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CDL?


Vegas Teacher

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I am trying to learn all of the laws and yes I want to get a CDL just to be on the safe side but how many states do I need to have a CDL in to be able just to pull my trailer or drive only the semi alone? I am assuming California is one of the states that makes you have one?

 

I had a 780 in my sights on ebay for 19,950 and was setting up all of the tests to be done from long distance when somebody hit the buy now button and saved me all of the trouble '-( :angry::angry::angry::angry::angry:

 

Thanks,

 

Cory O / Vegas Teacher

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Check your state laws as every state is different.

But

In South Dakota, "Trucks" such as ours can be classified in 2 categories- Private farm or Motorhome if you meet the requirements- 120v ac power, cooking, fridge, bathroom (porta-potty) sleeping.

In SD we are technically a motorhome, "Volvo Motorhome" on the truck title and registration. This means no CDL required.

BUT if you do ANYTHING that uses the truck/motorhome and PROFIT from it- go racing and win a trophy, horse show and get a ribbon, make any money from any event that you used the truck to transport yourself or sold items, then it is commercial.

But we just pull our home with it and use it as our daily driver.

 

A quick look shows that you will need a Class A with endorsement J according to the Nevada guidelines.

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Things must have changed in South Dakota since 2004, our truck is registered and licensed as non-commercial. Don't need a CDL, don't need to stop at weight stations.

 

But yes every state is different. Check yours out before you buy. Good luck.

Ours was already titled as a motorhome in Michigan, they accepted it without change.

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First get the terms correct. A CDL (Commercial Drivers License) is a Federal Standard license issue by one state and is also registered by the other 49 states. You only get one. If you drive Commercial you have to have one.

 

A non-CDL or Exempt-CDL license is issue by a state to the state's standards. Because of the "full faith" clause of the Constitution, a non-CDL is respected by all the other states. A non-CDL is what is used for other than Commercial driving.

 

Some states, like South Dakota do not ave a non-CDL license. SD had CDL's and a Class E (automobile) license.

 

Like many things,there is a State Listing of driver's license requirement for RV (non-commercial) licenses in the HHRV Resource Guide including the sections of the State CDL License Manual and when needed, portion of the State's Codes in regard to RV licenses.

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Whatever state you are domiciled in will determine what type of driver license you need to operate a particular vehicle. If your state allows you to operate your vehicle on your license type, then all other states honor that even if the other state requires a different license type to operate the same vehicle registered in their state.

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On the back of my Class D there are the words "Valid Single Unit Up to 26,000 LBS GVWR, ALL Recreational & Farm Veh.

Up to 26K lbs GVWR would not cover the example I described above.

 

No, but "ALL Recreational" would.

 

If YOUR home State says you can drive an "RV" with a Class "whatever" license then you can drive an HDT that is registered as an RV with that license...in any state.

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So just to be clear Mark, then you can drive "any RV" (even a semi trailer & HDT registered as RV's) with the same license as a passenger car?

 

Yes, sort of. SD basically has two types of non-commercial licenses, class 1 and class 2. Class 1 is everything non-commercial except motorcycles--including a truck, RV, etc.--while class 2 includes motorcycles.

 

It's a bit of a technicality, but driving in other states than the one you're licensed in isn't by way of full faith and credit, but via reciprocity. Requirements vary, and recognition is essentially universal for occasional visits somewhere, but there are a number of things that bring your nonresident privilege to an end in many states--things like employment, physical presence for a certain number of days in a calendar year, establishing a residence, etc.--and it's generally only to the extent your home state recognizes the licenses of the state you're in. For the most part it doesn't matter at all, and unless you volunteer too much information during a traffic stop, no one is going to dig far enough to catch it.

 

Using SD as an example:

32-12-24. A nonresident who is at least sixteen years of age and who has in that person's immediate possession a valid operator's license or motorcycle operator's license issued by that person's home state or country may operate in this state any motor vehicle for which that person is licensed in the person's home state or country.

But it's followed by the following sections:

32-12-26. Reciprocity respecting nonresident provisions. The provisions of § 32-12-24 granting exemptions to any nonresident are operative only to the same extent that the laws of the state of the nonresident grant exemptions to residents of this state.

32-12-26.1. Period of residency for purpose of licensing requirement. Any person who has resided in this state for a period of ninety days is considered a resident for the purpose of being licensed to drive a motor vehicle under the laws of this state.

 

Texas only extends reciprocity for class A or B vehicles to drivers 18 or older, if you have "a license issued to the person by the person's state or country of residence that is similar to a Class A or Class B driver's license". While I doubt that age part applies to anyone here, the point is that the rules vary from state to state. At 16 or 17, you could have a SD license, legally able to operate anything noncommercial with wheels, but only be allowed to drive a passenger car in Texas. As a result, a 17-year old TX driver couldn't drive in SD. Is a SD class 1 similar to a Texas class A if there's no extra testing? We'd all say yes, as that's to our own advantage, but who knows. Confusing? Absolutely. We either need reciprocity maps where we can dial in our own circumstances like the CCW maps, or just say who cares and move on. Fortunately, the penalties for violating these rules are mostly civil, unlike those for goofing in transporting a gun.

 

Back to the specific question of whether you'd need a CDL to go someplace, the answer is generally no, if you're properly licensed elsewhere. But definitely consider the implications of having a CDL--I wouldn't call it being on the safe side. Remember that there are other restrictions with a CDL, some of which apply regardless of what you're driving. Some things that wouldn't go on your driving record or affect your insurance without a CDL might have a more lasting impact with one.

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I have to admit that I am partly to blame for VegasTeacher's question.

 

First off, for Nevada a standard non-commercial driver license is sufficient to drive any non commercial vehicle.

 

Since Corey is new to driving anything in the hdt league AND the fact that he has a strong desire to learn as much as possible, I advised him that going through a CDL course, would not be a bad idea, even if he only took a non commercial combination test.

 

Regardless of whether a state requires it, as someone who has had a CDL since way before the CDL existed, and someone who has investigated many fatal truck crashes, I feel strongly that just because a state may allow you to jump into a vehicle such as most folks on this forum own and drive to your hearts content, it is not very wise or safe. This is especially true when you have a person who has very limited experience towing a trailer with any size truck.

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I have to admit that I am partly to blame for VegasTeacher's question.

 

First off, for Nevada a standard non-commercial driver license is sufficient to drive any non commercial vehicle.

 

Since Corey is new to driving anything in the hdt league AND the fact that he has a strong desire to learn as much as possible, I advised him that going through a CDL course, would not be a bad idea, even if he only took a non commercial combination test.

 

Regardless of whether a state requires it, as someone who has had a CDL since way before the CDL existed, and someone who has investigated many fatal truck crashes, I feel strongly that just because a state may allow you to jump into a vehicle such as most folks on this forum own and drive to your hearts content, it is not very wise or safe. This is especially true when you have a person who has very limited experience towing a trailer with any size truck.

 

You know Vegas you are shining a light on a subject that has been sort of a odd loop-hole in the transportation regs for a long time.

 

For many decades you can go out and buy a huge RV and then the only operational requirement is..........just having enough money to keep it moving in most states.

 

The HDT RV is a real odd animal because in many states (Oregon) all they care about is having the owner paying the RV tag fees and you can drive the darn thing with any kind of license you happen to have in your pocket.

 

The real odd thing is that for the most part the RV major accident rate is pretty darn good considering how little real training is given to RV owners.

 

I was the never the best pilot on the planet and every 6 months when I went to recurrent training I sometimes wondered how I survived six months with the complacency that had creeped into some of my operations ......... compare many RV owners just learn on the road out of the RV sales lot ............

 

Big5er contends that someday some DOT geek will stumble across the HDT RV loop hole and then they will close the hole........maybe or maybe not........

 

Training has merit......

 

Drive on..........(Be careful.......)

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It's widely known that gravity, physics, and failing air brake system issues do not affect 50,000lbs "RV" and "private" vehicles in the same manner as "commercial".... :D:D

 

.. but I side with Dolly, the Vegas'sz & others: even if your home place does not "require" it - please go get some training if you are not reasonably familiar with inertia, gravity and / or air brake systems B)

 

I only ever scared myself driving trucks down hills, not up 'em....

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The CDL issue is not about getting the additional training as much as the walks like a duck/quacks like a duck. While in theory it makes sense to have a license that is more than required for what you operating but when an Dr. Pepper guzzling new friend introduces himself to you on the side of the highway, your story about you being noncommercial but yet you have a commercial DL when one is not required if you truly are not commercial seems very suspicious as he daydreams about his Dr. Pepper. To maintain a CDL requires many more hurtles and jumps to maintain. He will find it suspicious that are willing to do this when unnecessary. It does not mean he will safely make it thru his Dr. Pepper induced haze and clearly see the light. But if he is still confused and errors on the side of commercial until proven in court you are noncommercial then you are out of service with a fist full of citations and your rig does not move until everything gets resolved. Why put any doubt in his mind?

 

While I do wish all states had a graduated license system instead of lumping any noncommercial vehicles in a single operator licenses class. You then have the issue of will it be enforced? Just like the number of RVs that are overweight running down the road, how many are being operated with the driver not having the correct class of license? I am sure most of the out of class operators are not even aware they have the wrong class of license just like they do not know they are overweight.

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Big5er contends that someday some DOT geek will stumble across the HDT RV loop hole and then they will close the hole........maybe or maybe not........

 

Someday, maybe not soon, but someday someone will figure out that we are driving the exact same truck yet we are not required any extra training, drive as much as we want, have no physical or medical requirements and none of the over sight. It may be one state who revokes their reciprocal agreement in regards to vehicles over XXX number of pounds, or more likely they simply get the feds to remove the "RV exemption" and a few months later, as each state ratifies the changes in the regs we are all suddenly driving commercial motor vehicles without any exemptions from CDL, medical certificates, hours of service, log books. etc. etc.

 

The CDL issue is not about getting the additional training as much as the walks like a duck/quacks like a duck. While in theory it makes sense to have a license that is more than required for what you operating but when an Dr. Pepper guzzling new friend introduces himself to you on the side of the highway, your story about you being noncommercial but yet you have a commercial DL when one is not required if you truly are not commercial seems very suspicious as he daydreams about his Dr. Pepper. To maintain a CDL requires many more hurtles and jumps to maintain. He will find it suspicious that are willing to do this when unnecessary. It does not mean he will safely make it thru his Dr. Pepper induced haze and clearly see the light. But if he is still confused and errors on the side of commercial until proven in court you are noncommercial then you are out of service with a fist full of citations and your rig does not move until everything gets resolved. Why put any doubt in his mind?

 

While I do wish all states had a graduated license system instead of lumping any noncommercial vehicles in a single operator licenses class. You then have the issue of will it be enforced? Just like the number of RVs that are overweight running down the road, how many are being operated with the driver not having the correct class of license? I am sure most of the out of class operators are not even aware they have the wrong class of license just like they do not know they are overweight.

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Worth checking on for the state which does -or will- issue a/your CDL.

 

*If* the state offers a non-commercial Class A - why would you want a commercial Class A.

 

Why does it matter?

 

In CA - along with several of my CDL packing brethren, I gave up my CDL for two reasons:

 

1. I no longer needed it.

 

2. If I received a traffic cite while driving my daughter's Corolla - the CDL would *prevent* me from attending traffic

school - no way to avoid points against your record,along with the possibility of increased ins premium.

 

Vote for all the training you can get - whether free or by attending some sort of driving school

 

BTW - "way back when" - at the agency I worked for,

I was the guy who could sign-off on the driving portion for Class B. CDL.

There was another guy who could sign-off on Class A CDL.

We trained 'em - *If* we passed the "new" driver - (no slack!) the newbie still had to pass the CA DMV written exams..

 

Roll on!

 

 

~

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I am not convinced getting a CDL is the way to become more proficient at handling our HDT's. Take all the courses you wish, learn everything you can. But I am here to tell you that there are many incompetent drivers with a CDL working for the biggest mega carriers in the country. The CDL testing varies so much from locale to locale or state to state it ranges from you really earned something to "look what I got in the cereal box ma".

The only real way is to do it. Drive.

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I'm with Jeff on this one--because we all know that having to take drivers' ed and to have a driver's license ensures only competent drivers get behind the wheel of a car. Most of the stuff that's on the Texas test isn't the kind of stuff that ensures you're prepared for the real world. Who cares whether you can back into a spot? It's pride and property damage if you don't. What to do if your brakes fail, your recalled Volvo drag link breaks, a wheel drops of the pavement, a tire blows, or the trailer starts sliding in a panic stop aren't things on the test.

 

I just pulled up the numbers for 2014 auto fatalities--of the 44,858 vehicles involved in fatal crashes, 10 were medium/heavy truck based (i.e. including class A) motorhomes. That doesn't even address whether the motorhome was the cause of the accident. There were three times as many pedestrians killed in interstate construction zones (and no, that doesn't include workers (none in 2014)--just people walking along the interstate). Just because everyone's afraid of great grandma getting behind the wheel of the big new motorhome doesn't mean there's justification for more regulation than what we have now. Spend the effort dealing with the 1,052 in 2015 who were cited for causing, at least in part, a fatal accident while their license was suspended or revoked.

 

I believe it was Ed & Theresa that I talked to at the ECR who took a 6-week CDL class, and basically said that a lot of the class was on all of the freight-hauling regulations--things like dealing with bills of lading, hours of service, keeping a log book, etc.--not vehicle control and equipment safety. Kind of like driver education more generally--when took the test to get my license, of the 10 questions I had to answer, 3 of them were related to penalties for second and third offenses of drunk driving. And that you were required to give a turn signal for 200 feet, not 100, when the speed limit was 45 or greater. While not for big trucks or older drivers, Tire Rack's Street Survival course is what driver's ed should be. One of the things they do to explain the blind spots around a vehicle is to put the kids in the cab of a big truck, surrounded by parked cars, and ask them to count the cars. Not to derail the discussion too much, but for those of you with kids/grandkids coming of driving age, it's $75 well spent.

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