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Old 12-05-2012, 08:19 PM   #1
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Texas Class A license -- got it!

Just a note on my experience getting a Texas Class A drivers license (non-commercial). I procrastinated for 4+ months after we bought the RV partially because I didn't want the hassle and partially because I wanted to be familiar with towing the rig.

You have to be very insistent as to exactly what you need with the Texas DPS offices or they will put you on the CDL path. It seems very few folks get the non-commercial Class A (or B) license. So go in informed as to exactly what you need. I started at the DPS office in Arlington. The clerk first said I couldn't test for the license until after I had obtained a learners permit & driven a few months. I reminded her that I was taking the non-CDL Class A and she dropped that argument (whew).

Then after a fairly short wait, I did the vision exam & they gave me the General Knowledge test. The test was straightforward but you certainly should study beforehand. All the material is in the 155 page Texas Commercial Drivers Handbook DL-7C which you can get online. Questions on this test came out of sections 1, 2, 11, 14, & appendix A. There were some pretty detailed questions so look at these sections closely. For instance, one question asked how many headlamps a farm tractor manufactured after 1972 had to have! Another asked what type of vehicles had to have the slow moving triangle. Another: if you exceed the legal dimensions (14 feet &/or 102 inches), who do you get your oversize permit from? Very little of this pertained to an RV but you have to learn the trucker stuff. 20 questions test & I scored a 90... whew! 80 is passing.

Then I walked up to turn in the test and schedule the driving portion. The lady looked at her computer and said I had to take another test! I asked her to verify so she asked another clerk and they both agreed I had to take the Combinations Test since I had a 5th wheel. Begrudgingly but with no other options I sat down to take that test. It was much tougher and nothing I had studied. It covered Section 6 in great detail. I think I only knew 2 or 3 out of 20 questions but I am a good guesser and I actually scored an 85 with 3 wrong. I talked to the supervisor after taking that one and she apologized and said I shouldn't have had to take that test. She had no idea how I passed without any knowledge of the material. I tell you this part of the story because many DPS clerks have no idea how to handle this non-commercial license.

At that point, the Arlington DPS informed me that they no longer did the driving portion of the exam. But the good news is that effective last October, you can do the written exam in one DPS and the driving exam anywhere else in the state as long as you get it all done in 90 days. I was refered to Waxahatchie (30 miles south) or Hurst (massive traffic) so I went to Waxahatchie. I scheduled the driving test online with them for the very next day. They were great! I wish I had of just started there instead of Arlington. Almost no one in line, and a simple driving test in the middle of nowhere with no traffic. My kind of place.

Long story short -- it's done! If you are procrastinating like I did, stop it and go get your Class A (or B) as needed before you get sued for a minor fender bender.

Class A license is required in Texas if your DP or DP+Toad or pickup+RV max weight is over 26,001 pounds. It doesn't matter what your actual weights are... if your max combined weight is over 26,001, you need an upgrade to your license. My F-350 max gross is 13,300 and the XLR is 18,000 and DPS just adds these two together. Nevermind that my max practical gross weight is about 26,500 given that 20-25% of the trailer weight rides in the truck.

Danno
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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Just another way for Texas to rake in extra $$.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by danno2u View Post
Long story short -- it's done!
Danno
Congrats to you. I am happy you found it was worth it.

I wish more would do the same. You can learn alot just by reading the book and understand what has to happen to move the big rigs we have.

We don't have that here in CO. but I had my commercial class-a to move my heavy equipment around Denver (before I sold it all). The study part helped me to learn more technique even though I had towed things most of my life.

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Old 12-05-2012, 10:40 PM   #4
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Just another way for Texas to rake in extra $$.
Only cost me $11! Ha...
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:52 PM   #5
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My commercial class-A was $10.50

Medical card was $60
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:03 AM   #6
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Congrats!

This is an item on my short list to get taken care of. Is the renewal of 6 years still the same as a class C?

Mark
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rattleNsmoke View Post
Just another way for Texas to rake in extra $$.
state income tax in Tx is 0% - and in your state it's.......? oh and I bought reg. gas yesterday for $2.96.9 - my county's sales tax is 6.25%

http://www.retirementliving.com/taxe...wa#CONNECTICUT

http://www.retirementliving.com/taxe...-wyoming#TEXAS

.....Bill
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #8
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I believe ALL states require you to get a class A or B license for over 26K pounds. Class B is single unit vehicle. Class A is combination vehicle - tow trailer. If you want for the commercial license you would be tested on air brakes and pre/post trip inspections. I got my commercial A a couple years ago.

It always amazed me that any joeblow could drive a huge RV with just a regular car drivers license. Fed law goes by weight, not length for CDL. It's the weight of the vehicle that causes all the damage in an accident not so much the length. When you crash into people at 26K and up pounds, you tend to kill them, run over them, etc. You better know what the heck you are doing, and this is why the states require special training and license to drive extra heavy vehicles.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:42 AM   #9
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In Colorado it is for commercial (commerce) only. RV's are excluded (Not for Hire) but it is based off of the 26001 lbs and also what your vehicle is capable of carrying (GVWR) not how much you weigh (if you are over, that is another ticket). Trailers over 10,000 GVWR will also get you put in the Class A rating unless you are over your trucks GCWR then that will get you another ticket as well. Ask me how I know!!
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