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David-and-Cheryl

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  1. Thanks, Jon, I'm glad it was helpful! Congratulations on passing your test! David Goldstein
  2. Well, that's an interesting anomaly you've spotted. Here is the exact language from the Texas Transportation Code: 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. At first glance, your interpretation seems almost right: you would need a Class A license for a combination only if at least one of the vehicles has a GCWR over 26,000 lbs and the GVWR of the towed vehicle is more than 10,000 lbs. (Note that a towed vehicle with a 10,000 lb or less GVWR would not cause the combination to need a Class A license, even if the GCWR of the tow vehicle is 26,001 lbs or more, because both conditions must be met.) The statute refers to "a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating...". However, that's a meaningless phrase. A combination (meaning two or more vehicles) isn't given a GCWR, or any ratings at all for that matter. Specs like this are given only to an individual vehicle, like the 43,300 lbs for the F-450. So the question is, which of these is the phrase actually intended to mean? "a combination of vehicles that has a total gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more..." (this is how we've been interpreting it), OR "a combination of vehicles in which any one of the vehicles has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more..." The second option would actually cast a wider net because it would apply to more vehicles. Take a hypothetical combination of a 2021 Ford F-250 XLT 4x4 with the 6.7L turbodiesel, SRW, and 3.31 gear ratio. That truck has a 30,000 lb. GCWR for conventional towing, and a GVWR of around 10,000 lbs. depending on the cab style. We'll have that truck tow a hypothetical trailer with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. Under the first interpretation of the statute, this combination can be driven with a Class C license, because the total of the GVWRs for the two vehicles is less than 26,001 pounds. But under the second interpretation of the statute, this combination requires a Class A license, because the GCWR of the truck is more than 26,001 pounds and the trailer's GVWR is over 10,000 pounds. I'll have to do more research to find out which of these interpretations the DPS actually uses. If I can find out anything further, I'll post it here. EDIT: Section 522.003(17) of the Texas Transportation Code defines "gross combination weight rating" as "the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination or articulated vehicle or, if the manufacturer has not specified a value, the sum of the gross vehicle weight rating of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit or units and any load on a towed unit." Since there is no manufacturer-specified GCWR for the types of combinations we usually drive (a truck from one manufacturer towing a trailer from another), the second part of the definition would apply: the sum of the GVWR of the tow vehicle plus the GVW (actual, not rated) of the trailer. This gives us yet a third interpretation of the rule! We now have less clarity, not more. THE ANSWER: through a former Texas law enforcement officer, I was able to get an answer to this question from a Department of Public Safety license & weight trooper with the DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Service. For purposes of determining the needed license class, Texas DPS interprets Sec. 521.081(2) to mean the total of the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWRs) of all the vehicles in a combination. If that total is 26,001 pounds or more and any towed vehicle in the combination has a GVWR more than 10,000 pounds, a Class A license is required. (This is interpretation #1 above, and is the same as how most everyone has understood the statute.) This makes sense because each vehicle's GVWR is determined by its manufacturer and is generally placarded somewhere on the vehicle, making it easy for a LEO to obtain during a traffic stop. The DPS trooper added that they will sometimes look up the Gross Combined Weight Rating of the towing vehicle--unlike the GVWR, the GCWR is generally not readily available on the vehicle itself--but only if they suspect that the combination actually exceeds the towing vehicle's GCWR.
  3. Randy, if you go to the very first post in this long forum thread, back on page 1, you'll find a detailed answer to that question and many more. David
  4. Mike, unfortunately many of the DPS offices just aren't very well informed about the Class A and B Exempt written testing requirements. It sounds like you got it straightened out though. As far as I know, you do NOT need to take the Air Brakes test, even if your rig did have air brakes. And on the pre-drive inspection, all the examiner will do is check your vehicle to make sure it is legal to drive--basically the same things that are checked on the annual Texas safety inspection. I think I have a mostly complete list in the original post. You do NOT have to explain any of it or have any special safety equipment on board--that's only for CDL applicants. When you've done the Impact training, would you mind posting here a description of what it was, how long it took you to complete, and any problems you had with taking it? That's a brand-new requirement and I haven't heard from anyone yet who has done it. Good luck on your driving test! David
  5. I have just updated the main post with a bunch of changes over the last year or so. Among them: Added information on the new REAL ID document requirements for proving citizenship, identity, Social Security registration, residency, and vehicle ownership; Added information on the new Improving Texas Drivers (ITD) course requirement; Updated the reference to Form DL-43, which has been superseded by by Form DL-14A; Updated the duration of license validity (now eight years instead of six) Updated the license renewal fee (now $32) Checked all links and fixed where needed. I've also turned this post into a new article for the Escapees blog. It should be published sometime in the next month or two.
  6. Well, yes and no. It's true that in a state that requires special licensing, they have to honor the requirements of the state where you're licensed. So, for instance, if you're driving in NM (which requires special licensing), you're legal if you have the proper license for the state where you're licensed. That could be a Class A or B Exempt license from Texas, or a regular passenger vehicle license from Florida (which has no special license requirements). I'm now licensed in Florida, and with my normal passenger vehicle license I can legally drive my rig anywhere in the country, even though it would require a Class A license in Texas and some other states. However, the reverse is not true. If you're driving in a state that does not require special licensing, I'm pretty confident that you won't get a citation for not being properly licensed in your home state (assuming of course that you have a valid license for a regular passenger vehicle). You're not violating the laws of that state, and a state law enforcement officer probably does not have the authority to cite you for violating the laws of any other state. For that matter, they probably wouldn't even know (or care) that your home state requires a special license.
  7. That is the correct legal answer. However, because there is no non-CDL "learner's permit" that I'm aware of in Texas, there's a catch-22: it's hard to pass the driving test if you've never driven your rig, but how do you practice for the test without the appropriate license? The fact is, most people end up doing some driving illegally because that's the only way to gain some experience. For safety's sake, if you do that, I'd have your licensed husband in the passenger seat and actively acting as an "instructor". The chances of you getting stopped and cited are small (but not zero) as long as you don't break any laws or do anything unsafe. But again, in Texas, you would still be driving illegally without a license. However, since you're going on a road trip, you can easily do your practice in a state that doesn't require a special class of license to drive your particular rig. I don't know your route, but according to http://changingears.com/rv-sec-state-rv-license.shtml, Utah, Arizona and Idaho have no special licensing requirements.
  8. Congratulations on passing your test! I'm glad it was anticlimactic. Thanks for the shout-out; I'm glad the post was helpful! David
  9. Just to clarify for the OP...I think what BarbaraOK is getting at here is that you need only a Class C license if the GVWR of your motorhome is 26k pounds or less, unless your car's GVWR is over 10k pounds (unlikely) and the total GVWR of the combination is more than 26k pounds. That would be a very rare situation in an RV unless your toad is something like a 3/4 ton pickup truck. So her point, which is a good one, is that you may not need to get a Class A Exempt license at all. Remember that the class of motorhome you're driving has no bearing on the class of license you need. Yes, that's confusing. When I answered your question, I was assuming that you had already determined that you actually do need a Class A or Class B Exempt license. That would likely be because your motorhome has a GVWR over 26,000 pounds.If that's the case, and your car's GVWR is 10k pounds or less, then you need only a Class B Exempt license. And because you'd need the same class of license if you weren't towing a car at all, there's no reason to take your toad to the driving test, and therefore no need to take the Combinations written test. To put it a different way: you'll need your toad for the driving test and you'll have to take the Combinations written test only if you need a Class A Exempt license. And you need the Class A Exempt only if your car's GVWR exceeds 10k pounds, which it probably doesn't. If you haven't already, see the table in the first post in this thread, which will help to make the "license class" requirements more clear.
  10. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure the answer would be yes. A "combination vehicle" is any vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit and the trailer. So a MH towing a car would fit the definition.
  11. Poor choice of words on my part. I meant the recommended pressure on the door jamb. My conjecture was that examiners are used to looking at that for cars, and in the absence of it for RVs (I don't know about motorhomes, but most trailers don't have one), they would look at the tire's max pressure rating, which is often higher. Regardless, it's surprising to me that the CDL test requires inflation to the maximum pressure on the tire, assuming that's true. I would think that most large commercial vehicles would use the tire manufacturer's load/inflation tables (like you were), rather than just inflating to the maximum on the tire--and that examiners would be aware of that fact. But wonders never cease, especially when it comes to governmental agencies.
  12. Thanks for sharing your experience. That's the first time I've ever heard of an examiner checking tire pressures. Very interesting. I guess s/he thought the tire in question looked underinflated? Just curious, what pressure were you running the tires at?
  13. I'd have to agree with that. I've never heard of a DPS examiner checking tire pressures. Perhaps the examiner thought the tire looked under inflated and therefore had a safety concern, which is why s/he asked the OP to check the pressure. And their experience is probably limited to automobiles, on which you usually inflate to the placarded maximum pressure. But Blues is right--RVs are different, and you would hope the examiners giving Class A and B tests are aware of this fact.
  14. 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
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