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

Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

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.


  1. James

    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.

  2. Matt

    (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.

  3. Jim Finan

    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.

  4. John Portera

    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.

  5. Marc Rettus

    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.

  6. Kenneth

    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

  7. Zephod

    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. Allen

        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.

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

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.