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Thread: California DL requirement

  1. #1
    Site Sponsor Boomer's Avatar
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    California DL requirement

    Just a word of caution to California drivers. You have to get what is called a restriction 41 on your license if you pull a fifth wheel that is over 10000 lbs but under 15000 lbs. if you get stopped by the CHP without this there is a better than even chance you trailer will be impounded. The second part of this is that if you are involved in an accident your insurance will not pay and you can be sued regardless of fault. I just took the test, 20 questions mostly common sense. Do yourselves a favor and get it done.
    Horst, Marlene & Jack, Turlock-CA.
    Reflection 303RLS,
    01 Chevy 3500, 6.0L gas, DRW, 4:10 Gears.
    One big giant (140lbs) chocolate lab Jack.

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    Site Sponsor thompsons 369rl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomer View Post
    Just a word of caution to California drivers. You have to get what is called a restriction 41 on your license if you pull a fifth wheel that is over 10000 lbs but under 15000 lbs. if you get stopped by the CHP without this there is a better than even chance you trailer will be impounded. The second part of this is that if you are involved in an accident your insurance will not pay and you can be sued regardless of fault. I just took the test, 20 questions mostly common sense. Do yourselves a favor and get it done.
    Does this apply only to California residents or do out-of-staters require it as well?
    Andy & Julie
    Gig Harbor, Wa
    2014 Solitude 369RL S/N 104
    2012 F350 SWR 4x4 CC 6.7 Diesel

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    Member Jahna's Avatar
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    Most states and provinces have reciprocity with each other. This means if you are legal in your home jurisdiction you are legal to drive across North America. FYI some states and provinces do require additional endorsements for heavier trailers. Pay attention though when you read the requirements, some are based on actual weight of the trailer being towed and some are based on axle weight of the trailer while hooked up which would be less than actual weight.

    A note on reciprocity, this does NOT apply to triple towing of vehicles, if it illegal to triple tow in a given jurisdiction then it's illegal even if in your home state/province it is legal.
    Lostincanada and Jahna
    AKA Derek and Tatjana plus our pups Shadow and Nani
    2012 Ram 2500
    2015 Reflection 337
    Hailing from Southern Ontario Canada

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    Site Sponsor Boomer's Avatar
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    I can only speak for California requirements, asking the CHP I found out that they look at the manufacturers tag and use the GVWR when it comes to the license requirements.
    Horst, Marlene & Jack, Turlock-CA.
    Reflection 303RLS,
    01 Chevy 3500, 6.0L gas, DRW, 4:10 Gears.
    One big giant (140lbs) chocolate lab Jack.

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    We just went through this because our Reflection's GVWR was more than 10,000. My husband made appointment with both DMV and Highway Patrol,so he would have all the facts correct. These are the facts in CA: if you tow a 5th wheel that has a GVWR over 10,000 lbs but not more than 15,000 GVWR you must have a license that includes an "Endorsement" If you don't have that endorsement and you are in an accident you may find that your insurance won't cover damages,and you will be cited by CHP. And here is the important part and where HP helped us more than DMV......a lot of DMV clerks are not aware of this law and may give you inaccurate info.If they tell you you don't need it they are mistaken. It is in the DMV book of regulations for towing but you must read entire section on 5th wheel requirements to get to endorsement section. CHP and insurances know about it -even if DMV clerks are foggy and ignorance of the law for the person towing is not an acceptable excuse.
    This is what is required for the drivers license with "endorsement" - you have to take a regular drivers test for a Class C license, unless you took one within last year. You must also take a second test, which is the one that asks questions about your knowledge of RV rules of the road. My DH got the booklet- for RV rules of the road-ahead of time,and studied the booklet before taking the test. He said it wasn't difficult and for the most part contained questions that any person towing a 5th wheel would know,but he was glad he studied. He made appointment, took the test. He passed. They took his picture, took his money for new license (33.00 ) and told him they would mail this new license. If you drive in CA but live in another state that doesn't require this endorsement you are fine,it's only if your state requires it.
    Just to stress - some DMV clerks were confused about this law. We knew that ahead of time so DH took rules for towing 10,000-15,000 GVWR with him. They saw it in black and white. They had to find a person in DMV who knew what to do and that is how they proceeded from there. We live in small town so perhaps clerks in larger office are more knowledgeable about this law. One way or another ....whether they know about it or not, it is the law! And the person responsible for towing has to know that! Hope this helps anyone in CA. Very glad we checked with CHP and insurance! One last thing...you don't have to take a driving test...just written test.
    "It's the journey that matters-not the destination."
    Ken & Suzi
    2013 2500HD Silvarado Duramax
    2015 303RLS

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    Site Sponsor Boomer's Avatar
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    I just went thru this today. It took four people to come up with the correct requirements and test. They actually had to copy the test as they only had one copy. By the way it's not really an endorsement it's called a restriction 41. Also it's at no cost unless your license expires within 6 months of taking the test. The OP is exactly correct about the CHP and the insurance implications. Take the test, it's straight forward and common sense.
    Horst, Marlene & Jack, Turlock-CA.
    Reflection 303RLS,
    01 Chevy 3500, 6.0L gas, DRW, 4:10 Gears.
    One big giant (140lbs) chocolate lab Jack.

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    We had heard that,too,but for clarity in my post I called it what the CHP called it-and because the page the CHP handed to my husband said the following: ( I'm typing it verbatim from the page he handed my husband from the handbook of RV driving/towing Regulations)
    " Recreational Trailer Endorsement A driver must have a fifth-wheel recreational trailer endorsement added to his/her Class C driver license to pull a fifth-wheel recreational trailer over 10,000, but not over 15,000 lbs. GVWR. To obtain an original fifth-wheel recreational endorsement- adults must : pass the Recreational Vehicles And Noncommercial Class A Trailers law test, Pass the basic Class C law test, unless you renewed your Class C license within the past 12 months, pass a vision test.
    Jack, I just re-read this and it sounded like I was contradicting your post. I didn't intend that at all. We had been told the same thing about it being called restriction 41 and were directed to call it an endorsement for clarity. Just trying to keep it clear-we were so blindsided by even needing to have this .....whatever it's called I was happy you had posted the info because we CA drivers need to know about it
    "It's the journey that matters-not the destination."
    Ken & Suzi
    2013 2500HD Silvarado Duramax
    2015 303RLS

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    Senior Member Flat top's Avatar
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    I really appreciate all the info. I haven't taken my written drivers test for about 15 years, looks like I have a lot of studying ahead of me.
    I cant believe I've never heard of this rule. Looked it up online, and looks like its been in force since 2007.
    Steve and Connie Mitchell
    Lodi, California
    2020 Solitude S Class 2930RL
    2017 Ram 3500 Crew Cab SRW Cummins
    Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Hitch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat top View Post
    I really appreciate all the info. I haven't taken my written drivers test for about 15 years, looks like I have a lot of studying ahead of me.
    I cant believe I've never heard of this rule. Looked it up online, and looks like its been in force since 2007.
    Steve-Connie,don't lose heart. It is not a hard test and you can get the study test for Class C online. It won't cost anything if your license isn't near expiration. Ken had to pay because his license was due for renewal. We couldn't believe it either when we found out, and when we heard that an insurance company can disallow payment for not having it we really sobered up quickly. Scary the things that can happen and as the saying goes....ignorance of the law is no defense!
    "It's the journey that matters-not the destination."
    Ken & Suzi
    2013 2500HD Silvarado Duramax
    2015 303RLS

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    As if I needed any more validation on why I left California. Good luck to all of my Grand Design Friends in California.

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