UPDATE: Dec. 9, 2019: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied UPS' exemption request last week, according to a notice on the Federal Register. "In the Agency's judgment, the rigorous instructor training provided by UPS, while laudable, is not a substitute for CMV driving experience. UPS therefore fails to provide an alternative to the instructor requirements likely to ensure an equivalent level of safety, and the request for exemption is hereby denied," the agency's decision reads.
- UPS says its driving instructors don't need two years of CDL experience to train new UPS drivers, according to an exemption request the logistics company filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) earlier this month. UPS claims it would not be able to use 25% of its current instructors if new federal regulations go into effect, and the company "would have to make substantial adjustments to its operations" if the exemption is not granted.
- The FMCSA's Entry-Level Driver Training Final Rule will take effect Feb. 7, 2020. It requires instructors to have either operated a vehicle with a CDL for two years or have two years of experience as a behind-the-wheel instructor for commercial motor vehicles (CMV).
- UPS claims its current system for training driving instructors, its Driver Trainer School (DTS), is sufficient. The logistics company also requested not to be required to register every site where training takes place, as this would be "a significant administrative burden," the company wrote in the exemption request.
UPS says the DTS is an eight-week course meant for supervisors and managers who can take the knowledge back to their "'home worksites" to train other drivers. The curriculum covers the skills needed to drive a CMV, provides instruction on specific-to-UPS issues and teaches how to train other drivers. This includes five weeks of classroom work and discussion, driving practice on a closed course and on-road driving. This is followed by three weeks at the corporate training facility in South Holland, Illinois, UPS explained in its exemption request. UPS said it also does assessments to ensure instructors skills are maintained.
"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," UPS wrote. "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."
Instructors take these skills back to various UPS locations around the country to conduct training for new drivers, which is why UPS is also seeking an exemption from the second part of the regulation that would require the company to register each of these sites as a training location, hence the administrative burden it described.
FMCSA says this is necessary to allow training providers to send training certifications electronically to the FMCSA Training Provider Registry. "These objectives will be fully satisfied by a single registration for UPS's driver training program," UPS said.
The FMCSA sought comment from the public on these regulations in 2016, and there were organizations in favor of the rules. The New York Association For Pupil Transportation said, "The provisions as suggested are not inappropriate from our viewpoint."