OOIDA opposes UPS’ exemption request from entry-level driver training rule

July 19, 2019

Mark Schremmer

|

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed formal comments on July 19 against United Parcel Service’s request for exemption from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s entry-level driver training rule.

In June, Atlanta-based UPS asked FMCSA to change the provisions that require a driver training instructor to have two years of experience with a commercial driver’s license and to register each training location for a unique training provider registry number.

According to UPS, it has an eight-week driver training school that trains its employees to become driver instructors. The school has trained hundreds of driver instructors, many of whom did not have previous CDL experience.

“The driver training school produces highly qualified driver instructors,” UPS said in the exemption request.

FMCSA’s entry-level driver training rule was published in 2016, and the compliance date is Feb. 7, 2020. Once the final rule goes into effect, instructors will have had to have acquired a CDL and started driving by Feb. 7, 2018.

“OOIDA has supported national entry-level driver training standards for decades,” the Association wrote in comments signed by President Todd Spencer. “In our opinion, the best way to promote safety is to improve driver training requirements. Currently, too many new drivers enter the industry without the basic skills to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

UPS said that if it must comply with the instructor qualification requirements, it would not be able to use 25% of its current certified driver instructors. UPS claims that number would increase to 50% by 2022.

The company also said that the requirement of having a unique training provider registry number for each location would cause a “significant administrative burden.”

“While the entry-level driver training rule final rule that will go into effect next years is far from sufficient, the regulation does establish adequate minimum qualifications for training instructors,” OOIDA wrote. “The rule also outlines an essential process for registering training providers that will hold schools and instructors accountable for their performance. If these standards are maintained and enforced, highway safety will undoubtedly improve. For these reasons, OOIDA opposes UPS’ exemption requests.”

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, staff writer, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.