The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a final decision denying a request by the United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) to be exempted from two key provisions of the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) final rule. The denial of these exemptions by FMCSA sets an important precedent in favor of uniform application of ELDT regulations for all training providers.
Under ELDT regulations, driver training instructors must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and two years of experience driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) before they can train students. This provision is meant to ensure that instructors are adequately trained before working with trainees. UPS requested an exemption from this provision in 2019 and asked FMCSA to reconsider its original denial in 2020. On September 6th, FMCSA issued its final determination upholding that denial and found that UPS’ application did not provide an analysis of the safety impacts of a potential exemption or provide countermeasures that could be undertaken to ensure equal or greater safety than would be achieved under ELDT.
ELDT also requires that each training provider register each training location on the Training Provider Registry (TPR). This provision allows for each individual training location to be identified and ensure that all locations meet the training standards outlined by ELDT. UPS also requested an exemption from this provision and was similarly denied.
Each of the policies in ELDT combine to strengthen the level of training offered to new drivers and enhance highway safety. Exempting certain training providers from parts of these regulations would open the floodgates for exemption requests from other training providers. And if granted, these exemptions would swallow the ELDT rule and undermine efforts to increase highway safety.
We commend this decision from FMCSA and encourage the agency to continue to pursue uniform application of ELDT.