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Gramps & Noni

CDL Class A License...Keep It Or Ditch It?

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Newby here...first post. Retirement is looming & RVing is something I've been yearning to do for years. The HDT section sucked me right in, so I've been lurking. Been driving commercially for 38 years based out of Colo. The bulk (no pun intended) of my career was served as a "suicide jockey" driving a gasoline transport tanker over & thru the Rocky Mtns of Colorado on a nightly basis. "Semi-Retired" now (don't drive a semi anymore & currently only have to work a 40 hr work week driving a MDT ;) ). Grandfathered into the Class A CDL license when it was introduced & have kept it active ever since, so currently I have every endorsement except bus including...Class A - triples - doubles - tanker - hazmat - & motorcycle.

Quite honestly I'm getting tired. Tired of the DOT Physical every year. Tired of the Homeland Security ten finger security check to renew hazmat & the PITA requirements attached. Tired of working in general. That said...I'm not willing to give up what I've earned over the years...when is it time?  Due next July to renew & should be able to pass....good for 4 more years. Should I even bother?

Noni...was born & raised in Alaska. International "sky goddess"...straight out of HS...she went to flight school & secured a job with Braniff Airlines when being a Flight Attendant was a much cherished & fun line of work. No stranger to travel she's a prime candidate for living full time in an RV.  That said we are still a ways away from selling everything & hitting the road. So...keep it or ditch it is the question? The CDL I mean. Noni's a keeper. Input welcome & appreciated.

Gramps

 

 

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Welcome! I am a newbie to most things related to HDT, so I can't advise on your license question.  But I have a question.  At our house I say "Thanks Honeybun" or something like that.

When you say Thanks, do you use her full title?  "How very kind of you, International Sky Goddess."  "Would you care for another bon-bon, International Sky Goddess?"

😉😉😉

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Congratulations on making it to retirement Gramps.  I've been retired for ten years and love it.  Based on my experience and observations it would be wise to renew your CDL one more time.  It is an easy way to keep your options open, should you decide to do or buy something shortly after retirement.  I did some part time work for my former employer after retirement, allowing us to travel to New Zealand twice and stretch out our retirement savings.  Unless you have much more money than most of us, retirement expends savings fairly quickly unless previous spending patterns are quickly reduced or more money is brought in from working.  You can also look on the part time job as an insurance policy should something unexpected occur.

John

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After retiring from 20 years trucking I kept my CDL-A for the 2 years it was still good for "just in case" I wanted to return to work.  When the license was due to expire I decided to down grade to standard class D and went to DMV to do so.  Was told that I had to present my birth certificate or passport to make the change. This was in Tennessee but you might want to be prepared in your state if you let the CDL-A go.

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Gramps, ditch it. You have the experience to drive an HDT RV hauler, you don't need the CDL (unless your state of residence says you do which I doubt).  The CDL is nothing more than a hassle. If you are finished driving commercially then move on to retirement. Enjoy yourself, save the time you would invest in the medical and the cash it and the CDL cost. Go buy you and the wife a celebratory dinner and move forward.

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Hi Gramps,

It might not be as difficult of a decision as you think???....depending on how your state works.

My situation was different than yours but I had similar type of choice to make last year. I got my CDL several years ago here in Illinois thinking I would try truck driving as a career but after working for a company for a short period realized it was not a job that was going to work for my family at the time. So I quit it thinking I would go back to it at a later date. After renewing the license and DOT medical card couple of times I decided I would just give it up so I would not have to hassle with the medical card anymore.

When I went to the DMV to have the license changed to a normal class D and mentioned to the worker at the counter that I really hated to loose the CDL but couldn't pass the physical for two years he told me that I didn't have to loose the license. He said if I wasn't using the license to earn a living I didn't need the medical card and all he had to do was change the status from "interstate" driving to "intrastate" driving. He said the medical card was a federal requirement, not a state requirement. He changed the status in the computer, made me sign a paper and sent me on my way. He said if I ever want to go back to driving for a living all I needed to do was come back in and they would reclassify my license back to interstate. And then all I would have to do is go get a new DOT physical card again.

And actually last month I did just that....went and got a new physical, went to DMV and changed it back to interstate status and now getting ready to find a company to hire a rookie.

Sorry for being so long winded and don't know if that helps in your situation.

Phil

 

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Drop the CDL and you drop double violation points, you drop the .04 blood alcohol contents limit, you drop the medical certificate that is needed all the time now, and finally you drop the extra responsibility of being the professional driver that should be able to avoid the accident no matter how stupid the other driver was.

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Drop the CDL and go for the Non CDL Class A and you will be able to drive any RV you want buy.

Clay     FF M2 106 Sports Chassis

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I retired a year ago and have kept my CDL and thought when my medical would come up next year I just wouldn't get it and if I ever wanted to drive commercial again I would get the physical and be ready to go.  I never like to get rid of something that I may use in the future, you would know what I mean if up seen all the crap I have around.

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I kept my CDL and medical cert active, it's always good to have options, you never know what the future might bring. I found a MD in Dallas that does medical earns for $40.

Greg

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I'm in a similar situation. Mine is CDL-B with air brake & passenger endorsements, and when I went to the CA DMV office to transfer my WA license to CA they suggested I hold off giving up my CDL due to the possibility of needing the higher non-commercial B license to drive a heavier "motorhome" with a trailer more than 15,000 lbs. Here they do have non-commercial class A and B, and the air brake endorsements. The part I still haven't gotten straightened out is what written tests to take to actually get the non-commercial versions. They have an RV test also. I have until May next year before this license expires to figure it out...

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I was forced to give up my Class A due to a medical issue. Yep, it kinda hurt psychologically, but I had no other choice. Fortunately Minnesota does not have a "non commercial" license other than  'D'. On the back of my license are the words "Valid for any recreational vehicle"so I am good once I get a truck and convert it to a motorhome, BUT, when I first buy a truck I have to have someone with a class A drive it home for me........

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Why give it up altogether?  Just drop the hazmat endorsement, and the only hassle is a dot physical every two years down at the truck stop.  You just never know.  And if you get rid of it and ever want it back, it is a major pain.  Take my buddy's dad.  He retired from active driving years ago.  But he and a buddy got a gravy part time job for the local Kenworth dealer delivering or picking up new trucks from other dealers from a few hundred miles to a few states away.  Keeps them busy for a day or two a week when they want the work, did that well into his seventies to make a few extra bucks and keep from being bored.  I'll never drop mine unless medical issues force me to.  You just never know when I might need a job and I can jump in a school bus or delivery truck tomorrow if I need to.

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It depends largely on your personal situation. If you might need it keep it. Getting it back would be difficult. One thing to consider is fewer and fewer companies will hire you without recent (1-2 years) experience, no matter how long you had been driving. 

Drop the hazmat, that eliminates the fingerprinting and the test every 4 years. Annual physical at our age in not a bad thing. It is not a comprehensive physical, better than before, but might put you onto something early.

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As one who's never had a CDL, my view point is different.

 Do you have other skills on which to fall back?  There are many other things one can do in our later years to provide a little positive cash flow besides drive, but if you really like driving, keep it.

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As a kid, I wanted to drive a truck. As a college student, I got my CDL-A+TN. I have never driven professionally, though the license came in handy as a volunteer firefighter to drive fire trucks (which could have been done with an "exempt" license in Texas). In 2012, when it was time to renew, I got surprised by the new medical requirement, but the gal at the DMV said that it was possible to self-certify that I was not going to drive interstate. That worked fine two months later when transferring to WA state, worked again two years ago to upgrade to an "enhanced" CDL, and worked again last year for my regular renewal.

I intend to keep the CDL, even if it's more burden on me if I were to get a ticket, until I absolutely positively cannot. I don't know what it might come in handy for...one possibility is that an RV may be limited to a certain overall vehicle length limit, but a commercial truck may be limited to a certain trailer length (but not overall, or at least a longer overall length). I could then form a trucking company and follow commercial regs, but be able to use a 53' RV trailer that wouldn't have been possible with a non-CDL.

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I have a VNL Volvo 420 and according to Va guidelines I cannot register my HDT as a motorhome so therefore I must keep my Class A license to use the truck. I have no tickets or driving violations so as long as that keeps up I am happy.

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Some insurance companies give you a discount on your rv if you have a CDL.  I let mine lapse because I did not want to take the physical and my rates went up $100 a year. Worth checking with your ins co.

Edited by jcussen

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Good truck drivers don't get driving violations, they are professionals and take their driving serious. If they were to receive many citations they would have been out of a job in a hurry due to higher insurance cost. I have only had 1 citation and that was over 40 years ago.

Greg

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Most grateful for the fantastic feedback. All the replies have helped to clear my muddled mind. Long before I happened upon this forum we made the decision to sell our property & move closer to our grandchildren in a small coastal fishing town in SW Oregon. We're putting our property on the market next May & it will stay there until we get our price. We already have plans to buy the house our kids currently live in to use as a base camp because Noni fell in love with it. Two bedroom one bath a block away from the ocean west of HWY 101. We'll spend a year there getting good & bored doing nothing but enjoying every day as a Saturday & getting to know the grandkids...in the fog & rain. After that I figure we'll be ready to hit the road :D. We'll VRBO the house out & whenever we leave...the kids can manage it while we're gone. If we don't like the road we can always move back in.

That given...after all the great input I have decided that keeping my CDL would be in my best interest & it will be re-newed for another four years just in case. However...after that the Hazmat endorsement goes by-by! We are going to visit the kids before the end of the year, so I will make a visit to the DMV while there to see if my re-newed CDL Class A license from Colo will transfer to Oregon without a big hassle?

Thanks all & hope to meet each one of you in person some day,

Gramps

PS...No violations in over 20 years except a mudflap that was an inch higher than law...gimme a break!          

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I had a CDL many years ago, & let it lapse. I speak for Maryland. You have NO IDEA how difficult it is to get it now, mostly "inspectors" who know absolutely NOTHING but have the power of gov't to deny. They listen for the right words and repetition, not knowledge. Lug nuts are not "tight",  (that's a fail) they are "secure". And you must touch every one on every wheel until they say that's enough. One asked me how I knew the brakes were adjusted properly, so I invited them under the truck & I'd show them. Even if their belly allowed them to, they would not know what I pointed at.

If a gravy job comes along, you'll wish you stuck a needle in your eye instead of dropping it.  

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On 10/12/2017 at 6:15 AM, Big5er said:

Gramps, ditch it. You have the experience to drive an HDT RV hauler, you don't need the CDL (unless your state of residence says you do which I doubt).  The CDL is nothing more than a hassle. If you are finished driving commercially then move on to retirement. Enjoy yourself, save the time you would invest in the medical and the cash it and the CDL cost. Go buy you and the wife a celebratory dinner and move forward.

 

On 10/12/2017 at 7:48 AM, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

Drop the CDL and you drop double violation points, you drop the .04 blood alcohol contents limit, you drop the medical certificate that is needed all the time now, and finally you drop the extra responsibility of being the professional driver that should be able to avoid the accident no matter how stupid the other driver was.

Update...Retirement is now a reality & AWESOME! After 39 years pounding the pavement as a pro driver...I'm done. Pride finally converted to reality. Last month I ditched my CDL Class A license & traded it in for a regular one. Thanks all... for the input months ago.

That said...We are in the market for a quality 5th wheel trailer with forward living space. Reaching out for input & advice on a good brand to start with.

Thanks in advance,

Gramps  

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I have not drove for 10 years professionally, but I drive every fall hauling grain from field to farmyard grain bins so I do sorta keep in touch with the truck side.  When I stopped driving and went in to renew my lisc., told them I wanted to give up the CDL.  She had a little talk with me and said to keep it, might want it some day.  Told her I don't or won't get a medical as not needed and she said no problem, she placed me in one of 4 classes of CDL A lisc.  What I now have is considered a *farmers* lisc.  Can't do interstate highways but can drive everywhere else as long as I don't drive across any state line.  To change back all I have to do is get a medical and take them a copy then I'm good to go again although it will never happen, I'm done.

I had a friend move from here, same lisc. as me.  Wanted to keep it but did not have a medical card.  The state he moved to, when he went in to do the change, took his class A away from him because he did not have a med. card.  Check on the state you plan on moving into and make sure they don't yank them with no medical in hand.  Might have to get one to keep it in that state.  Good luck

Just re-read your above comment... yea, I'm slow.  There are some brands built for full timing in, go to shows and check them all out if you can.  I've looked at KZ, Coachman, DRV and a few others.  Depends on what level of comfort you want, how deep your pockets are, etc.  There are some I would not do more than a few weekends a year in, others I would feel comfortable living in.  I have an older one, although it is built heavier than alot of new ones, I would not live in mine.  It's more a weekender rig with occasional long trips.  I still have not decided which one to get when my better half retires so I'm going to shows, looking every chance I get.  I don't need/want a fancy one myself but not one strip'd down either.  Still looking... good luck.

Edited by NDBirdman

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