UPS exemption request denied by FMCSA

December 10, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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Saying there is not a substitute for commercial motor vehicle driving experience, the FMCSA denied the United Parcel Service’s request for exemption from the agency’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 denial of the five-year exemption request was published in the Federal Register on Monday, Dec. 9.

“In the agency’s judgment, the rigorous instructor training provided by UPS, while laudable, is not a substitute for commercial motor vehicle driving experience,” FMCSA wrote. “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.”

Rule delayed

FMCSA’s entry-level driver training rule was set to go into effect Feb. 7, 2020, but the agency announced in November that it opted to move the implementation of the rule until 2022.

OOIDA said the delay was a contradiction to safety.

“Delaying the rule directly contradicts FMCSA’s mission of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said. “Truckers will tell you the best way to promote safety is improving the driver training requirements, and right now too many new drivers enter the industry without the basic skills or knowledge to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

The Association also spoke out against the UPS exemption request.

If these standards are maintained and enforced, highway safety will undoubtedly improve. For these reasons, OOIDA opposes UPS’ exemption requests,” OOIDA wrote in formal comments regarding the UPS request in July.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, 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 more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.