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Texas class A non-CDL license: skills test for 5th wheels


Dranoel

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My husband and I are becoming what Escapees calls "real Texans." The next step is to get our class A non-CDL licenses. My question has to do with the skills test. Specifically, will we be asked to parallel park our 5th wheel?

 

Parallel parking is listed as a skill in the DMV manual. I've spoken with drivers of motor coaches who say they had to but have yet to find a 5th wheel owner licensed in Texas and would like to know what to expect.

 

Sally

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My husband and I are becoming what Escapees calls "real Texans." The next step is to get our class A non-CDL licenses. My question has to do with the skills test. Specifically, will we be asked to parallel park our 5th wheel?

 

Parallel parking is listed as a skill in the DMV manual. I've spoken with drivers of motor coaches who say they had to but have yet to find a 5th wheel owner licensed in Texas and would like to know what to expect.

 

Sally

Howdy!

 

When I took my Class A test over a year ago they did not require you to paeallel park. I was asked to stop in the roadway and then back in a straight line don't recall the distance. The road test other than that was only some right and left turns the most difficult was a right turn at the busy intersection of S. Washington and 190. Perty much a cake walk and no air brake test which we have.

 

"Happy Trails"

Chiefneon

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Sally, as has been mentioned, if the GCVW is not over 26K, a standard operators license is all you need. If however it is over, yes the license you mentioned is required, have not seen a LDT yet that met that requirement. In answer to your question, it DEPENDS on the office where you take the test. We took ours in Livingston and a driving test from office to downtown and then out to 59 and head back to the office with a detour to a side road where we had to back in a straight line for about 50ft, no parallel parking.

 

Jim

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In Livingston I have never heard of anyone being required to parallel park. Many have to back straight, some not even that. In other locations they DO make you parallel park - but not everywhere.

 

As to the Class A. A DRV can easily have a GVWR in excess of 18K. Add that to a capable truck and you pass the 26K limit. It is the GVWR that counts - not the actual scale weight.

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The book says you are suppose to. The trooper can waive it if he wants to. It's a state requirement. I had to do it. No cones, just back it from a lane in the parking lot, then up to a curb. Had twice the amount of space as you would need. So practice and hope you don't have to. It's not hard btw. I did my test last December.

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have not seen a LDT yet that met that requirement.

That F-350 dually will have a GVWR around 13000lbs. The DRV 36ft'er (like mine) will have a gvwr around 17000lbs. That will put the combination in excess of 27,000lbs and will require what Texas calls an exempt Class A drivers license.

 

Sally, my "parallel parking" venture was to put truck and trailer as close to the curb as possible without hitting the curb. I was on a vacant roadway with no other vehicles in sight. She gave me no distance or time frame so I just slowly worked it over and then straightened it up and stopped. This was the same vacant roadway that,like others have mentioned, she made me back in a straight line. Like others have said, it wasn't like the defined parallel parking space they use for a car. It was just "put it next to the side of the road".

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Hello All. If one already holds a Class A CDL would a road test and written test be required to change those to a NON-CDL Class A. I have held CDLs for a long time but now they are requiring the medical card every year or so. Not to mention they cost more etc. I've tried to call DPS in Austin but of course there is no way to talk to a real live person.

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Sally, my "parallel parking" venture was to put truck and trailer as close to the curb as possible without hitting the curb. I was on a vacant roadway with no other vehicles in sight. She gave me no distance or time frame so I just slowly worked it over and then straightened it up and stopped. This was the same vacant roadway that,like others have mentioned, she made me back in a straight line. Like others have said, it wasn't like the defined parallel parking space they use for a car. It was just "put it next to the side of the road".

Sally, I gotta agree with Big5er on this one. There was P L E N T Y of room for the parallel park evolution. I was told somewhere along the way hitting the curb was auto fail. I don't know if that is true or not, but I was paranoid of hitting the curb. Needless to say I stopped a L O N G way from the curb. It all worked out.

 

Jim

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Hello All. If one already holds a Class A CDL would a road test and written test be required to change those to a NON-CDL Class A. I have held CDLs for a long time but now they are requiring the medical card every year or so. Not to mention they cost more etc. I've tried to call DPS in Austin but of course there is no way to talk to a real live person.

I do not believe you will have to take the test. Search Brad Dadles posts where he tells about his wife converting her CDL to a non-cdl. I think he said that she didn't have to take any tests.

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At a GCWR of 26,001# and towing a trailer over GVWR of 10,000#, Texas requires a Class A non-CDL license. If the truck does not have a manufacturers rating fro GCWR (Ford puts it in the owners manual and our F350 is rated for 30,000# GCWR), the state added the trailer GVWR to the trucks GVWR to establish a GCWR.

 

Our trailer is 16300# GVWR and the truck is 13,300# GVWR for a GVWR of 29,600#. The flaw in this method is the pin weight of the trailer is counted twice. While by my curb weights we are actually closer to 25,200# GCW by actual weight. But the truck manual states the GCWR is 30,000#, so we need a class A non-CDL.

 

In Livingston, we were required to back up about 30 or 40' and NO parallel parking. The worst turn was a right turn from south bound Washington to west bound HWY 190 down town. You have to signal left and get part way in the left lane while at an angel blocking the right lane, then signal right turn and swing into the left lane as up turn ...like the trucks do on this type turn.

 

It was all pretty easy and my wife and passed easily.

 

Ken

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I had a class a cdl from Tx. Last year about April or May I stopped at the DL office in Texarkana (texas side of course) went in and switched to a regular Class A I could use to drive the RV with. I don't remember the fee or if there was one since my CDL was valid. No test except an eye test and a new picture. Hope this is helpful.

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At a GCWR of 26,001# and towing a trailer over GVWR of 10,000#, Texas requires a Class A non-CDL license. If the truck does not have a manufacturers rating fro GCWR (Ford puts it in the owners manual and our F350 is rated for 30,000# GCWR), the state added the trailer GVWR to the trucks GVWR to establish a GCWR.

 

Our trailer is 16300# GVWR and the truck is 13,300# GVWR for a GVWR of 29,600#. The flaw in this method is the pin weight of the trailer is counted twice. While by my curb weights we are actually closer to 25,200# GCW by actual weight. But the truck manual states the GCWR is 30,000#, so we need a class A non-CDL.

Texas law does not utilize the GCWR listed for your truck, it specifically references the GVWR of both vehicles, not the GCWR of the towing vehicle. If that were the case, you would be required to have a Class B license just to drive the truck alone and you do not.

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Thanks for the replies. I'm feeling better about taking the skills test now that I know my "nightmare scenario" (i.e. being asked to back the truck and 5er into a 60' space between two giant concrete pilings) isn't likely to happen. :rolleyes:

 

FWIW, we've confirmed with DPS that the combined weight ratings require us to have class A non-CDL's.

 

Safe travels,

Sally

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Better reread the code section exactly as written......Big 5er

I enforce the code, Ice, but in case you need to read it, here it is:

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 502.253, except that the operator's seat is included in the computation.

Nowhere in there is there ANY reference to GCWR of a "single vehicle", as you claimed, only the combined GVWR of both vehicles. The code specifically addresses a "combination" of vehicles having a gross "combination" weight. That is the combined GVWR of the "combination", not the GCWR of the towing vehicle alone..

I believe that my previous post was 100% accurate: "Texas law does not utilize the GCWR listed for your truck, it specifically references the GVWR of both vehicles, not the GCWR of the towing vehicle."

If you go read from the DPS website (the link posted by Trey) they don't even use the word "combination" (except to reference that it applies to a "combination of vehicles") in the explanation of what weight is used and license you are required to have for each type if vehicle,They simplify it so it is easier to understand. You might want to check that site.

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See BOLD italic text in section ref Texas admin code for definition of GCWR.

 

Ken

 

 

 

Class [A] License - Combination Vehicles - Any combination of vehicles with gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds falls in Group A, providing the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Most Class A vehicles are trucks such as tractor-trailer or truck and trailer combinations. Driving a Class A vehicle requires considerably more skill and knowledge than driving vehicles in Classes B and C. Because these skills include those required to drive a Class B and C (with appropriate endorsements) vehicle, a driver who has a Class A license also may drive vehicles in Classes B and C.

Class License - Heavy Straight Vehicles - Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds falls in Group B, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. Class B includes straight trucks and large buses. Safely driving these heavy vehicles requires considerably more knowledge and skill than driving the small trucks and buses found in Class C. Because they include the skills required to drive Class C (with appropriate endorsements) vehicles, drivers who have qualified for a Class B license may also drive vehicles in Class C.

Class [C] License - Small Vehicles - Any single vehicle with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds falls in Group C, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. However, vehicles of this size are included in the Commercial Driver License (CDL) program only if they are: 1) designed to carry 16 or more passengers including the driver, or 2) used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Part 172, Subpart F).

 

http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=37&pt=1&ch=16&rl=2

 

SUBCHAPTER A LICENSING REQUIREMENTS, QUALIFICATIONS, RESTRICTIONS, AND ENDORSEMENTS RULE §16.2 Commercial Motor Vehicles and Licensing Definitions (a) The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, or in Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 522 shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall clearly indicate otherwise. (1) Commercial motor vehicles (CMV)--A motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle: (A) has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. In determining the GVWR of the towed unit, the weight of all vehicles being towed will be added together; ( B) has a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds; © is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or (D) is transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded in accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 172, Subpart F. (2) Gross combination weight rating (GCWR)--The value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination (articulated) vehicle. If there is no manufacturer's specified value, gross combination weight rating is determined by adding the GVWR of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit or units and any load on a towed unit. (3) Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)--The value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle. (4) Employer--A person who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle or assigns a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle. For purposes of this chapter, the definition of a person also includes the United States, a State, District of Columbia or a political subdivision of a State. (5) Out-of-service order-- (A) a temporary prohibition against driving a commercial motor vehicle issued under §522.101, the law of another state, 49 C.F.R. §383.5; or 49 C.F.R. §§386.72, 395.5, 395.13, 396.9, or compatible laws, or the North American Uniform Out-of-Service Criteria, or ( B) a declaration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or an authorized enforcement officer of a state or local jurisdiction that a driver, commercial motor vehicle, or motor carrier operation is out of service under 49 C.F.R. §383.5 or 49 C.F.R. §§386.72, 395.5, 395.13, 396.9, or compatible laws, or the North American Uniform Out-of-Service Criteria. ( B) If the GVWR or GCWR cannot be determined, then the registered gross weight or the actual gross weight of the vehicle(s), whichever is greater, can be used for enforcement purposes in determining CDL requirements. © For purposes of determining whether a vehicle can be used for taking a skills test to obtain a CDL, only vehicle(s) for which the GVWR or GCWR (as defined or calculated under 49 Code of Federal Regulations, §383.5, and Texas Transportation Code, §522.003(17)(18)) is known may be used. If the GVWR or GCWR cannot be determined, the vehicle(s) cannot be used for taking a skills test. If the GVWR plate is missing from the vehicle(s) but, based on the driver license employee's knowledge and experience, he/she believes the vehicle(s) is over 26,000 pounds, then the employee may permit the vehicle(s) to be used for a skills test. Source Note: The provisions of this §16.2 adopted to be effective July 16, 1990, 15 TexReg 3806; amended to be effective November 18, 1993, 18 TexReg 8228; amended to be effective July 7, 1999, 24 TexReg 5025; amended to be effective November 13, 2011, 36 TexReg 7557

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And your bold text is clearly in the definition of a COMMERCIAL motor vehicle and is a DEFINITION. Nowhere does any of that say that the GCWR of a SINGLE VEHICLE is used for licensing. It also plainly states 2) Gross combination weight rating (GCWR)--The value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination (articulated) vehicle.

But the truck manual states the GCWR is 30,000#, so we need a class A non-CDL.

Your single truck is NOT a "COMBINATION VEHICLE" and it certainly isn't articulated, get it? Obviously not. You can grasp at straws all you want but what you are saying just isn't so. I'm done trying to convince you that your single truck is NOT a combination vehicle.

Our trailer is 16300# GVWR and the truck is 13,300# GVWR for a GVWR of 29,600#

THAT is what requires you to have a Class A license. The "combined" GVWR's of the vehicles, not the listed GCWR of your truck.
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Read what you wish, this is the information provided by the DPS and license office in Austin. The problem is many of the "LEOS" do not understand the code as written, The Owners manual and literature on my F350 list the manufactures rating for the vehicle GCWR.

 

The state does not recognize different definitions of the GCWR depending on if it is commercial or non-commercial.

 

Ken

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Sally, my "parallel parking" venture was to put truck and trailer as close to the curb as possible without hitting the curb. I was on a vacant roadway with no other vehicles in sight. She gave me no distance or time frame so I just slowly worked it over and then straightened it up and stopped. This was the same vacant roadway that,like others have mentioned, she made me back in a straight line. Like others have said, it wasn't like the defined parallel parking space they use for a car. It was just "put it next to the side of the road".

 

This was pretty much our experience. And I agree with JC and Angie...it's not all that difficult. I'd never even backed up our fifth wheel prior to taking the test, so DH took me to a vacant lot the morning before the driving test and made me practice backing up, backing into a parking space, etc. I passed the test and got my Class A license, so I figure if I can do it with so little practice, anyone can do it! :)

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