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David-and-Cheryl

Texas Class A or B License Upgrade FAQs

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3 hours ago, MrTuxTravels said:

Hi All, I just filled out the CDL-2 form and will choose certification 4 an RV.  However, I have not purchased my RV yet and am trying to get my class A license before I leave Texas for a few months to visit family up in Pennsylvania. I plan to purchase my RV during that time most likely in that area so want to get the license now.  My plan was to rent a dump trailer that has a GVWR of 14,000 lbs from Big Tex Trailer World to take the skills test since its pretty close to the Fort Worth testing center so that will minimize my risk driving without the proper license to the testing site and possible insurance not paying if there is an accident.

1. Since I have to certify on the application that I'm getting the license for an RV, will they allow me to take the test with a dump trailer?

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.

3 hours ago, MrTuxTravels said:

2. Also, which option would a dump trailer even fall under on this list?

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

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4 hours ago, MrTuxTravels said:

Hi All, I just filled out the CDL-2 form and will choose certification 4 an RV.  However, I have not purchased my RV yet and am trying to get my class A license before I leave Texas for a few months to visit family up in Pennsylvania.

Welcome to the Escapee forums! Since you live in Ft. Worth, my suggestion would be to drop by one of the driving license offices and discuss it with them. I am not aware of anyone who has done what you have in mind as most people buy the RV and then take the test in that RV. I have never found a clear answer to what the legal issues might be if you were to have an accident with the RV before proper licensing was obtained. 

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4 hours ago, MrTuxTravels said:

 My plan was to rent a dump trailer that has a GVWR of 14,000 lbs from Big Tex Trailer World to take the skills test since its pretty close to the Fort Worth testing center so that will minimize my risk driving without the proper license to the testing site and possible insurance not paying if there is an accident.

1. Since I have to certify on the application that I'm getting the license for an RV, will they allow me to take the test with a dump trailer?

2. Also, which option would a dump trailer even fall under on this list?

The renting of a trailer will not work for you.

Here is my situation. I have a large horse trailer (17.5k#) and a large low boy (14k#). Both get me over 26k#. When I filled out the paper work I crossed both option but the officials would only allow me to cross one. So I opted for the low boy and they asked why this is a recreational item. I told them that I need this to haul hay for my farm and equipment to/from the deer lease. Then I showed up with the low boy trailer and luckily I had all the registration paper work and the ownership papers with me. They wanted to see that this trailer was not registered as a commercial trailer, was not registered as a farm trailer (I do not have a farm exemption) so that it would fall under the claimed recreational category. 

After that it was a breeze. Its much easier to drive a 20ft low boy then a 38ft horse trailer around in Pasadena. But the officials were confused all the way with this option. 

Anyhow - all worked out for me. I think there is no visibility later to what vehicle you took to the test ones you have the class A document in hand.

Good luck!

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4 hours ago, David-and-Cheryl said:

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

Yes, my Ram 3500 Dually has GVWR of 14,000 pounds so I need a trailer of 12,001 pounds or more.

I would not stress about driving without the license in terms of law enforcement... if I get a ticket oh well I'll pay it and it would be close to the cost of the rental trailer for the test anyway.  However, I am not comfortable driving a camper around for potentially eight months before I'll be back around the Texas area to take the test with my rig at that time.  I fear that if I have an accident insurance will not pay if it's serious enough that they re-create the accident and check weight and all of that and find out I was not licensed properly.  I called Escapees, they could not verify if insurance would typically pay.  I called Holiday World and they didn't even know what I was talking about in regards to the license.  I called Progressive who insures my truck and after about an hour on the phone being thrown back and forth between the same two or three departments someone finally said they don't look at the license when reviewing claims so they would pay up to $500 for the RV (any trailer actually) if not insured and then pay based on the policy if the RV was insured with them.  I asked for that in writing and they said they could not do that.  Without it in writing, it's meaningless to me and I'm not comfortable driving over the 26k GCWR until I get the license.

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums! Since you live in Ft. Worth, my suggestion would be to drop by one of the driving license offices and discuss it with them. I am not aware of anyone who has done what you have in mind as most people buy the RV and then take the test in that RV. I have never found a clear answer to what the legal issues might be if you were to have an accident with the RV before proper licensing was obtained. 

I actually live in Dallas but the closest trailer I could find to rent that meets the GVWR requirement I need is in Fort Worth and it happens to be pretty close to the DPS testing site there.  I'm going to try and call them and see what they say.

Agree, I think the insurance question is avoided by the insurance companies and then we'd only find out if a claim and investigation happened with the situation.

Edited by MrTuxTravels

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4 hours ago, heitjer said:

The renting of a trailer will not work for you.

Here is my situation. I have a large horse trailer (17.5k#) and a large low boy (14k#). Both get me over 26k#. When I filled out the paper work I crossed both option but the officials would only allow me to cross one. So I opted for the low boy and they asked why this is a recreational item. I told them that I need this to haul hay for my farm and equipment to/from the deer lease. Then I showed up with the low boy trailer and luckily I had all the registration paper work and the ownership papers with me. They wanted to see that this trailer was not registered as a commercial trailer, was not registered as a farm trailer (I do not have a farm exemption) so that it would fall under the claimed recreational category. 

After that it was a breeze. Its much easier to drive a 20ft low boy then a 38ft horse trailer around in Pasadena. But the officials were confused all the way with this option. 

Anyhow - all worked out for me. I think there is no visibility later to what vehicle you took to the test ones you have the class A document in hand.

Good luck!

Hello heitjer, I am not following why you do not think it'd work for me.  Is it because you are saying the trailer would be registered as commercial since it's with a rental company?  I'll look into the registration of the specific trailer.  Big Tex said for all of their other trailers over 12,001 GVWR I would need a CDL but for this one I do not so I'm thinking it might work since I'm assuming it must be registered so that they can rent it to any typical driver.

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Sorry for not being clear. Its was my understanding that the officials made 100% sure this was my owned trailer and it was not used commercially or as farm equipment to be considered to be used under this non commercial Class A type. It took a while for them to allow the test drive to start. They asked for the title and the registration details for the trailer and the truck and went inside for 30 minutes to check on this before we could start the test drive.  

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1 hour ago, heitjer said:

Sorry for not being clear. Its was my understanding that the officials made 100% sure this was my owned trailer and it was not used commercially or as farm equipment to be considered to be used under this non commercial Class A type. It took a while for them to allow the test drive to start. They asked for the title and the registration details for the trailer and the truck and went inside for 30 minutes to check on this before we could start the test drive.  

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.

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2 hours ago, heitjer said:

Sorry for not being clear. Its was my understanding that the officials made 100% sure this was my owned trailer and it was not used commercially or as farm equipment to be considered to be used under this non commercial Class A type. It took a while for them to allow the test drive to start. They asked for the title and the registration details for the trailer and the truck and went inside for 30 minutes to check on this before we could start the test drive.  

The trailer company told me they had someone rent a trailer for a real CDL in the past.  They said they just gave the person the registration white paper which they said they would do for me.  DPS customer service said I can do this today but they would not provide confirmation to me in writing and could not point to anything on the website specific to using a trailer in place of an RV.   They told me to just point to the requirements on the website that the trailer meets the requirements and have the registration documents but they recommended I go in person to talk to the local DPS before I spend the money renting the trailer.

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1 hour ago, MrTuxTravels said:

The trailer company told me they had someone rent a trailer for a real CDL in the past.  They said they just gave the person the registration white paper which they said they would do for me.  DPS customer service said I can do this today but they would not provide confirmation to me in writing and could not point to anything on the website specific to using a trailer in place of an RV.   They told me to just point to the requirements on the website that the trailer meets the requirements and have the registration documents but they recommended I go in person to talk to the local DPS before I spend the money renting the trailer.

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.

Edited by David-and-Cheryl

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On 2/28/2019 at 9:15 PM, David-and-Cheryl said:

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.

Tried to take the written test today but they said I got there too late.  So they just processed my application so I can take the test faster next time.  They kept trying to tell me I had to get a CDL A.  I told them all the research I've done and RVers I've talked to said I needed the non-commercial CDL A.  She said ok if that's what you want then sign this line here where she wrote that she explained to me I needed the CDL but I wanted the non-CDL.

Afterwards I asked if I could take the skills test with the dump trailer that meets the weight requirement.  She said yes, then said hold on I think you have to take the test representative of the vehicle you are applying for and she went and asked someone else.  I said it meets the non-CDL A requirements but does not match the fact that I said I'm getting this for an RV.  She came back and said if I'm getting the license to drive an RV then I have to take the skills test in an RV.

I don't think anyone at DPS knows what's really required.

Few Questions:

1. When I go online to schedule the skills test it has a button for RV... is that what you all selected to schedule?

2. It's now saying I have to take an ITD test as well and show certificate of completion when I go for skills test.  I feel like this is wrong.  It says, "Completion of Impact Texas Driving (ITD) is required for all individuals taking a drive skills test.  You are required to present a certificate of completion before taking the drive test and it must be dated within 90 days of the scheduled appointment.  Complete ITD requirements may be viewed at:  https://impacttexasdrivers.dps.texas.gov."

3. Does anyone in DFW area want to lend me their 12,001 pound or greater travel trailer or fifth wheel so I can take this test on Tuesday, March 19th at 2pm at the Carrollton location at 4600 State Hwy 121 Carrollton, TX 75010?

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MrTrux...we had to call Austin and talk to a fellow and he said no way we needed CDLs for our RV.  He gave me his direct line and said to have the testing office call him and he would explain it to the clerk.   They had to call and we got the plain Class A test.

Ken

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Did the driving test today - Class B Exempt (the motorhome one).  Did it in Conroe.  I got there about an hour ahead of time, was called to the front of the line because I had an appointment.  They checked me in and told me I was welcome to wait in the RV.  A nice lady officiated, no problems at all.  We actually started about a half hour early.

Not a word about air brakes.  She checked my turn signals and brake lights and had me toot the air horn (that got the attention of the people standing in line outside).  Looked at my license, registration, and insurance.

Drove around Conroe about 20 minutes.  A few left turns, mostly right turns.

No backing or parking of any kind.  She was interested in how well I stayed in my lane and how I handled turns.  Like any other driving test, I drove slower than usual, made sure to turn on my signals, made obvious use of my mirrors, stopped behind the line at stop signs, etc.

Automatic fails if you break the law, drive dangerously, or are involved in an accident. :)

She told me that she has never had anyone fail this test.  

Conroe isn't doing CDLs anymore - just RVs, Fire Trucks, and the like.  

Aside from it being in the motorhome, the actual test was easier than what you would do in a car.

Edited by GR "Scott" Cundiff

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:51 PM, MrTuxTravels said:

Tried to take the written test today but they said I got there too late.  So they just processed my application so I can take the test faster next time.  They kept trying to tell me I had to get a CDL A.  I told them all the research I've done and RVers I've talked to said I needed the non-commercial CDL A.  She said ok if that's what you want then sign this line here where she wrote that she explained to me I needed the CDL but I wanted the non-CDL.

Afterwards I asked if I could take the skills test with the dump trailer that meets the weight requirement.  She said yes, then said hold on I think you have to take the test representative of the vehicle you are applying for and she went and asked someone else.  I said it meets the non-CDL A requirements but does not match the fact that I said I'm getting this for an RV.  She came back and said if I'm getting the license to drive an RV then I have to take the skills test in an RV.

I don't think anyone at DPS knows what's really required.

Few Questions:

1. When I go online to schedule the skills test it has a button for RV... is that what you all selected to schedule?

2. It's now saying I have to take an ITD test as well and show certificate of completion when I go for skills test.  I feel like this is wrong.  It says, "Completion of Impact Texas Driving (ITD) is required for all individuals taking a drive skills test.  You are required to present a certificate of completion before taking the drive test and it must be dated within 90 days of the scheduled appointment.  Complete ITD requirements may be viewed at:  https://impacttexasdrivers.dps.texas.gov."

3. Does anyone in DFW area want to lend me their 12,001 pound or greater travel trailer or fifth wheel so I can take this test on Tuesday, March 19th at 2pm at the Carrollton location at 4600 State Hwy 121 Carrollton, TX 75010?

So about three weeks ago I did successfully get my class A license but still had more hoops and issues to get through.

1. Went in to take the written test they told me I did not need the combinations test.  I asked to take it anyway because I knew they were wrong and they said you do not need it so I didn't take it.

2. Day before appointment, get a call from the other DPS office where I had appointment scheduled calling to let me know that I cannot take test until I pass the combinations test.  I told them I knew that and tried to take it but they wouldn't let me at the other office.  She said she could reschedule for later in the week but I already had the rental paid for an everything so I said I have to do this as scheduled and would drive up there immediately to take the test.  They expedited me when I got there and let me study before I took it.  I passed.

3. They said ok show up as scheduled and someone would be out at 2, park all the way to the right.  No one would be out before 2 so didn't matter if I showed up early.

4. Get up early, drive an hour away to pick up 44' Fifth Wheel and drove it an hour to the DPS location.  I had to learn quick and on the fly haha.  Get there and pull into a nearby parking lot to practice  backing up one time.  Drive over to DPS and wait.  Someone comes out and asks what I'm there for.  I tell them and they say did you check in.  I said no I was told to come here, park to the right, and wait til 2 and someone would be out at 2.  She said ok and said she'd let them know I was there.  2 comes, 2:15, 2:30, someone comes out and says someone will be out here soon for you.  Almost 3 pm and hour late lady comes out and says I'm so sorry I thought I was testing a farm truck and have been looking for a farm truck this whole time.

5.  I'm pissed but am nice because I want the license.  We check papers, lights, horn, back up in straight line, go for a pretty long drive I thought, then get back and she passes me.

6. Drive an hour to drop off rented RV, drive an hour home.  About 7:30pm when I get home... long day.  Finally license after all that and four trips to DPS.

The person I rented RV from said Class A license wasn't needed because it's for personal use.  Told them they did and showed the papers but they didn't seem interested in getting it.

Attached is a picture of my truck and RV after the test.  Quite the rig to drive an RV for the first time ever and then get tested.

This thread really helped me figure it all out so thank you!  Now buying the RV has turned into another nightmare that I never expected.  My credit union and dealers cannot agree to the transaction process.

Jeff

IMG_1297.JPG

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That's the same trailer I took my test with.  That's why I drug it up to Vernon for the driving test.  A touch less intense driving around Vernon.

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Went to the DL office in Columbus TX this morning to take written test for my Exempt B to drive my motorhome.  Was told I had completed the wrong forms (oh well I thought I had downloaded the correct ones), was then told written test would be over chapters 12, 13 & 14.  Then to top it off, they were closing the office early due to Good Friday, so I have to go back Monday.

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APRIL 2019

I'm staying in Cleveland, TX. We went to Livingston DMV to get our C licenses. I wanted to take the Class B exemption written test on Friday (Livingston DMV closed on Fridays), so I went to Conroe DMV. Very friendly, helpful staff. After passing the test, they set me up in their system.

Back at the motorhome, I signed on to set up ma Skills Test in Conroe. Conroe only does the skills test on Wednesday mornings. The website had the next available day was June 12 (today was April 26). The website suggested  several nearby towns with sooner test dates. Livingston was listed for May 8, with a choice of 9:00, 10:00, or 12:00.

I picked Livingston and got a confirmatory email and text. I had to show these to my wife because she was adamant that Livingston didn't test because they weren't on the DMV website.

If I survive the skills test, I'll post an update.

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I took my written last week in Columbus Tx for my class B.  Passed.  Talked with the examiner and she said they would not be doing Exempt skills testing at that location for a while.  At home, with my paperwork in hand, I scheduled the skills test on May 9 in Bryan TX.

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I am new to the forum but thought I would relate my experience since I just received my Class A Non-CDL Exempt. Yes there is still confusion at the different DPS offices but I got through it with a little problem that was resolved quickly.

My rig 2018 Ram 3500 GVWR 14,000#, RV 2019 5th wheel GVWR 16,800#

March 2019 - I had all the forms filled out a head of time. Paid $11 and took the written test at the DPS office in Bastrop. The Special Requirements and the Combinations test were both required and passed. They gave me a form and instructions how to schedule the Skills Test online before 90 days.

I scheduled the Skills Test at the Pflugerville (Austin) DPS Mega Center for a couple weeks later. Drove my rig to the testing center. Upon checking in for the Skills Test the confusion started. They thought I had a Motor Home towing a Pickup Truck and was taking the test for a class B license. Once I explained to them I had a pickup truck towing a 5th wheel trailer and that I applied for a class A, they looked at the rig and said ok.

The checked  the truck license plate and windshield sticker for being current which includes the safety inspection. You can not renew the truck plate without the passing the safety inspection. Then they checked truck insurance card.

Next was the RV, they went looking for the trailer safety inspection sticker they used to put on the tongue of trailers, but they don't issue those stickers anymore. They are like regular vehicles now, you can not renew your trailer license plate without first passing a vehicle safety inspection. I had the safety inspection report given to me by the RV dealer and it stated the trailer passed inspection, they accepted it and then looked at the insurance card for the trailer.

The Test- checked lights and horn. Had me back up in a straight line for 50 feet. Then on the road we went making turns, changing lanes, stopping at lights, lasted all of 30 minutes and they got me in before my appointment time. Piece of cake! Really nice people at the DPS Pflugerville office!

I found out you can take the written tests and pass them, then pay for a learners permit that will allow you to drive your rig on a class C license BUT you must have a Class A or B licensed driver with you. The permit is good for 14 days and is renewable but you must pass the Skills test before 90 days. When I took the Skills test they asked if I had a learners permit, I said no I didn't think I needed one since my last truck/ trailer combo was under the 26,001 and now my new truck/trailer combo was over the limit. Nothing more was said.

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11 hours ago, rm.w/aview said:

The reciprocity of driver's license categories was touched on briefly here, after all it is essentially a thread on testing, but please to allow a question. If a retired Class A CDL owner chooses to relocate in Texas from another state, his Class A CDL is reciprocal and no testing is required on his part to obtain the driver's license needed to legally drive his 40K plus pound RV set up, correct?

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

Edited by David-and-Cheryl

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May 8, 2019

Arrived at Livingston DPS office at 07:50 for 09:00 appointment. Tuesday & Wednesday are their slowest days! Exempt driving test is only done on Wednesdays!  I was told to park anywhere...WRONG!  

Park on side of road, in front of office (in front of fire hydrant).

Tester had me activate turn signals & brake lights.  She then had me drive up road, turn Right into DPS parking lot, do a figure 8 to get to sidewalk, then back up. We drove down the road to Hwy 59, entered from Right, went North to Bedigo exit, drive back through town past DPS office, turn Left through neighborhood, back to DPS office. VERY FRIENDLY STAFF. I was back on the road before 10:00.

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Today was the day. Class B driver test at Bryan DPS office.  Left parking lot got on Hwy 6 south, took next exit, over 6 then entered 6 north.  3 exits later, exit cross over 6 west to an industrial area.  A couple of left and right turns, stopped on empty street, backed 50 feet.  Back out to 6 then exit at DPS office.  Text complete.

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