The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted a regulation exemption request placed by United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) that would allow commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders to be trained on twin trailers.

In a notice to be published in the Federal Register on September 28, FMCSA agreed to grant UPS’s request for a 5 year exemption from Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations that prohibit employers from allowing an individual to operate a CMV during any period in which the driver does not have a CLP or CDL with the proper class or endorsement as well as rules that prohibit the State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) from issuing a double/triple trailer endorsement to CLP holders.

Under the exemption, the FMCSA will allow UPS to conduct behind-the-wheel training for commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders in twin 28-foot trailers, instead of waiting to conduct the training until after the individuals receive their Class A CDL and pass the required knowledge test to obtain the double/triple trailer endorsement.

UPS requested the exemption because the company currently requires that all Class A CDL drivers be qualified to operate twin 28-foot trailers and seeks to include on- the-road doubles training in its initial driver training program rather than waiting until the driver earns a CDL first.

In the exemption application, UPS argued that most long-haul truck driver candidates are already UPS employees who are experienced non-CDL drivers who receive 80 hours of training after earning a CLP. Prior to the exemption, UPS said it could take several weeks between the time that a driver receives the initial training and the time that the driver could receive on-the-road training in hauling doubles.

The FMCSA received 18 public comments that opposed the UPS exemption. One commenter argued that “new drivers need experience before they start handling things like doubles.”

The FMCSA responded:

The premise of some comments opposing the exemptions is that CLP holders lack experience driving a single trailer and should not be able to operate double/triple trailers until they receive their CDL. The CDL regulations, however, do not specify a minimum amount of time an individual must hold a Class A CDL prior to seeking the double/triple trailer endorsement and do not require training or passing a double/triple trailer skills test prior to receiving the double/triple trailer endorsement. Individuals with a valid Class A CDL seeking such an endorsement need only pass a knowledge test. The measures THe proposed by UPS would ensure that drivers receive on-road skills training prior to receiving the double/triple trailer endorsement.

The FMCSA concluded, “The Agency believes that UPS’s training procedures will likely enable UPS and its drivers to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.”

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