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Author Topic: Fact or Rumor....are we gonna need CDL's?  (Read 3046 times)
NCbob
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« on: July 29, 2007, 05:29:18 PM »

Just got a call from a friend in FL whose neighbor owns and travels with "Gunslinger" and "Cowboy", a pair of monster trucks he owns and runs.  His tractor is set up with a giant sleeper registered as a Home Car or Motor Home 'cause he can live in it.  He pulls the trucks in a large trailer van.  He was stopped and informed by a FL State Trooper that he must have a CDL to run his rig and furthurmore the DOT has decided that those of us who tow cars will also need to have CDL's.

Fact or fiction?  Somewhere I believe one of us should have read something about this.  Is this another one of those urban legends?

Now, for the record, Scott's rig looks, to the eye, like a regular tractor trailer rig. It's marked Not For Hire.

If I find out more I'll post it.

NCbob
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buswarrior
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 05:43:48 PM »

The use described above is on thin ice.

Using a motorhome/housecar whatever you want to call it, but the registration is intended for private use.

when folks start fooling around using private registrations for commercial purposes, we are all in the line of fire for the federales to change the rules to put a stop to it.

If you make a single claim against a business for anything that goes on with your coach....just try to suggest it is personal use.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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H3Jim
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 05:44:13 PM »

For tractor trailers, is there a dfference in the number of axles the tractor has?  Just before I got infected with bus fever, I was looking at buying a tractor to haul the 5th wheel I had.  I remember reading somewhere that it could be registered as a motorhome  if it only had two axles, the front and one set of duals in the back, as opposed to two sets of duals.  A guy that was "converting" the big volvos had to remove one set of driving duals for it to qualify.

Sounds alarmist ro require CDLs, and the RV groups have so much economic power it would take a lot to require all us old duffers to get a CDL to drive our motorhomes.  

Having said that I do think the licensing laws are a little lax regarding driving our 30,000 lb plus big rigs with air brakes etc. with nothing more than the license required to drive a car.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2007, 05:47:58 PM »

Hi Bob and Jackie!
If his "home car" has a 5th wheel and air brakes, he's always had to have a CDL to operate it.   "Farm use" is the only way around that.   
About 20 years ago I had a "hotshot" rig that I hauled boats on.  It was a big pickup truck with 40' trailer.  I had to have a CDL (class "A" back then) to operate the rig.   Notwithstanding what I was doing with it. 
Also, anything that makes a buck...even selling your own CDs from a bus, requires a CDL. 
Buses over 40', in some states, require a CDL. 
There are more laws than anyone will be able to sort out. 
Is you is, or is you isn't legal?  Wink  Who knows!
See ya'll soon, JR
BTW, how about going down there and helping Kyle secure that campground!  Cheesy


 
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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NCbob
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2007, 06:44:56 PM »

Will do JR.....

Talked with Florida Cliff...Scott is his neighbor as well. He has "Gunslinger Racing" on the trailer and it's pulled by a tandem axle tractor so while he probably got away with it up to now...he got caught with his fist in the candy jar this time.

As Jim says...it's probably the tractor...but since it's a commercial operation...he makes money with the rig...his goose is cooked.

If there's any pressure brought to bear on us I would imagine that an air brake course and test should do the job.  My concern is that requiring a CDL for these rigs might be a stretch too far.  Would that mean we have to log all our trips, etc?

No doubt my friend who called from FL was just a bit overzealous in his report to me.  I don't believe we hae anything to worry about at this time.

NCbob
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2007, 07:26:02 PM »

The real threat to us is the number of band buses/VIP coaches that have been registered as motorhomes and are being run bootleg all over with no logbooks or pre-trips or inspections.

You wouldn't believe what kind of mileage and lack of sleep are on some of these.

After the big one that wipes out some school kids, we don't stand a chance in the screams for regulation of the bandits...

Nobody in the gubbermint likes anyone outsdie the gubbermint to have power, and RV'ers have a little bit of power. If they can use circumstances to nail us, they will surely take the chance to include us.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2007, 08:20:09 PM »

The big thing you have to keep in mind is that every state is different when it comes to vehicle regulations.

Florida and California probably have the most restrictive licensing. Arizona is one of the least restrictive. In CA, a LOT of RV trailer combinations require non-commercial class B or class A licenses, sometimes because of combined length, but most often for combined weight.

AZ doesn't have special non-commercial classes for anything except motorcycles. And commercial licenses are only required if you are driving a commercial vehicle.

Know the rules for licensing in your state. Other states will honor your license, as long as you are legal in your home state.
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2007, 08:37:10 PM »

Quote
I do think the licensing laws are a little lax regarding driving our 30,000 lb plus big rigs with air brakes etc. with nothing more than the license required to drive a car.



I am almost always one to want to keep the government out of my hair. I have a low tolerance for them telling me how to run my life on one side, and their hand in my bank account on the other. But, there are times when they are a necessary evil. I believe that people should take personal responsibility to see that they do what they can to protect themselves and others around them. The unfortunate truth is that some people just donít know, or choose not to do, what they need to in order to operate safely.

I have a personal experience with an excavating company I worked for out of high school. I was hired to operate a dump truck, and at that time, all I needed to get the correct endorsement on my license was to show up to my state DMV and pay the fee.

The only half baked attempt at training the company gave me was an attempt to teach me how to operate the un-synchronized 13 speed roadranger that the truck had. I was then on my own. I just about ran over three cars my first day. I couldnít believe how difficult it was to stop that truck when fully loaded. I told myself that I would never pull out in front of a large truck again! By day three I was decelerating so far in advance I was not having the trouble that I had the first day and my confidence was growing. Then I was sent on a fully loaded run (not overweight because it was a state DOT delivery) across a local notoriously steep hill called Windy Gap Mountain. Not far into the first twisty downhill grade I was getting concerned. At full brake application I could just maintain speed but not slow down or stop if I had to. I am still thinking that it was the nature of the beast and continued to adjust my driving style to accommodate it. I only came close to not making one sharp 90 degree bend near the bottom.

Whew! I was glad that was over because I knew that on my way back I would be empty and I could slow down and stop without a problem. I only had a very long straight pull ahead and just at the crest I would see the road crew. The only thing I hadnít mastered yet was shifting down through the High/Med/Low ranges of the transmission. Not that big of a deal because if I had to I could stop and work my way up no problem. On a side note, that truck had a Cat 3208, that engine is the worst possible POS you could possibly attach to a set of wheels. It took constant shifting to keep things moving in a forward direction.

Anyways, I had a fairly good healthy start up that hill and had worked my way all of the way down through the Med range. I was, so help me, almost at the crest when that afore mentioned POS decided it needed to visit Low range. You guessed it; I missed the shift and needed to start from a stop. The only problem is that it wouldnít stop! The drift backwards seemed to start off slow at first, I had both feet smashed as hard as I could on that pedal, both hands pulling on the steering wheel so hard itís a wonder I didnít pop it off. I only let go long enough to pull the air release/parking brake hoping that it would offer some help (I had no clue how that system worked, I thought it was some type of drive shaft brake). No such luck. For a split second I contemplated a jump but didnít think I could clear the door so I decided to ride it out. It was an incredible long ride backwards, and the further I went, obviously the more speed I picked up. I had what seemed like forever, to think about loosing control and rolling it over. Thankfully, for one, there was no one behind me. Two, the road was as straight as an arrow (very unusual for these parts), Three, all those years on a farm having to backup all of the time was paying off. I had enough speed that by the time I made it to the bottom the brake smoke looked like huge rolling cones as it came out from under the truck.

Talk about being young and stupid, I should have walked at that point but no, I granny geared it at creeping speed all the way to the top and dumped. When I got back to the shop, I told the owner that I was quitting and explained why. He said ďOh the brakes must need adjustingĒ. He took me outside and showed me how to adjust them and then talked me into staying. I was not happy with that training oversight but wow! What a difference that made, it would stop like a champ after that. If I had only known what I should had about those brakes to start with, then I wouldnít have come so close to killing a half dozen people including myself.

I eventually did quit for safety reasons. People expect you to do things in a dump truck that normal sane folks wouldnít. I couldnít tell you how many times I was required to cross a 10,000 pound max bridge when my load alone was around 18,000+. I donít remember what my gross was but I would expect around 28,000+? I was always told that bridges have a safety factor of three built in so I was ďOKĒ. Another favorite was to have someone cut a sorry excuse for a road out of the side of a cliff and then expect me to be the first one to try it out and lay gravel on it. Have any idea what itís like to have a loaded dump bed stuck straight up in the air and the lower bank side of the road give way? Holy Sh!t! It was just too much for me and for no more than I was getting paid.

I donít want to see a CDL required, but there should be more to allowing someone to operate a vehicle with air brakes. At a minimum, insurance companies should charge a premium for those who havenít shown some sort of proficient knowledge about those systems and reward those who have. My first experience with airbrakes was negative not because I choose not to know about them, I truly didnít have a clue what they needed to keep them maintained and working, we're just not born with this stuff. I donít have the answers as to what should be done, but I do have the concern that stems from my own experience, that more than simply nothing should be required.

My opinion,

Laryn
« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 07:41:30 AM by Barn Owl » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2007, 09:57:14 PM »

I have a CDL, but if you're driving larger than a 35 ft'r, it would be a good idea to get a non commercial class A license.  It requires a physical and the doctor to fill out the medical sheet and to carry the medical exam card, but no driving test, just a written test.  Then you're over and done with it-not having to worry about those flashing lights behind.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2007, 05:20:14 AM »

Commercial driver's license test must be taken with the type of vehicle your license qualifies you to drive (tractor-trailer, schoolbus, taxi, etc). So called private passenger license should be issued the same way. Taking a test in the family sedan should not qualify you to drive a tractor trailer (because it has an RV tag) or a 40" motorhome.
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lostagain
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2007, 07:38:45 AM »

In BC, a air brakes endorsement is required on your driver's license to drive anything with air. You have to take a course, 10 or 15 hrs if I recall, and pass an exam. You learn all about the details of the system and how to operate and maintain it.  I think it is a good thing.
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JC
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2007, 08:00:34 AM »

NCBob, the problem was that the guy pulling the racing stuff is dabbling in Interstate Commerce, as much as he wants to say it is a private coach or whatever, the racing is for profit, therefore he has crossed that line!
I don't think we have to worry much about the CDL questions.
Just my 2 cents.
Jack
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Jack Hart, CDS
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2007, 08:07:39 AM »

I'm a huge fan of less gummit in our lives but this area is one where I go against my principles.  I think we need a bit more regulation in this area.  Some jurisdictions have barely adequate regulation and some are woefully lacking.  When a 60+ year old can hook his Toyota behind a 35,000+ pound bulgemobile and go touring with the same license he got 45 years ago to drive the Toyota then there is a problem with the system, IMHO.  The ones that really "impress" me are the ones with the 35' 5th wheels that should have a MDT in front of them but the sales droid assured them that their 3/4 ton Ram is perfectly capable of towing that thing.  We see them white knuckling it across the prairies in the wind and wonder WTH are they going to do when they get to the mountains.
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2007, 08:32:45 AM »

In Cal, I got a non commercial class B to drive my 41 ft rig.  the lady at the DMV had never heard of it and had to look it up.  When I took my road test, all they did was read me a section on air brakes and had me sign that they had read it too me.  I did not have to perform any tests, or show any knowledge.  Pretty scary knowing that for a 40 ft rig, there is no test at all.

Bobofthenorth - While I bough my bus partly because of the commercial duty nature of it, and would not go back.  Prior to that I had a 3/4 ton diesel truck (Superduty Ford) and a 33 ft, 10,000lb fifth wheel.  I did the Banks kit thing on it, both exhaust brake and the power side of it.  I could tow it at 70 mph up a 6% grade, and using th exhaust brake, not need to use the service brakes going down.  As a fifth wheel, it was very stable.  Not as stable as a 39,000 lb bus, but still pretty good.  Not that bad as towing goes.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2007, 08:59:29 AM »

Heck yeah we NEED the CDL (training)

Question is how long will it be before it is REQUIRED? If idiots keep killing people while parking funny, it will cause more legislation - which we need like we need another hole in our heads.  Shocked
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