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sailwing2003

New testing in TX for your Class B or A upgrade licenses

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Have now heard from two different friends that have just taken the driving test in Texas. Both were upgrading their driver licenses to drive RV's over 26,001#. Both had the simple C, and were upgrading to a B, non CDL. Both were told it was a good thing they were doing it now, due the changes coming in maybe Oct. The present driving test is an hour, the new test will be 2 hours. Not sure what is going to take more time, or what is going to be asked. But if you are not legal, to drive what you have, it might be time to upgrade.

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A 1 or 2 hour driving test....wow. When we got our class A Exempt, the driving test was maybe 20 minutes.

 

What will they do, run you around the same area a dozen times?

 

Ken

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Just in the last few weeks took my Class A. 20 minutes maybe. Not long. Had to chock wheels, put out "flares". Drive around block. Back up. Return to station. No mention of change.

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Where did these friends take their test? Sounds like the time required for the CDL test. Most testing places don't have the foggiest about what is required for RVs. My driving test was 20 minutes, including dodging the compressed gas cylinder that flew off of a truck as it passed me.

 

Barb

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Wonder if the new regs are for CDL versions rather than regular operator's class upgrade due to ever-increasing CDL stuff. Have had CDL A forever, wife took class A operators upgrade last year--15 minutes, no flares, backed up 50 feet! My CDL renewal took almost an hour even without having to drive! Texas resident (Escapees) had to show passport, handgun license, voter registration, medical certificate. DW showed old license! (Course she is better looking than me.)

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To answer Barb,

First test was taken in Terrell, east of Dallas. The second test was at the Ft. Worth sort of downtown location. Both friends were told good thing you got it done, as things are changing soon.

 

My test in 2013, took maybe 20 minutes as well, in Cleburne TX.

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When I took my "A" in 2010, I was told the driving part of the test for the "A" and "CDL-A" are different. The tester told me for a "CDL-A" the number of miles driven for the test was twice as long and included a few more scenarios that the "A" does not. In addition some things that would fail you on a "CDL-A" are acceptable for the "A". We did not get into the specifics.

 

Sounds like Texas might be making the CDL and non-CDL test a little bit more in sync with each other. As for Oct 1 that is the beginning of the states fiscal year so it is not unusual to see changes take affect then.

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From the DPS webpage...notice it refers to "CDL"

Notice: Effective July 1, 2016 all CDL skills tests will be administered at 25 designated locations within Texas. Beginning October 2016, new federal regulations will impact the Texas CDL Program.

  1. A Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) will be issued to drivers who are applying to drive a commercial vehicle. A CLP must be held for a minimum of 14 days prior to being allowed to take a CDL skills test. This applies to original applicants, modifications in grade and adding endorsements which require a skills test.
  2. Sequence of administered exams: The pre-trip and basic skills test must be completed prior to the execution of a road skills test.
  3. Skills tests are now in three phases and applicants must pass the previous phase prior to moving to the next phase.
    1. Pre-trip walk around
    2. Backing skills maneuvers
    3. Road test
  4. Pre-trip skills test: The current pre-trip written test will convert to a randomized pre-trip walk around test.
  5. Revised scoring criteria: The scoring of the basic maneuvers and road-test will change. Points will be deducted for encroachments and excessive pull-ups during the execution of the basic skills test.
  6. Basic skills testing area: The basic skills testing maneuver area must be marked utilizing cones to properly score the basic skills exam.
  7. Additional basic skills test maneuver: In addition to the current straight-line backing and parallel parking maneuvers, an off-set backing maneuver is added.
  8. Road Test change: Increase in the number of maneuvers performed during the road test.

More info available here.

Edited by Big5er

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Big5er,

 

Your post specifically addresses CDL license. The Class A Exempt is not a CDL, so how exactly is it impacted by the CDL changes?

 

Ken

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Big5er,

 

Your post specifically addresses CDL license. Yes Ken, that is exactly what I said The Class A Exempt is not a CDL,I thought everyone knew that also Ken. so how exactly is it impacted by the CDL changes? Well I originally assumed that the OP had info that had been confused between the exempt and the CDL tests. I didn't think it was that hard to understand.

 

But a quick call to DPS in Austin says that ALL driving tests for anything other than a Class C will be done only at the 25 designated sites. I won't believe that 100% until I see it but thanks for asking. I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough for you to understand. I will try to type slower in the future. If you would like to verify that, feel free to call their info line. Got a pencil? The number is 512-424-2600.

I'll be calling some friends at DPS tomorrow to see if they can confirm or deny this.

 

 

Edited by Big5er

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Big5er, You post was clear and it read only for the CDL and the class A and B. Since you have some insight to these issues, I was wondering if there was more to it than what was posted.

 

But it sounds like in typical government fashion, they have not thought it out and there will be confusion.

 

By the way, my wife and I both have the class A Exempt and it is amazing at the number of people I have talked to in Texas with rigs over the 26,001 limit that know nothing about the law. All they can say is that the RV dealer never said anything to them. Usually it results in them saying that it is too much trouble and they are not going to get the proper class license.

 

We had one heck of a time getting the right test in Houston. All they wanted to do was give us the full CDL test, even when I showed them that the CDL handbook specifically stated that RVs were exempt. Took three tries and after a call to Austin they finally figured it our. We took the driving portion in Livingston and no hassle there.

 

Thanks for the input.

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The information that I am getting from my contacts with DPS in Austin say that after October 2016, ALL Class A and B license (CDL and exempt) will be performed only at the 25 testing stations listed in the PDF I linked to in my previous post. I have been unable to learn if the driving test will be standardized between the two but government logic leans heavily to the exam being the same for all vehicles. According to that PDF and the changes in the CDL test, I am glad I already have my Class A.

Edited by Big5er

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If I were "you", I'd assume that I'd be taking my A/B/CDL-A/CDL-B test at one of those 25 sites, and I'd study anything you see in the <whatever-you-want-to-call-it> manual.

 

You're going to get a lot farther in your big RV if you're ready to demonstrate safe driving that you will if you just stand up and proclaim "Ima good Driver, my belt buckle says so".

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As for Oct 1 that is the beginning of the states fiscal year so it is not unusual to see changes take affect then.

 

Texas's fiscal year begins on September 1.

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So, it this license just a TX thing? I've not heard of it in MT, CA, AZ,NC or GA when I lived there. :huh: Also, is this for vehicles in combo or does it include class A's?

Edited by twodips

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So, it this license just a TX thing? I've not heard of it in MT, CA, AZ,NC or GA when I lived there. :huh: Also, is this for vehicles in combo or does it include class A's?

Yes, this is for Texas residents only.

Each state sets its own licensing requirements, but most follow a general class by weight, passenger, etc.

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Took my driving test to upgrade my class C to a class B exempt on Feb 2017 in Austin, TX. It took 25 minutes in total to do the air brake test, safety inspection and drive. I have more details on another post.

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Yes, this is for Texas residents only.

Each state sets its own licensing requirements, but most follow a general class by weight, passenger, etc.

 

Actually California does have a testing requirement, but it is based upon length (ie over 40') not by weight. And there are other states (Nevada for instance) that also have testing requirements. Most people don't look that closely at the requirements for different types of licenses in their own states.

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7 hours ago, packnrat said:

what if one already has a commercial class A?

If you plan to keep your commercial, it exceeds the requirement. 

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no as it expires the commercial will not be renewed. but will keep the class A as non. but will be changing states. 

been driving class A for 35 years, am tired,

need to get out of commiefourna. thinking sd. maybe texas? not sure if other states are "friendly"
 to retirees.

 

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1 hour ago, packnrat said:

no as it expires the commercial will not be renewed. but will keep the class A as non. but will be changing states. 

been driving class A for 35 years, am tired,

need to get out of commiefourna. thinking sd. maybe texas? not sure if other states are "friendly"
 to retirees.

 

Don't know about South Dakota, but take your Class A CDL to Texas and sign the exempt form and have your new Class A Exempt license.

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seeing as i have now less than 8 years to go, might have to renew twice buy then,.

then no more driving for pay.

sure driving a heavy truck, looks good to some. sure has plenty of giddy up and woe down. but after 41 + years of driving for a living, i never want to get back into one of the "big rigs".

i have driven some truly trash trucks. (as in should be hauled away as), to some great condo cabs.

Edited by packnrat

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