I was within ear-shot of him and he'd not noticed I'd returned. Clearly he hadn't tested anyone for a while and he was refreshing his memory running through the requirements with his co-worker. After about 30 minutes he gathered all his clipboard materiel and his tablet computer and started for the exit.  So I approached him in the parking lot. He said OK, lets go. I told him that I was a bit uncertain as to what exactly the test would include, he said don't worry it's not too complicated. 

We arrived at my coach, talked for a bit, I introduced him to my CDL licensed driver. He asked for his license, my license, my learners permit, my registration and insurance card. He then asked me if I had air brakes, I told him I did. He then asked me to perform a pre-check, so I explained that I check the tires, by thumping each with a rubber mallet (even though I have an electronic tire pressure monitor) and I proceeded to do that. As I checked the rear duals and tag, he asked me if there is something else I should be checking with regard to the rear tires. I told him I visually inspect all the tires. He said OK, anything else? I said no. He informed me that I should use some sort of tool to check the space between the dual drive axle wheels to make certain that a rock or other object isn't stuck in that space. I said OK. He then asked me if I knew the minimum thread depth allowed on the steer and non-steer tires. I told him I did not and seldom does a Motorhome tire wear out, they age out. He informed me it was 4/32 on the steers and 2/32 on the non-steers. We then went through an exterior light check, windshield and mirror check and proceeded inside the coach. He asked me what I do before I drive, I explained the checking of my gauges, and specifically the air pressure requirements, And then told him I would do a brake test. So he said go ahead and do the brake test. Since we were sitting on a bit of an incline I told him I'd need to chock the wheels, he said good, and checked a box on his testing worksheet. Then he said you don't need to chock the wheels, now just tell him what the testing procedure is. So I ran through the steps. He said OK, let's drive.

So he then tells me he's putting on his seatbelt and asked me the height of my coach. I tell him and he checks off another block. He instructs me to exit the parking lot, make a left and we're going to get on route 81S, so we do that, we begin talking about one thing and another, turns out he and I were stationed at the same time, in the Army, in Germany, he got out and became a truck driver. He asked me about the coach etc. we continue off 81S at the first exit onto Wayne Ave, make a series of turns, a bunch of right turns onto to and around some secondary streets, over a couple railroad crossings, under an overpass and back onto 81N. As we went up the ramp onto 81N he asked me if I knew the underpass height, I did, it was 14' 3". Pete said very good and sticks his hand out for a fist-bump LOL. He says we've driven enough, we can go back to the test center. So we exit 81N onto RT30 and back to the strip mall parking lot. He tells me I did very well and other than driving with one hand on the steering wheel for a time I was good. I laughed and said that was because you gave me the fist bump. So we went inside, he gave me the update card for my license and I'm done at 1050hrs. 

All-in-all, a bit of confusion at the test center. Pete was a super nice guy, willing to share his knowledge and reasonable in his approach. The thing about checking the space between the tires is clearly more important in a dump truck than a motorhome, but, point taken. I didn't ask point-blank, but I think if I'd not shown up with another licensed driver, it would have been an issue.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, it was helpful for me and I hope this post will add one more bit of information to the inconsistent testing procedures within Pennsylvania.          

PS - Pete said he recommends this 1967 Army training film to many that lack a basic understanding of the air brake system.  

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Nice story 2brews. The licensed driver that was to go with me here in Texas had open heart surgery in the morning before my test. I called the DPS office  and explained my dilemma. The person that was to give me the driving test said and I quote, "WE DON'T ASK HOW YOU GOT HERE". Went took my test and got my up grade.


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Very interesting topic.

I am a retired Police / DOT Enforcement Officer from 1986-2011. 

Weighmaster, Haz-Mat and Cargo tank inspector.

Class A CDL holder and driver / trainer.

And recently... A Penndot certified 3rd Party CDL Driver/Examiner.

The weeklong driver/examiner class focused on trucks and buses , not RV's. It is actually based strictly on Commercial Vehicles by Federal Regs , not state regs.  The requirement for a non-com CDL is a state by state  thing , not a Federal requirement.   This is why the confusion at the DMV test sites.  We don't get trained on doing RV's so you will see ( as evidenced on this forum) that different testing locations do it ....differently.    As a former officer, the non-commercial CDL has been around a long time but FEW officers know it exists so enforcement is sparse.  But having said that, there are some that do know and I agree that if you drive the equivalent size/weight of a commercial vehicle that you should have a license for it.  Especially for an air brake vehicle.   ( FYI , air brakes alone do not propel any vehicle into CDL territory)

Where I do my testing, we are a closed site so I will never test an RV or a bus.  We only test our own employees in company vehicles.  If I had to test an RV with air brakes, I would treat it like a CMV in every other respect.   Pre-Trip, air brake test, backing and finally the road test.  The test is virtually identical in every respect to a regular CDL but you cannot ever use a non-com CDL to drive an actual commercial vehicle.

If you run any kind of business from your RV (traveling to car shows to sell Model A parts), you are in fact a real CMV and will need DOT authority, medical card, full CDL, logbooks and apportioned plates  etc.  And remember, a CMV is any vehicle used in commerce over 10,000 lbs registered weight that crosses a state line and if within the state ( PA), anything over 17,000 lbs.  So a 15,000 lb Class B MH which is used in any kind of commercial enterprise that goes out of state is a CMV and will need everything except a CDL and apportioned tags.  Yes, a medical card is needed for all CMV's even if a CDL is not a requirement.  A 9,000 lb truck pulling a 4,000 lb trailer in any kind of commerce across a state line is a CMV.   9000+4000=13,000.






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SgtB, Welcome to the FMCA forum!

I see we share some common experience. Thank you for posting the information above, it is good useful information for some and better reading material for others. Especially this line; "If you run any kind of business from your RV ( traveling to car shows to sell Model A parts), you are in fact a real CMV and will need DOT authority, medical card, full CDL, logbooks and apportioned plates  etc". This is often not thought about until you are standing in front of a judge.

Do you own a Motorhome/FMCA member or did you stumble across this in a internet search?



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Thanks to all of you who posted about your experiences with the DOT especially Pennsylvania. Because of the tips and information I was able to smoothly negotiate the procedure to get my class B license. The people at PennDot are not well versed in the examination procedure and I was the one of the first to complete the road test at the Bensalem location. 

I did take a friend who holds a CDL license with me to the test but they never asked for his information. I don't know if that is protocol or just by mistake. The examiner rode with me as well as the director of the exam location to see how the test was conducted. The test consisted of the air brake test (I got gigged because I did not actually time the 2 minute bleed down test) and a 20 minute drive on local roads. 

Overall it went well but I'm glad that its over. The funny part is that the test was next to the place where I took my first drivers test 46 years ago. If anyone is stuck for someone to take them to the exam center in this neck of the woods PM me and I'll help if I can.

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