A careful read on recent posts seems to indicate the so called "standardized" CDL test is very different from state to state when it comes to the exercises.
Here in Montana we must do straight line back, offset back and a restricted 90 degree alley back. We do not do a parallel park. According my examiner, Montana added the 90 degree and dropped the parallel about a year or so.
Seems fail rate here is around 60% because of this on the first attempt and close to 40% on second attempt. She also stated the CDL standards come from the FEDS and all states should be doing the same thing.
I passed. Wife was penalized 14 points- passing is 12.
From reading other posts it seems not all states are requiring the 90 degree.
You are correct. The actual skills test as far as backing goes does vary from state to state, and it can also vary depending on where in a particular state you actually test at.
When I took my skills test our backing excercise consisted of a straight back, a 45 degree back and backing to within 1 foot of a line to simulate backing up to a dock or another vehicle. We were able to combine the last with either of the first 2 if we wanted which is what most of us did.
I tested out at the school I went to in IL which had a very small range. The state tester came to the school to test out our class.
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In Virginia it is a straight back and a 45 degree (curve around) to the driver's side. The school requires a succesful 90 alley dock and man that is one tough manouever at first. Parallel parking was easier in the tractor trailer then in my F-250 crew cab, go figure.
Well RI always does things that don't make sense. We have straight back, sight side and blind side parallel, 45 degree back ( just don't go over the line is all, pull up and stop and a right turn. The funny part is, the parallel's, you back the trailer in and jack the tractor at a 90 degree from the trailer. Also a point system. You allowed 20 points for all. 2 pts. for hitting a cone, 6 pts. blowing out a back cone 1 pt. for ea. foot away from the 18" mark.
Even more differences than I guessed. Our major pain is as follows:
Cones mark your alley. At its end, there are two cones on each side about 12 inches apart. This represents the "dock". You must end up between those last cones. 70 feet from the alley is a line of cones that represents a wall or other barrier. This is your field of battle. You cannot pull-up beyond the "wall". Hit the wall cones- 2 pts. Bust through- 10 pts or DQ at the discretion of the evaluator.
Back too far into the alley beyond the pair of end cones- 10 point deduction. Stop too early- 10 pt. deduction. If you are cock-eyed or not straight [parallel] to the cones, up to 10 pt deduction at the discretion of the evaluator. Hit a cone- 2 pts. If you rollover a cone then reverse and rollover it again, total of 4 pts. deduction.
You get two free pull-ups and two free GOALs. Each additional look-sees & pull-ups equal 1 pt. deduction. Max deduction= 12 pts.
When I got mine...a bit of a while ago, in FL, we did:
1. Straight line between cones.
2. Standard setup to a dock.
3. Parallel into cones.
4. 90 degree.
Whether or not it was required by the state....I don't know...because the school's instructors were 3rd party testers...and they required it to all to pass the course. We also had to pass the Pre-trip by the book as well as hooking and unhooking the trailer.
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1. Straight line forward to within 12" of cones at the front corners of the lane. Our training Pete had one of those "crossover" mirrors like on a schoolbus. It made it a snap to come with just inches of the cones. We then had to back out of the same lane about 100 ft without leaving the lane or nailing a cone.
2. 45 degree alley dock with the typical cone Wall ahead of you.
3. A "Jackback", which I guess is what others call parallel parking ... this simulated parking from a driving to a parking lane in both blind and sight side situations. The tractor had to end up jack knifed 45 degrees from the trailer and the drive wheels could not cross what would be a line where a curb would be. Our school had campus's in both New Mexico and in Texas as we're only 40 miles apart. The Texas guys did NOT have to do the jackback, but had some other requirement which escapes me right now, but might have been a backing "S" maneuver.
If I recall correctly, we were allowed two GOAL's. (No GOALs on the forward cone or backing maneuvers) We could come close to the imaginary dock in the 45 maneuver, do a GOAL, pace out how much further we had to go to get it right, and then mark off in the dirt beside the tractor, that same distance. We just lined up a scratch or something on the windowsill with the forward most mark and backed up until that scratch left that mark and hit the rearmost mark. It was pretty idiot proof.