June 19, 2019 12:30 PM, EDT

UPS Seeks FMCSA Exemption From 2020 Driving Instructor Requirements

Cites Possible Effect on Employing New Drivers
FMCSA ExemptionA UPS driver. (UPS Inc.)

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UPS Inc. has requested an exemption from a federal regulatory requirement that its driver training instructors have two years’ minimum experience as trainers and have held a commercial driver license for at least two years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced June 19.

UPS, the nation’s largest fleet, said that without the exemption, it would not be able to use at least one of every four currently certified instructors when the training and experience requirement, part of FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training rule, goes into effect in February. The requirements also could impact the carrier’s ability to meet the demand for new drivers, UPS said.

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In its exemption request, UPS said its schools have trained hundreds of driving instructors, many who did not have previous CDL experience.

“UPS driver training school instructors have, on average, 20 years of UPS experience, hold a CDL of the same or higher class and all the endorsements necessary to operate a CMV for which training is required,” according to the Federal Register announcement. “Additionally, all UPS driver instructors are required to be recertified every 90 days to demonstrate the same skill level shown for their original driver training school certification. UPS further performs internal quality assessments to validate that instructor skill sets are maintained throughout the organization.”

However, FMCSA said that according to UPS, under the new Entry Level Driver Training regulation, no one could be an instructor at the time the regulation goes into effect unless they obtained a CDL and had begun driving by Feb. 7, 2018, or earlier.

“UPS states that if it must comply with the instructor qualification requirements in the ELDT rule, it would not be able to use 25% of its current certified driver instructors, at minimum,” the announcement said. “Looking ahead two more years, that number would likely increase to 50% due to its changing workforce.”

Also, without an exemption from the trainer requirements, UPS said its inability to use its current driver instructors will “impede substantially its ability to meet the demand for new drivers.”

“UPS adds that the exemption also is needed to meet union contractual requirements, as under its collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, six current UPS employees must be provided with a promotion opportunity for every new hire,” the announcement said.

UPS Exemption by Transport Topics on Scribd

When reached for comment, a UPS spokesperson offered this statement: “UPS’ driver training and trainer certification is of the highest quality in the transportation industry. Our certification processes and training prerequisites have resulted in one of the best driving records in the industry. The company has more than 10,000 drivers who have driven 25 years or more without an avoidable accident, which proves that UPS driver training is thorough, effective and replicable. UPS training meets or exceeds what the FMCSA is ultimately striving to accomplish: superior training and safer drivers.”

UPS also asked for an exemption from the requirement that it register each training location for a “unique Training Provider Registry number.”

UPS said it needs the location exemption due to the significant administrative burden that would result if it had to register every UPS location at which a new driver could be trained.

“In addition, having separate TPR numbers for multiple locations offering essentially the same training could create internal confusion for UPS, drivers and the agency,” the announcement said. “UPS new driver training may occur at as many as 1,800 separate locations a year. UPS estimates that the cost to register all of these locations would be substantial and that it would incur additional costs to keep track of the various registrations, file updates and new driver registrations.”

FMCSA said it will accept comment on the UPS exemption request through July 19.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.