Entry-level driver training regulations going into force in 2020 will make it difficult for UPS to keep up with new driver demand, according to company documents.
UPS [NYSE: UPS], one of the nation’s largest less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carriers with over 20,000 long-haul trucks, has applied for an exemption from two requirements of the entry-level driver training (ELDT) final rule being administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The ELDT rule, which goes into effect on February 7, 2020, requires behind-the-wheel and theory driver training instructors have two years’ experience and have held a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for two years.
But in its exemption application – dated January 29, 2019 and made public on June 19 – UPS contends that under the regulations, no one at the company’s in-house driver training school could be an instructor at the time the regulations go into effect unless he or she obtained a CDL and had started driving by February 7, 2018. “If it has to comply with the instructor qualification requirements, UPS would not be able to use a minimum of 25 percent of its current certified driver instructors,” the company stated.
Forecasting out two years, that number would likely increase to 50 percent due to the company’s changing workforce, it stated.
“UPS sees an increase in growth through volume demand, as well as an aging workforce which will lead to retiring CDL drivers and certified driver instructors. Without exemption from the trainer requirements, UPS’s inability to use its skilled driver instructors will substantially impede its ability to meet the demand for new drivers.”
The company argued that looking outside the company for instructors to fill those gaps was not an option. “UPS is committed to helping employees advance their careers as we maintain a ‘promote from within’ culture,” it stated. “This helps ensure employee engagement, advancement, and sustainability utilizing our current workforce in an industry that is being overwhelmed from a capacity standpoint.”
UPS has also requested a five-year exemption from another ELDT requirement, that every training location be registered separately under the government program’s Training Provider Registry. UPS claimed this 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.
“UPS estimates that the cost to register all of these locations would be $4,400/month, and that it would incur additional costs to keep track of the various registrations, file updates, and make new registrations when drivers will be trained by its skilled instructors in new locations,” it stated.
Comments on UPS’s exemption request must be received by July 19. UPS said that if granted, the exemption would allow it to employ an estimated 80 to 140 certified driver instructors and train 1,000 entry-level drivers annually.