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Commercial Driver’s Licence Renewal

In the province of Ontario, Canada, we are required to hold a commercial driver’s licence to operate a Class A diesel motorcoach. Specifically, a DZ licence.

The Z designation is for the air brake component and it is mandatory for anyone in Ontario that operates a vehicle with air brakes.

The Class D licence lets you drive any truck or vehicle combination exceeding 11,000 kilograms (roughly 24,000 lbs), provided that the towed vehicle weighs less than 4,600 kg (roughly 10,000 lbs).

To apply for a Class D licence, you need to be at least 18 years old, hold a valid Ontario licence other than G1, G2, M, M1 or M2, pass an eye test, submit a medical report, pass a written test about operating large trucks and tractor-trailers and pass a road test.

To make our life in retirement just a little more interesting, our provincial government has elected to change the rules regarding Class D renewals.

Class D licence holders up to age 80 will be subject to a Class D knowledge test and vision test every five (5) years at time of licence renewal. Class D licence holders over the age of 80 will still have to complete an annual knowledge, vision and road test.

Class D licence holders under the age of 46 will be required to submit a Medical Report every five (5) years.

Class D licence holders between the ages of 46 and 64 will be required to submit a Medical Report every three (3) years.

Class D licence holders age 65 and older will be required to submit an annual Medical Report.

Having a more stringent requirement for commercial truck drivers makes sense. Does it make sense for someone like me that operates a recreational vehicle? I will now have to do the Class D tests every five years and medicals every year after age 65. And I’m just not sure how relevant all of the truck related content is for someone who drives a recreational vehicle. Some of the content is applicable. Most of it, however, is primarily for people who drive trucks for a living.

As we plan to be in the States during the winter months, it will be quite aggravating to have to deal with license renewals in March — March being my month of birth. Our provincial government bases renewals on date of birth.

Could be costly having to fly up to Canada just to do a licence renewal every winter.

Driving Test Nerves

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Behind my mask, when I took my driving tests for my D Class and my Z endorsement, was pure fear. I did not expect to experience such stress. I did not expect to experience driving test nerves.

The mask I normally wear is a mask of confidence. It is a mask that says: I am okay and I have it all under control.

My first driver’s licence was issued when I was 16 years old. In those days, if you completed a driver’s education course, all that was required at the examination centre was successful completion of a short multiple choice exam. Within ten or fifteen minutes, I had my driver’s licence. No fear. No stress.

Totally different experience when I took the DZ tests.

What would happen if I did not pass the DZ tests?  We would not be able to bring the coach home as we had originally planned. And because Lorraine was delayed in taking her DZ courses, my DZ licence was on the critical path. No one else in our family would be able to pick up the coach from the dealer.

I did not want to let Lorraine down.

Failing something can be hard to take. Failing something can be embarrassing.

There were fifteen people in my class and every person was stressed out over the written and practical tests.

Why was everyone so nervous? What consequences did we face?

It then became clear to me: being nervous in these situations is actually pretty normal. The thing to watch out for?

Fear of failure often leads to failure!

It is so important to shift the nerves and anxiety into positive energy.

I told myself that I can absolutely do this. I told myself that I can ace these tests and, as it turned out, I did. Out of 160 test items over four different exams, I missed only 2 questions.

I used 4-7-8 breathing to ease my nerves and anxiety:

  • Slowly breath in through the nose for 4 seconds
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Slowly exhale for a count of 8

Repeat this process a few times and suddenly the nerves and anxiety levels calm down.

I did not treat the driving test as a test. I told myself that I was going for a drive. I have been driving for over forty years now. I know how to drive. Sure, I don’t often drive 4o-foot vehicles weighing over 30,000 lbs, but I know how to drive.

When I started the drive, I knew I had it. I knew that I could show the examiner that I could safely operate this class of vehicle.

“Congratulations!” he said at the end of the test. “You aced it.”

Lorraine took her Z endorsement training last week. And she had her tests on Friday. She was also nervous and anxious. She also aced the tests. Learning to control our nerves and our anxieties is part of life. Getting our commercial driver’s licences for our motorhome was a milestone in getting ready for our new adventures.

That was another important part of the process for us: keep ourselves focused on the goal. This was simply just another step in the process.

We get to drive the coach home this coming Saturday.

So excited.

Truck Licence?

Truck

Do you need a commercial driver’s licence to drive an RV?

The answer is yes if you live in Ontario and the RV is more than 11,000 kilograms (24,250 lbs). If the RV has air brakes, you also have to complete an air brake (Z) endorsement.

From the Ministry of Transportation’s website:

Class D Licence

The Class D licence lets you drive any truck or vehicle combination exceeding 11,000 kilograms, provided that the towed vehicle weighs less than 4,600 kg. If it weighs more, you will need either a full Class A or restricted Class A licence.

With a Class D licence you can also drive a car or light truck covered by a G Class licence.

Requirements

To apply for a Class D licence, you need to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • hold a valid Ontario licence other than G1, G2, M, M1 or M2
  • pass an eye test
  • submit a medical report
  • pass a written test about operating large trucks and tractor-trailers
  • pass a road test

Both Lorraine and I had to go through the somewhat lengthy and expensive process of becoming truckers.

You can call me Trucker Rick. I have my DZ licence.

In a few weeks time you will be able to call Lorraine Trucker L. She is in her air brake program today and tomorrow and her D program in another two weeks.

We both found the courses to be very interesting and very worthwhile.

If things do not work out in retirement, I can always try my hand at trucking.