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Old 12-03-2009, 02:59 PM   #1
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Driver's License Upgrade

I drive a 2005 Winny Vectra (32000 lb GVWR). Until today I was driving on a regular Class C Pennsylvania License (only good for 26000 lb GVWR). OH!! what a bad boy am I? I never was stopped and really never knew I had to upgrade to a Pennsylvania Class B Non-Commercial until I talked to a fellow RVer I met in Nashville, TN. Upon my return home I inquired of the PA DMV and was given the info I needed to upgrade. I passed my Skills test today and am happy to say I now and driving my coach within the limits of the law.

To all you big rig drivers (over 26000) check your state's requirements. Not that you would ever get stopped but if you had the unfortunate instance of an accident your insurance carrier might not be to happy.

Happy Holidays to all and safe travels.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:23 PM   #2
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This is a topic that needs to be address randomly to keep everyone up on their "skills." Thanks for posting.

Texas required a class B for 26,001 pounds and above and as long as the towed vehicle is under 10,000 pounds. A class A is needed if the vehicle is 26,001 pounds and as long as the towed vehicle is over 10,000 pounds. Both of these are NON-CDL.

Example: My Winnebago Destination, registered in Texas, has a curb weight of 27,000 pounds. If I am towing anything under 10,000 pounds I need a class B, or if I'm driving without towing anything, I need a class B. Towing above 10,000 pounds I would need a class A.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:46 AM   #3
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Yup! Those rules sound just like PA. Thanks for supporting the awareness of what is required. I wish I would have known earlier. Here's a site that outlines the requirements by State.
RV Driver's License Requirements
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
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Can I ask what you had to do to upgrade to a Class B license?
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:32 PM   #5
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BBBEEBOP - Didn't think we had to actually take a test! Last summer I sent for my required PA non-com. class B "learners permit"- at least that's what I read in the state reg's- that you have to get a learners permit first. So then they sent my $5 & app back and said just to send in the $40 for the new license. Like you I wanted to be completely legal...guess I'll reapply.
Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:35 AM   #6
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DPS Trooper's response

While sitting in the waiting room of a tire store, I visited with a senior Texas Highway Patrolman.

He reports that in Texas, the law requiring a class B license for a motorhome over 26,000 lbs is offset by another law for non commercial motorhomes that only requires a standard license.

This leaves them with no way to enforce the class B requirement, so they can't and don't.

He reports that there is no jeopardy by not having the class B, even in the event of a accident.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
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In Texas, you will be required to take a written test and a driving test. Both Class A and Class B written material come off of the manual for CDL that you can pick up at a DPS licensing station, or go on-line and download it. Study it, take the practice questions until you can answer them 100%. All you need in Texas is a 70 percentile to pass, so when taking the if you get the 1st 14 questions correct, the test will stop and tell you that you are finished.

The driving test depends on you location and the inspector. You may have to demonstrate straight backing, parallel parking. You will be judged on your ability to keep it between the lines, turn left and not let the furthest wheel back run over the center line, and turn right, keeping right. (don't cross into the opposite lane you are turning into. Plus the other typical driving skills, like stopping behind the stop line at lights or stop signs, not following to close (2 second rule - I use 4 sec rule in MH), keeping hands (both) in proper position on the steering wheel, checking your mirrors for traffic and being observant of everything around you, lane change signals and proper distance for changing, etc.

Easiest way is to get the learner's permit which will allow you to drive with another licensed Class B, or A, rider with you (Yeah! Right!), then when you are comfortable, take the driving test. When you go to the licensing station, talk to an inspector. Ask if they can give you an idea of what to practice for. They are not there to make you fail, but to keep the highways safe. Most of them will give you an idea of what you can expect with the driving test.

Good luck.
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:53 PM   #8
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OK, time for a woman to poke a jab at the guys. Do you just get in these big ol' rigs and drive off and not think about there may be additional requirements? I looked at my state's rquirements while I was looking to buy my DP. Must be a man thing. A few months after I bought this rig I went to Camp Freightliner. I was the only female in a class of 10 or 12 and I believe the only one with a legal driver's license when the discussion came up. One for us ladies.

Now before you all get all ruffled up I'm just jesting. You wouldn't believe all the times I get asked, mostly from men, "You drive that thing all by yourself?" Yes, and I have a legal license too.

A comment on the post about TX law not being enforceable, an attorney in an accident may make a case of not having the required or suggested license even if it isn't enforceable.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photoadjuster View Post
While sitting in the waiting room of a tire store, I visited with a senior Texas Highway Patrolman.

He reports that in Texas, the law requiring a class B license for a motorhome over 26,000 lbs is offset by another law for non commercial motorhomes that only requires a standard license.

This leaves them with no way to enforce the class B requirement, so they can't and don't.

He reports that there is no jeopardy by not having the class B, even in the event of a accident.
I believe he's wrong. Read sections 1-4/1-5 carefully.
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/ftp/forms/DLhandbook.pdf
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:55 PM   #10
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I'm sure he's wrong.

This was investigated by Escapees and as others have posted, a higher class of license is required above certain weight limits.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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I agree with Bob and Dirk. I expect the confusion was over CDL vs non-CDL (exempt) licenses.

joe
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:38 PM   #12
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In PA where I acquired my Non-Com Class B license you had to get a Learner's Permit for that class. ($5.00) Then scheduled a skills test on line or via 800# on the learner's permit. Went to the test answered questions about pre-trip inspection and did a Air Brake test with the examiner. We then went on a short road test (approx. 5-7 miles) thru town, left turns, right turns, H'way etc;
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:49 PM   #13
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I have read, re-read, and re-read, the Texas Driver's license handbook. You can really get confused by some of the wording. Also, I have gotten different answers from different Texas DPS Troopers. The confusion comes with some wording about not needing a special license for RV's, but then there are wordings, as I described above that indicates special licenses are required. Some will search on the word Class A CDL and get more confused because they should have looked at the section pertaining to Class A (NOT CDL)

Good for you Olive. I'm glad someone does their homework. I will not let my wife drive, and she does not want to, until she has at least a learner's permit for a Class B. But I just may make her go for her Class A, as the tests are the same, and the only difference is what you can tow. Who knows, I just may want to tow a bus weighing over 10,000 pounds, after I beef up the hitch.

That trooper that told you that information was only correct in that you do not need a commercial driver's license (CDL) for an RV. He is very misinformed about class B and class A (NON CDL) weights and restrictions.

I'd even be willing to sit down and discuss this with him and the manual in front of us.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:42 AM   #14
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BBBEEBOP

I have a PA Class C License driving a 35' Itasca gasser. I have a DP on order and have applied for my Non-Commercial Class B Leaner's Permit. Can you me give any further info about the skills test. Is the examiner supplied by the PennDOT office or is he an agent? Is there any classroom time required for the air brake system or is just the skills test adequate? The PennDOT office I am communicating with is in a shopping center (tight for a 40'). Do you take the DP to that location or somewhere else to start the skills test?

Thanks
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:15 AM   #15
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As far as Texas is concerned, at the end of the day what matters in a court of law is the applicable statute(s) from the Texas Transportation Code. Classification of non-commercial driver's licenses is per Title 7 - Vehicles and Traffic, Subtitle B - Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards, Chapter 521 - Driver's Licenses and Certificates, Subchapter D - Classification of Driver's Licenses:

Quote:
Sec. 521.081. CLASS A LICENSE. A Class A driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; or

(2) a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, if the gross vehicle weight rating of any vehicle or vehicles in tow is more than 10,000 pounds.


Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.082. CLASS B LICENSE.

(a) A Class B driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that is more than 26,000 pounds;

(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more towing:

(A) a vehicle, other than a farm trailer, with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 10,000 pounds; or

(B) a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds; and

(3) a bus with a seating capacity of 24 passengers or more.

(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(3), seating capacity is computed in accordance with Section 502.162, except that the operator's seat is included in the computation.


Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.083. CLASS C LICENSE. A Class C driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate:

(1) a vehicle or combination of vehicles not described by Section 521.081 or 521.082; and

(2) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds towing a farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating that is not more than 20,000 pounds.


Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.084. CLASS M LICENSE. A Class M driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate a motorcycle or moped.


Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


Sec. 521.085. TYPE OF VEHICLE AUTHORIZED. Unless prohibited by Chapter 522, the license holder may operate any vehicle of the type for which that class of license is issued and any lesser type of vehicle other than a motorcycle or moped.


Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Section 521 deals with non-commercial licenses, and I haven't found an exemption in it for a recreational vehicle.

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Old 12-09-2009, 10:05 AM   #16
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Rusty - That's exactly what I said - isn't it.

Very unfortunately, if you open up the PDF file of the Texas Driver License, and in our case, since we are interested in "recreational" vehicles, search on the word recreational, you will find a paragraph in section 522 (Yes I know it is CDL, but it is the only one of two hits on the word recreational) it will state and exemption status of:

"4. A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use;"

This is a confusing issue to the non-internet savvy individual when searching. Many have stopped reading after seeing this paragraph. I think this may also be were some law enforcement officials have become confused. They never think about section 521 of the code.

Section 522 refers to individuals that drive for personal use, but someone who is transporting RV's, or driving for hire would need a CDL.

For Texas, here is the handbook: Texas Drivers Handbook

One also has to remember that the driving statutes of Texas is a very thick set of papers. More than what is in the handbook. The statutes are the law and the handbook is to get you dumb instead of dumber for a driving license.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:15 AM   #17
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Rusty - That's exactly what I said - isn't it.
Wayne,

I'm not questioning what you said. Rather, I can't find an RV exemption in governing Section 521, which contradicts the DPS employee's assumption that RVs were somehow exempt from upgraded licenses. I suspect that, as you say, he's hanging his hat on the personal use RV exemption from CDL requirements.

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Old 12-09-2009, 10:50 PM   #18
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Great discussion. A little disgruntling, but better to know the straight poop.

Why do I feel compelled to add my two Ę ? Old, cranky, farm-boy?

Quite true, Wayne put it best in that the code is the law, not the Ďdumbí handbook. I donít have a Texas or Pennsylvania driverís license but have been driving My 04 Horizon with a New Mexico driverís license for five and a half years and over 90,000 miles and now I see on that web site ( RV Driver's License Requirements ) that a class E instead of a class D license may be required.

On the face of it, this seems to be true. Looking at N.M. Code 18.19.5.30 and 18.19.5.112 alone, a class E would be required, but it seems, just like in Texas, there may be other sections that contradict these two (a lot of the wording is identical). I can see why the Trooper would say what he did. Since there is no clear and unambiguous case to be made to override the exemption for Private and Personal use of a Recreational Vehicle, the courts just leave the issue alone. As in Texas, until N.M. lawmakers amend the Code to clear up this issue, the answer will still be up in the air.

I havenít looked through the Texas Code or Pennsylvania Code and there may be other specific quotable statements that do require an upgraded license, but from what I see in the N.M. Code, Iím left with the thought that it was the intent of both Texas and N.M. to leave Recreational Vehicle owners alone, while still requiring the upgrade for non RV private vehicle drivers of extra large, but not commercial rigs. This would be the case of anyone who drove a semi tractor-trailer for work but was not driving it for hire. An example might be an electrician or handyman that was asked to drive the Co. job trailer to a site. This could apply to many professions and businesses including companies like Yellow Freight etc. who have yard men that never haul freight or drive public roads for hire but may be asked to ferry an empty van form one warehouse to another. They canít all have CDLs.

I used the link on the N.M web site to send the question to the DMV for clarification back on Friday but still no answer. Eventually, Iíll be moving to Mississippi, and from what the web site says; there will be no requirement for an upgraded license there. The very interesting thing is that with a regular Mississippi license, I can legally drive my 32,000-pound coach in New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania, or any other state that has extra requirements. This is the way it should be! And, I think, is the way the law was meant to be.

And thatís my rant on the subject.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:28 AM   #19
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Wayne,

I'm not questioning what you said. Rather, I can't find an RV exemption in governing Section 521, which contradicts the DPS employee's assumption that RVs were somehow exempt from upgraded licenses. I suspect that, as you say, he's hanging his hat on the personal use RV exemption from CDL requirements.

Rusty
Darn it! I should have put a after my 1st liner. I can't edit it now.
No disgruntling. I was just pointing out a confusion in the handbook if one were to search on "recreational." And you are correct where he hangs his hat. Most troopers can quote you verbatim CDL rules and regulations, not remembering there is a section 521. If one looks at weight only, both sections require a Class A or Class B according to weight.

It's unfortunate that the sections are not even formatted the same way. Example: in the beginning paragraph of 522 it states that a holder of a CDL can drive all lesser class vehicles, but in 521 there is no such statement. In 521 there is no mention for a Class A that the holder could drive a lesser class vehicle, but in the information for a Class B it specifically states that a holder of a Class B can drive a vehicle included in Class C.

The basic thing, as Rusty pointed out, is to make sure you have the proper class license for the vehicle that you drive. It's not so much for when you get a ticket, but may definitely impact an insurance claim. Remember that old adage, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Happy trails.

Rusty, I'll settle up with you this weekend at Rayford. This will be settled woman to man. (I'm sending Earlene)
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:50 AM   #20
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It's unfortunate that the sections are not even formatted the same way. Example: in the beginning paragraph of 522 it states that a holder of a CDL can drive all lesser class vehicles, but in 521 there is no such statement. In 521 there is no mention for a Class A that the holder could drive a lesser class vehicle, but in the information for a Class B it specifically states that a holder of a Class B can drive a vehicle included in Class C.
I think they buried that here:
Quote:
Sec. 521.085. TYPE OF VEHICLE AUTHORIZED. Unless prohibited by Chapter 522, the license holder may operate any vehicle of the type for which that class of license is issued and any lesser type of vehicle other than a motorcycle or moped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
Rusty, I'll settle up with you this weekend at Rayford. This will be settled woman to man. (I'm sending Earlene)
Have Earlene see Sandy - let them settle it up.

Rusty
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