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Everything posted by David-and-Cheryl

  1. According to this article, which I found in a quick Google search, as long as your out-of-state CDL has not expired, you can transfer it to Texas without re-taking either the skills or driving test. So you'd end up with a Texas Class A CDL, which would allow you to drive a Class A RV for non-commercial purposes even if you don't maintain your CDL medical certification. (I have no reason to doubt the article's accuracy, but I'd still suggest verifying it with a Texas DPS office.) Note that a license "transfer" is different from "reciprocity" (which refers to honoring an out-of-state license for vehicle operations in the state), but the concept is similar. If your out-of-state CDL has expired, then it's like starting from scratch, and you DO have to take the tests in Texas. But I suspect that's true for all out-of-state license transfers, not just CDLs. David
  2. Yeah, I'd definitely have that conversation with someone at the DPS office where you're going to take the test before renting the trailer. Let us know what happens.
  3. Wow. So I guess if you borrow someone else's RV, they're unlikely to ask, but if you rent or borrow something that looks like a commercial vehicle, it's a no-go. Good to know.
  4. Just guessing here, but I think the answer is yes. Your certification on the CDL-2 applies to the purpose for which you'll be using your Class A license, not specifically to the vehicle you're using for the test. You're just taking the test in a vehicle different from what you'll ultimately be driving. You may have to explain this to your examiner, though. Not sure which "list" you're referring to. If you mean the list on the CDL-2, it doesn't matter--as noted above, that certification applies to how you'll ultimately be using your license. You should check the RV box. By the way...does your tow vehicle have a GVWR of at least 12,000 lbs? It would need to in order to qualify as a Class A vehicle in combination with that dump trailer. If it's under that, then the combination is a Class C, and in that case I don't know that they'd let you take the test in it. If it were me, I wouldn't bother renting the trailer and taking the test before you get your RV. When you come back to Texas with your new RV, plan to take the test shortly thereafter in the rig you'll actually be driving. In the extremely unlikely event that you get stopped before then, you could explain that it's a new-to-you RV purchased out of state and that you're aware of the licensing requirements, but couldn't take the test until you had the RV. It's simpler and more in the spirit of the law, if not the letter. My guess is that a law enforcement officer would just be happy to know that you're aware of the requirement, which most RVers are not, and intend to comply with it as soon as is reasonably possible. David
  5. I don't know for sure with the Class B. As of last spring, all Class A applicants are required to take the Texas CDL Combinations Test, which covers the material found in Section 6 of the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicles Drivers Handbook. It would make sense that this would not be required for Class B applicants, since most Class B vehicles are so classified because of the weight of the powered vehicle (the motorhome itself), and not because they're towing anything. But "make sense" and "Texas DPS" don't always belong in the same sentence. I'd suggest being prepared for the Combinations Test just in case. It's not that much more work to study for it. Please let us know whether you do or do not have to take the Combinations Test so I can update the information for others. Thanks and good luck. David
  6. Shaun, I'm glad you found the post and thread helpful. I can't shed any light on the testing at that location. But really, don't stress over the driving skills test. The maneuvers are basically like the regular Class C test, except that you're taking it in your rig. Drive carefully and don't hit anything, and you should be fine. Good luck. David
  7. The chart in the original post is probably easier to parse, since it does not include the CDL-specific limitations. Also, it's directly from the Texas regulations, although at a glance it looks like Oklahoma's is similar. Here's the chart again for reference. Find the GVWR of your tow vehicle or motorhome in the first column, the GVWR of your trailer or toad in the second column, and the combined GVWR in the third column. The last column shows the license class you need.
  8. You are correct. You can drive the rig you described with just a normal Class C license. It would fall into the third line of the chart in the original post: tow vehicle <= 26k, towed vehicle (trailer) > 10k, and combined <= 26k. David
  9. I think you're the first Class B applicant to report since the air brakes test requirement went into effect last May. I wonder if the new requirement for the air brakes test applies only to Class A applicants? Not sure why that would be, since most exempt Class As are pickups (without air brakes) towing large trailers, while most Class Bs are motorhomes, many of which have air brakes. More likely, you just got lucky with an office that forgot about the new requirement. I'd be sure to study the air brakes section of the driver's manual before going for your Class A test, although it sounds like you're familiar with those topics anyway.
  10. I was wondering about that too. It seems like it would be relatively easy for a law enforcement officer to visually identify a rig that was 10 feet over the limit. Of course then if you don't have the proper class of license, you'd have two violations.
  11. Wow Paul, I just looked at your website. That trailer is really impressive! I can't believe you can stuff a Kitfox, Jeep Wrangler and boat all in there! Just curious, what is the placarded GWVR of the trailer, and how much does it actually weigh fully loaded?
  12. Let me clarify what qualifies as a Class A vehicle, because there are two ways to get there: Tow vehicle with GVWR less than or equal to 26,000 lbs. towing a vehicle with a GVWR more than 10,000 lbs., but only if the total GVWR of the combination exceeds 26,000 lbs. (If the total GVWR is less than that, it's a Class C combination.) Tow vehicle with GVWR more than 26,000 lbs. towing a vehicle with a GVWR more than 10,000 lbs. You could meet scenario #1 with a dually towing a heavy non-RV trailer, as chirakawa said above. The usual scenario, of course, is a pickup towing a fifth wheel or large travel trailer. That's why we needed a Class A in Texas. Scenario #2 is less common because most passenger vehicles towed behind motorhomes have a GVWR under 10,000 lbs. But it would be faced by a larger motorhome towing a large trailer, which is apparently what Pdepperschmidt has. So to answer Pdepperschmidt's original question: I don't think I would take a 75' long combination to a DPS office for a driving test. Chirakawa is right--they should not let you take the test in an illegal rig, and it wouldn't be too hard for them to figure out that it is too long. (Although I guess you could try...the worst that would happen is that they'd refuse to administer the test; they don't issue citations.) I would first find out if they'll let you take a Class A driving test in just your motorhome, not towing anything at all. Drivers of larger motorhomes who tow vehicles four-down have to do this all the time, because you can't back up with the toad hitched. If they ask, just tell them that you'll be towing a large pickup truck, but you're not bringing it because it can't be backed up. Failing that, I'd see if someone will lend you a pickup truck that will tow your trailer, as Chirakawa suggested. As long as the truck's GVWR plus your trailer's GVWR exceeds 26,000 lbs., the combination meets the definition of a Class A. A third option would be to rent a 10,000+ lb. GVWR trailer and tow it behind your Dutch Star for the test, as you said. Either of those approaches would work, but I wouldn't go to the trouble until you know that they won't give you the test just in your motorhome. Also, you asked about the Chapter 6 Combinations written test. I don't think you will need to take that. Exempt licenses don't have endorsements for combinations, etc. like CDLs do, and to date nobody testing for a Class A has reported that they were required to take the Combinations test. As far as I know, the only additional written test you have to take (which you probably already did) is the air brakes test, which now seems to be required for all Class A & B exempt applicants.
  13. Yep, good point. And the tests are the same--so if you have a motorhome, there's really no reason not to go for the Class A to begin with.
  14. I'm glad you found the article helpful! And "affinity to kill curbs" - love it! 😁 (If Karen is struggling with the driving, she might consider getting some instruction from RV Driving School. They have instructors, mostly former truckers, all over the country, and they really know what they're doing. Cheryl found it incredibly helpful--it was money well spent. Remember the goal is not just to pass the test, but to be able to drive safely in real life.) As for going from the Class B to Class A...that's a great question, and I really don't know the answer. I'd guess that you wouldn't need to re-take the written tests, because you've already passed them, but that you WOULD need to take a new driving test in a rig that meets the Class A vehicle definition. But only DPS can tell you for sure. You could try calling the DPS customer service center in Austin. It's hard to get through to them by phone, but if you do, they're generally pretty knowledgeable. Failing that, I'd suggest going over to your local DPS office--preferably where you'd take the test--and talking to someone there. Once you do get an answer, please share it here and I'll update the FAQs with that information. Thanks! David
  15. Barb, I'm not sure that was the intention of the statute as written, but I definitely like your interpretation of it! And that certainly does seem to be consistent with how it's enforced. David
  16. That is correct. If you were ever challenged, it sounds like you'd be able to prove that you're not "residing" in Texas. It's unfortunate that Sec. 521.029 uses the term "residence" instead of the more accurate legal term "domicile". It muddies the waters even further, actually. Subsection (a) begins, "A person who enters this state as a new resident...", which to me at least means "with the intent to domicile in Texas". But then subsection (b) twice uses the phrase, "has resided in this state for more than 90 days". So does "resided" mean "domiciled", or just "lived in"? I think you could make a pretty compelling argument that the provision is intended to apply to someone who changes their domicile or "permanent" residence to Texas, but the language is less than crystal clear. As a law professor of mine once asked, "don't you think that drafters of statutes put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us?" David
  17. Wow, I must admit I was a little alarmed when I first read this. Bravo, Blues, for doing the research and finding this statute. Having said that, I don't think this section of the Texas Transportation Code actually calls into question whether you can legally drive a rig in Texas that would otherwise require a Texas Class A or B license as long as you are legally licensed for that rig in your home state. What this section of the code says is that Texas will recognize out-of-state and foreign country licenses similar to our Class A and B licenses as long as the issuing state or country also recognizes Texas' licenses in those classes. It's an affirmative statement of reciprocity. That's subtly different, however, from the negative version of the statement, which would be "a person holding a license issued by another state that is not similar to a Texas Class A or B license is required to hold a Class A or B license issued by Texas". If that was the intention of the statute, it would have said words to that effect. This section of the code was actually amended in 1995 as part of a long series of "non-substantive" revisions. The reviser's report sent to the Texas Legislature at the time noted that the law originally had a subsection that read as follows: "The purpose of this section is to extend full reciprocity to citizens of other states and foreign countries which extend like privileges to citizens of the State of Texas." The reviser explained that this language was being dropped "because the substance of the subsection is clearly a reciprocity provision". (Maybe it wasn't so clear after all? ) As others have noted, it is a well-accepted principle among the U.S. states that if you are properly licensed to drive your vehicle in your state of residence, you can legally drive that vehicle in any other state. I've searched but cannot find specific legal authority for that. There is, however, the Drivers License Compact, intended to support the concept of "one driver, one license, one record". The DLC provides that traffic offense convictions in other states are reported back to and enforceable in the state that issued the drivers license. 44 states, including Texas, have joined the DLC and thus have agreed to share conviction information with each other. Again, the DLC doesn't expressly say that all the member states must recognize each others' licenses, although it is certainly implied. Here is an interesting effect of the DLC: if you're licensed in State A and convicted of a traffic offense in State B that would not be an offense in State A, State A will take no action against your license. So let's say, for example, that you're licensed in Florida, which does not require any special licensing for non-commercial RV drivers. You drive your rig in Texas, and a DPS trooper issues you a ticket for driving your rig without a Class A license. That ticket would be reported back to Florida, but Florida would ignore it because no such offense exists in Florida. (Which is one reason that you'd be unlikely to get the ticket in the first place.) On the other hand, if you're licensed in a state that does have something similar to Texas' Class A or B license, the Texas reciprocity law requires that it be honored in Texas, so once again, you should not get a ticket. One word of caution: the situation changes if you're licensed in another state and then reside in Texas for more than 90 days. At that point, Sec. 521.029 of the code requires you to obtain a Texas driver's license. Moreover, the burden of proof is on the driver to show that they're not actually residing in Texas. So I'd be very careful if you're licensed in another state and then spend a prolonged time in Texas--you'd want to be able to show that you're just visiting, not establishing residency, and that gets into the whole domicile issue. You're right that trying to parse all these statutes is anything but straightforward! Final note: I'm a "recovering attorney", so I have to add here that these are my own opinions and not intended as specific legal advice. If you ever find yourself in a questionable legal situation, be sure to consult an experienced traffic attorney.
  18. Sorry you had that happen. What they told you was correct, assuming that your rig has air brakes. It's a new requirement as of a few months ago, so apparently some DPS offices haven't gotten the word yet. For anyone else, if your rig has air brakes but the office where you take the written test doesn't give you the air brakes test, I'd just politely insist on taking it so that you don't end up in the same position as vannchan.
  19. I'm so glad the information was helpful! Thanks for letting us know. David
  20. It does! I'll use that information update the original post. Thanks!
  21. A Texas RVer told me on Facebook that the DPS has just greatly streamlined the skills test scheduling process. According to him, after you pass the knowledge test, a DPS employee will register you in the new Texas DPS Drive Test Scheduling System. You'll log in with your driver's license number, date of birth and email address. Once logged in, you can choose the license type you're testing for and the geographic area in which you want to take the test. The system will then show you available dates and times for your test and let you book an appointment. Although I can view the login page for this new system, I can't actually try it. If you have recently or will soon take your Class A or B Exempt knowledge test, please reply and let us know (1) whether you were instructed to use the new system, and (2) exactly what the procedure was once you logged in. I'll then update the original post with this additional information. It's not yet clear if all DPS offices are using the new system, so if you don't get specific instructions for it after you pass your knowledge test, be sure to ask. If they have no idea what you're talking about, you might still need to use the scheduling procedure in the original post. -David
  22. http://cdlstudybuddy.com/combinationvehicles.php is one. There are quite a few others; you can Google "Texas CDL combinations practice test".
  23. Could someone who has taken the CDL Combinations knowledge test answer these questions for me, so that I can include the information in the original post? How many questions are on the Combinations test? How much time were you given to take the Combinations test? What is the minimum passing score for the Combinations test? (I assume it's 70%, but want to confirm.) Thanks, David
  24. I have just updated the original post to indicate that the Combinations test is now probably required, as of April 18.
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