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UPS warns training regulations will hurt its long-haul driver hiring (with video)

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.

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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.

47 Comments

  1. When you think about it, this should be very concerning to every person that ever ventures out on to a highway or interstate. Let’s just consider that when companies as large as UPS seem more concerned with the volume and or speed of recruiting than actual skill and competence level and most likely the other large players are of the same mindset, we have a huge road safety issue on our hands.

    Shouldn’t these mega carriers be setting the bar higher than anyone else? After all, companies that have grown to these proportions, haven’t done that without your support, and you deserve them to be accountable to society in general.

    1. As a retired line haul driver for 25 yrs the
      it took me more than two yrs to understand adverse driving conditions.
      Remember rule # 1 if you’re driving
      doubles or a semi the company that
      you work is on those trailers.

    2. UPS does set the bar. The Driver Trainer School DTS Wich all driver trainers must qualify at, is by far the most skill intensive trainer school out there. UPS feeder driver’s are the safest and best trained driver’s on the road.

      1. Number one , how can you make a comment like this if you have only worked for ups. There is many other companies out there that actually train a driver with on the road experience compared to ups training you in a yard with little to no road experience. Number two, if you think Ups is among the safest drivers out here you need to open your eyes. Omg this company always ask the fmcsa for an extensions for everything that comes down the pike law wise. It’s time they get on the bus

        1. It’s amazing that the people that ups vote for every election cycle democratic party have put most of these laws into place so maybe you should start paying more attention

          1. wtf are you on about?
            they donate pretty evenly.
            why bring politics into this?

            MAP-21 was sponsored by Republicans, and more Republicans voted for it than against it.

          2. Political affiliations, clicks REALLY You People with your dictator approach to solving everything is the real problem

        2. Ups is not the safest driver out there. From the outside it may seem like it but far not. I’amna feeder driver for ups and have over 10 plus real like driving experience prior to coming here. They training is a joke, company can’t even keep there own trailer inspection up to date. The on-road-sup that train people here doesn’t have any driving experience. We had a sup fresh out of school trying to teach a new guy how to drive a truck. Blind leading the blind. That’s why they pushing for exemption.

      2. Yes 6 months with a CDL but it can be an A class but no experience driving a Class A just 6 months with a CDL

      3. Most feeder drivers only have 2 years experience. He’ll too be a feeder driver you have to have 25 years with company and those are driving a bread truck

    3. Those are basically my thoughts. What this really means is that they’ve run the numbers, and it’s more expensive for them to actually care about their drivers being safe than it does to pay out for loss of life caused by their company. It’s disgusting.

      1. And since there isn’t even a minimal loss of life due to their drivers, then it appears they are doing quite well.

    4. No, it is concerning that the regulatory bodies deem it necessary to extend the training period an additional year, when it is not necessary. The current standards are fine, and have been working well for years. The rate of incidents is extremely low industry wide. Compared to non-CDL drivers, professional drivers have an extremely low incident rate both in the large trucks, as well as their personal vehicles.

    5. It’s funny how big carriers aways want the rules. Hair follicle test elds etc. But when it comes down to brass nuts all it’s about shutting down small companies so they can have the pick of drivers that are left over. Not everyone wants to for fedups. They need to watch what they are before they screw trucking up more…

    6. Well let’s look at ups overall safety rating and I think we would find a satisfactory score. If this is true then it seems inappropriate for new regulations to be enacted against ups at this time. Ups request for exemption should be approved

  2. That’s typical ups. Hire unskilled supervisors who as far as having time behind the wheel is considered how many hours they have which is minimal as opposed to the skilled drivers who rack up miles. They bring over supervisors from the package department who have absolutely no time behind the wheel, do they’re so called training which basically consists of classroom work send them to Chicago to drive around the city there and waa-laa they are now the best drivers on the road and ready to teach you anything you want to know as a driver of a semi. Then they could go for months without any driving then they go out and train new hires. That’s why ups is Hippocrates when it comes to safety and they’re way of training. That’s why they’re pushing this issue otherwise they aren’t shit on a stick when it comes to training properly.

    1. SO TRUE, WORKED AT UPS FOR 30 YEARS,AND WHEN THEY HAD THIS SO CALLED TRAINING, IT WAS BY SOME UPS STUPIDVISOR WHO HAD NO IDEA, TYPICAL UPS, NUMBERS ,NUMBERS, NUMBERS, THIS TRAINING IS ALSO GIVEN TO THEIR MECHANICS WHEN THEY HAVE SOMEONE WHO COULD NOT MAKE IT AS A MECHANIC OR DIDNT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DRAG LINK AND A LEAF SPRING GIVING A SEASONED MECHANIC “TRAINING”——– UPS WHAT A JOKE !!!!

      1. You clearly have no idea what your talking about. The training for the supervisors is 8 weeks of non stop driving, coupling and uncoupling sets.

        1. Wow a whole 8 weeks this is the problem with this industry. The inexperienced trying to train the unexperienced.

  3. Typical ups worried about there profit over safety.they preach safety but do everything they can to go around it

  4. Am I missing something here? Following what the article says, there aren’t any driver trainers at UPS who’ve been there over 2 years?? What?
    I find that hard to believe.
    I work for FedEx (freight) and they haven’t said anything about there being a problem with that, but our trainers have all had their CDL A’s for at least 5 years WITH FEDEX before they’re even eligible to be a trainer.
    Maybe UPS needs to work on employee retention rather than fearing exemptions from a new stipulation that was clearly put in place for adequate/needed safety reasons.

  5. Hmmmmm….maybe UPS could find experienced drivers and not have to rely so heavily on trainees if they made some changes. In Oregon a driver with 15 years driving experiene, a clean driving record, etc was offered a job by UPS Freight, but when he was told there was a 3 month wait to qualify for insurance and in certain situations he would be getting paid in the $17 per hour range, he declined the offer. UPS, if you want to hire experienced drivers with your “industry leading benefits,” you need to provide insurance from day one for the entire family like some of your direct competitors. No dependable family man is going to put his family through that AND be subject to lower hourly pay. You UPS company men who negotiated that must have been real proud of yourselves, but the driver shortage will come back to bite you. Also in Oregon, good luck competing with all the other companies trying to find experienced drivers who can pass a drug test considering that marijuana is legal in Oregon.

    1. The drug testing requirements are federally mandated for all CDL drivers, no cannabis because it’s still an evil substance according to the government.

      1. Correct, drug testing is a federal requirement and absolutely should stay in place. What I’m pointing out is that it adds an additional roadblock for trucking companies in Oregon (or any marijuana legal state) to compete for qualified drivers, so why make qualified drivers wait three months for insurance and be subject to $17 per hour pay? The companies should be getting rid of their own roadblocks to find qualified drivers. If they could get more qualified drivers through the door, then the training issue wouldn’t be as big of a problem.

  6. Requiring driver trainers to have 2 years experience seems like a bare minimum. I would think one would hsve more

  7. The law is the law and should be the same for everyone.since when do they give exemptions allowing you to break it?

  8. This explains so much, just be on the road and witness these ups clowns and you will believe they are being trained by non drivers.

  9. Read between the lines. UPS is saying their drivers and instructors don’t stay for more than a year. That in turn means their pay and conditions must be poor and let’s face it… who wants to wear a poop colored uniform?

      1. Really, ?I made 150k and home every night and
        weekend. Think I will stay put where I am. The
        grass is not always greener elsewhere.

  10. If they make it easy for every large company to apply for exemptions on these new training requirements, then there was absolutely no sense for them to even come up with the requirements, the industry will be right back where we started.I don’t think that asking that your trainers have at least 2 years of experience is asking too much

  11. Since ups thinks laws should apply to others, but not to them, maybe the arrogant sobs should just close up.

    Bottom line; the law is for public safety, but it will cost a huge corporation like ups some money.

    I wish I could apply for exemptions from the law, but, I have to admit, I am not above the law.

  12. So UPS trainers don’t even have 2 years of cdl experience ?? Changes my Outlook on that company that’s for sure

  13. UPS can also mean Understanding Personal Safety, a contradiction of terms when it comes to the safety and welfare not only to the general public but their employees as well.

  14. Did I read correctly … the driver trainers have less than 2 years experience? UPS trucks are fast, always over the limit. But, not as bad as FedEx and WalMart. Those guys don’t even look at the speed limit signs, or care about construction zones. Not all .. just the ones I see on 78and 83 in PA.

  15. (Paraphrasing) “least 25% of the current driver trainers would be affected by this regulation because they have less than the reuqired 2 years of CDL experience”. If you have less than 2 years of CDL driving experience, you have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS TRAINING A CDL TRAINEE!!!! Your damn self doesn’t know enough yet. Forrest qould say stupid is as stupid does”. IF I was in charge of running UPS, I would be engaging in negotiations with retired, fromer UPS driver trainers to re-hire them back to do the training of the new workforce.

  16. Regarding UPS article, Non Cdl certified Inexperienced people should never be allowed to train anyone to operate a semi tractor trailer combo, how can you ever claim proficiency at something you’ve never experienced. UPS should be held legally responsible for every accident that occurred under the direction of any of its non Cdl inexperienced staff. Could it be the real answer to so many commercial vehicles accidents is their training comes from inexperienced people.

  17. Lol, no big deal, we’re just trying to put inexperienced drivers on the road legally in the biggest vehicles out there.

    At least it’s not Swift. 😂😂😂

  18. Provided a person has been staying informed on the automation issue, that the big 100 have been pushing for since the early 1990’s, one would understand that this article has nothing to do with driver trainers. It all appears innocent and the companies are defending their driver force (which anyone who has ever been a driver knows better than that. Companies could care less about their extremely high turn over rate), but in reality, this is another excuse to show the problem is with the drivers, and that automation will solve the problem. If you ate currently a driver for any company, I would start learning a different skill, so that by the time the industry is automated, you’re not just dumped on the side of a highway, hitching a ride home, when automation does happen.

  19. A lady ran into me, and my cart, she was wearing a ups uniform.
    Now i undetstand. I’ll be more careful, and cautious when at the grocery store.

  20. UPS needs to practice what they preach. Safety First. The fact that UPS is even asking for an exemption is concerning. Come on UPS hold your standards higher. Don’t be asking for less than what should be acceptable. They don’t get my vote.

  21. UPS like all the mega carriers is only worried about the “bottom line” and care nothing about safety. They tout the “fact” that they attract drivers with lots of experience and claim to have loads of driver with 20+ years experience yet they can not find enough drivers with 2+ years experience to train new drivers? The short answer to this is pay the trainers appropriately and “entice” the senior drivers to want to become trainers, the seasoned drivers are out there, Make it worth their while to train and they will show up aching for the chance to become instructors. The ELDT 2020 standards fall way short as it is and they want to castrate it even further. SHAME!

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