- Written by Gary Lewis the RV Guy
If your organization has added a trailer to your fleet and some of your drivers are NOT comfortable with backing, maneuvering and driving the combination in urban traffic, we
have a program just for you!
There are many situations where a driver is NOT required to have a CDL but given the length of the combination of your truck or van and trailer, your drivers should understand the rules of the road for large vehicles.
If some of your drivers require more knowledge to get comfortable behind the wheel and if our goal for you of ZERO DAMAGE is important to your organization, we have a program for you called TEAM BOOT CAMP.
Recently we had the honor to provide Trailer-Towing Boot Camp to two Great Organizations, the USO and Honest Tea. Both organizations have a number of new drivers with NO towing experience and needed to know what to do to keep safe.
If your Team could use Trailer-Towing Boot Camp, give me a call, we’ll come to you and we’ll make it happen!
Gary the RV Guy
- Written by Gary the RV Guy
There is SO much misinformation about who needs a Non-commercial Class B License and what is involved that we thought it’s time to clarify the process. What follows is ONLY for California.
WHO NEEDS A NON-COMMERCIAL LICENSE?
Anyone driving a 45' Motorhome (Greater than 40' up to 45')
By definition, a 45’ Motorhome refers to a single-unit motorhome that is longer than 40 feet but no more than 45 feet. (Note: A vehicle combination, e.g. a motorhome towing a vehicle or trailer, may be up to 65 feet in length. If the single-unit motorhome is 40 feet or less in length, the combination is NOT subject to the route restriction for the 45’ motorhome and the driver DOES NOT require a special license)
A motorhome is a noncommercial passenger vehicle defined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 465 as a “house car” and commonly referred to as a recreation vehicle, “a motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached.” A motorhome should not be confused with a bus or a tour bus, also called “motorcoach” which is used for commercial passenger transportation and requires a commercial Class B driver’s license to operate.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A NON-COM CLASS B LICENSE?
Note: For the noncommercial Class B license you are NOT required to present your Passport, Birth Certificate and Proof of Residency, this is only required for the full Class B license.
To obtain an original noncommercial Class B license – you must:
- Pass the Driver's Examination for 45' Housecars law test. You must pass the law test based on the information contained in the Non-Commercial Handbook. The test may be taken at any DMV field office. You may make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov, or by calling 1-800-777-0133.
- Vehicle safety check. Before the skills test, you must demonstrate that the turn signals, brake lights, horn, emergency flashers, and brake system are working. This is not part of your pre-trip test. However, if any of these items are not working properly or are missing; your driving test will be postponed.
- Skills tests. Skills tests are designed to demonstrate your skill in stopping, backing in a straight line, completing a right turn around a cone or marker, and backing into a camping space.
- Driving test. The driving test includes entering and exiting a freeway, freeway driving with lane changes, right and left turns into one-way and two-way traffic, railroad crossings, driving on a grade or steep hill, etc. You may make an appointment by calling 1-800-777-0133. Online appointments are not available for this type of driving test.
- Physician's Health Report. A Physician's Health Report (DL 546A) (PDF) form signed by your physician is required and must be given to DMV for review and approval before your license is issued and then every two years after that. The Health Report expires two years from the examination date. Failure to maintain a valid Health Report form with DMV will mean that your license is valid only for Class C and, if endorsed, for Class M1 or M2 vehicles. Health Report forms are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov.
45' Housecar with Air Brakes
You are not required to pass an air brake law test or to perform an air brake system check if your housecar is equipped with air brakes. You will be asked to perform a Vehicle Safety Check by the DMV examiner.
Be aware that you may get a blank stare when you go to your neighborhood DMV office asking to apply for the noncommercial license as this is NOT something most offices process every day. For this reason you will find it less frustrating to go to one of the DMV’s Commercial Testing Centers to begin the process.
RV Basic Training can help and will be happy to provide you with the forms you require to get started. Once you have your permit, your Housecar Boot Camp will get you ready for your California Housecar License.
- Written by Gary Lewis
In California, when you purchase a motor home that is over 40 feet in length, you are required to obtain a Non-Commercial Class B (Housecar) license. We have a Boot Camp for that where we prepare you for the driving skills and road test. I am pleased to recognize the perfect drive test results achieved by a recent RV Boot Camp grad, Todd G, who is the proud owner of a 43 foot Entegra.
The driving skills test must be completed before leaving the DMV lot. There are four basic driving skills: Straight Line Backing, Alley Dock Backing, Offset Backing, Right or Left and Sight-Side or Conventional Parallel Parking. For the Housecar test the DMV usually requires that you complete only the Straight Line and Alley Dock backing. Straight Line backing involves backing your RV 100 feet in a 12 foot wide space, while keeping within the lines and stopping in a 2 foot “box”, before the end of the lane. Alley Dock backing involves backing your RV into a space that is 12 foot X 20 foot while stopping in the 2 foot “box” at the back of the site. You can see from Todd’s Pre-Trip sheet, he was perfect!
Once you have shown the DMV examiner that you know how to do the basic skills, it’s out on the road to show him or her that you know what you’re doing in traffic. There will be at least four turns to the left, four turns to the right, lane changes, numerous intersections and a trip onto the freeway and off again, all while the examiner is watching to make sure you are checking your mirrors, using your turn signals, staying centered in your lane and doing your traffic checks. Again, Todd did a perfect job, zero deductions!
As everyone who has ever taken a test knows, there is a lot of pressure and sometimes ones nerves can get the best of them. For this reason we will do our best to show you what to expect on your drive test so that you too can get the perfect score. Congratulations Todd!