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NewsTrucking Regulation

FMCSA rejects UPS driver training exemption request

Federal regulators have denied a petition by UPS [NYSE: UPS] to be exempted from two requirements of the entry-level driver training (ELDT) final rule after finding the company failed to make a valid safety case for its request.

In its petition filed earlier this year, UPS contended that its own well-established training program effectively trains drivers, but if forced to comply with the rule’s specific instructor qualification requirements it would be unable to use at least 25% of its current certified driver instructors, thereby limiting its ability to meet the demand for new drivers.

The company also asked for a five-year exemption from a requirement that every training location be registered separately under the program’s Training Provider Registry, claiming it would place a “significant administrative burden” on its in-house training if it were required to register as many as 1,800 UPS locations where a new driver could be trained.

In both requests, however, UPS “has not demonstrated that it would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent the requested exemptions,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruled in a decision published Dec. 6.

The agency explained that requiring a driver training instructor to hold a commercial driver’s license and have either two years of experience driving a truck of the same or higher class, or two years’ experience as a behind-the-wheel instructor, is necessary to establish minimum qualification standards.

“In the agency’s judgment, the rigorous instructor training provided by UPS, while laudable, is not a substitute for [commercial vehicle] driving experience,” it stated. “UPS therefore fails to provide an alternative to the instructor requirements likely to ensure an equivalent level of safety.”

FMCSA also rejected UPS’s argument regarding the burden on identifying separate training locations. “The agency needs to know the training location where an individual received ELDT, for example, so that if state-administered skills or knowledge test pass/fail rates appear to be outside the norm for drivers trained at a specific location, FMCSA can follow up appropriately,” it stated.

UPS’s exemption application received 112 comments, with more than half supporting it. However, four trucking groups — the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, the United States Transportation Alliance and TruckerNation — opposed it.

TruckerNation commented that the concerns raised by UPS have been addressed through negotiated rulemaking and the public comment process, FMCSA noted. “TruckerNation asserted that approving this exemption request would contradict the sound decisions previously made in the ELDT final rule and ultimately undermine the goals of ELDT.”

FMCSA recently announced it would be delaying the ELDT rule, originally scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 7, by two years after reviewing public comments responding to a proposal to delay portions of the rule.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

10 Comments

  1. After 32 years Trucking and just over three million miles safe driving…
    I personally (back in the day) thought that (along with the ltl freight companies) UPS had the best drivers in the country but after going to work for UPS this year I have seen some of these non driving ignorant kids that UPS has brought out of their warehouse and so-called trained them to drive and they can’t even back up…
    I’m surprised that these kids can go forward it’s a disgrace to the trucking industry so this so-called UPS training program..
    My God I’ve got more miles backing up than these kids have going forward it’s unreal if I was a driver trainer I would never pass these idiots..
    I can’t believe we’re putting.. I can’t believe any company is putting this lack of experience on the road to kill our family members it’s unbelievable..
    I started Trucking after getting out of the
    US Army in early 1987 I started with Southeastern Freight Lines in November 1987 I’ve been in LTL most of my career pulling doubles…
    I don’t need any super trucker non driving idiot comments after this post thank you very much….
    “Always Broke”

  2. I thought the quality was really slacking off when I saw a over the road ups driver. Big pucks in his ears had neck tattoos, earphones on both ears and his foot was n the dash. I always though they only hired exactly experienced drivers. I see Walmart and many other companies with convict looking drivers all the time now.

  3. What both of you drivers have witnessed is the new generation of UPS feeder driver. No one at UPS who has worked for the company as a package car driver wants to go into feeders. Thus this leaves removes the natural progression that was in place for decades. You have no driving experience personnel attempting to do the job. As to speak about this article no drivers go into management to become a on road(trainer )supervisor. Why would you take a significant pay cut and a schedule that is thankless. With no room for promotion. The FMCSA was wise not to grant UPS this waiver as its trainers have no real world experience and only 3 weeks of training they consider experience (DTS). UPS HAS A UNUSED COMMODITY IN ITS CIRCLE OF HONOR DRIVERS IT SHOULD UTILIZE IT AS TRAINERS. THIS IS THE TRAINING NEW DRIVERS NEED AND WANT. The minimum requirement for this elite group is 25 Years of Accident free driving. UPS need not reinvent the wheel.
    Robert Redtfeldt
    UPS Feeder Driver
    31years with UPS

      1. I have to tell you guys I’ve been driving truck for Walmart for 24 years this is the worst I’ve ever seen it we are under the same practices as UPS and the other freight companies drivers are no longer involved in the hiring process of the employees that are coming in to drive these trucks it’s a sad situation .Now lawyers are doing the hiring for these trucking jobs and they don’t know how to drive trucks either.

  4. Many of the trainers/drivers at UPS Freight have no idea on how to train new drivers on the ELD.
    They pass it along to other drivers to show them how.

  5. I’ve been with UPS for over 30 years. Our feeder trainers (kids) are being put into these training positions and many are scared to death, yet they do it ,being promised a higher management position in the future.. Accidents are not being reported and documented in the last 3 years.. UPS used to discipline drivers if we scratched the truck or broke a mirror and now these kids are literally tearing equipment up like you would not believe.. After reading this article I see exactly why all these accidents are not reported and put in the books for statistical purposes They don’t not want FMCSA to see the truth… It all boils down to money.. The company will take these kids and train them and pay them less than 1/2 of what a seasoned hourly driver gets paid.. There is absolutely no incentive for a seasoned UPS Driver making over 100k a year, would consider a promotion, which in reality would be a big demotion… It pisses me off that my generation of driver had to extra work hard to get a Circle of Honor 25,30,35 year safe driving patch ,and now accidents are left unreported and management turns their head not reporting any accidents by these new young drivers, so they can get their exemptions from FMCSE..

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