[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 187 (Wednesday, September 28, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58902-58905]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-20968]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0069]


Commercial Driver's License: United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS); 
Application for Exemptions

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department 
of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of exemption.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant United Parcel Service, 
Inc.'s (UPS) application for an exemption from certain provisions of 
the Agency's commercial driver's license (CDL) regulations. The 
exemption allows UPS to conduct behind-the-wheel training for 
commercial learner's permit (CLP) holders in twin 28-foot trailers, 
rather than waiting to conduct the training after the individuals 
receive their Class A CDLs and pass the required knowledge test to 
obtain the double/triple trailer endorsement on their CDLs. FMCSA has 
analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has 
determined that the exemptions, subject to the terms and conditions 
imposed, will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, 
or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such 
exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective September 28, 2022 and expires 
September 28, 2027.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: (202) 366-4225; Email: [email protected]. If 
you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, 
contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to https://www.regulations.gov and 
insert the docket number, ``FMCSA-2020-0069'' in the ``Keyword'' box 
and click ``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and 
choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the 
internet, you may view the docket by visiting the Docket Management 
Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,

[[Page 58903]]

Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ET), Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays. To be sure someone is there to help 
you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before visiting 
Docket Operations.

I. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs). FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must 
provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant 
to the application, including any safety analyses that have been 
conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public 
comment on the request.
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted 
and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application 
and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving 
the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is 
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period and explain 
the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed 
(49 CFR 381.300(b)).
    When the Agency denies a request for an exemption, the applicant 
may be allowed to resubmit the application if the applicant can 
reasonably address the basis for denial. 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(3).

II. Current Regulations

    FMCSA's CDL regulations 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 endorsements (49 CFR 
383.37(a)), and the regulations prohibit the State driver licensing 
agencies (SDLAs) from issuing a double/triple trailer endorsement to 
CLP holders (49 CFR 383.25(a)(5)(iv) and 383.93(a)(2)). The regulations 
do not specify a minimum amount of time an individual must hold a Class 
A CDL prior to seeking the double/triple endorsement and do not require 
training or passing a double/triple trailer skills test prior to 
receiving the double/triple trailer endorsement. Individuals seeking 
such an endorsement need only pass a knowledge test.

III. Applicant's Request

    UPS requests exemptions from 49 CFR 383.37(a) and 49 CFR 
383.93(b)(1) to permit its CDL instructors to conduct behind-the-wheel 
training of CLP holders using twin 28-foot trailers. UPS uses single 
and double trailers in its fleet and requires that all its Class A CDL 
drivers be qualified to operate twin 28-foot trailers. UPS wants to 
ensure that its driver-trainees know how to safely operate the vehicles 
they will be driving in normal operations and plans to train its Class 
A CLP holders to operate double trailers prior to the individuals 
receiving their CDLs and taking the double/triple trailer knowledge 
test.
    Because of the regulations cited above, UPS states that it is 
unable to include on-the-road doubles training in its initial driver 
training because double/triple trailer endorsements are not allowed on 
CLPs. Instead, a driver must receive a CDL before the driver can obtain 
a double/triple trailer endorsement. After the driver obtains the 
endorsement, the employer may conduct training on public roads.
    UPS explained that it has a ``hire from within'' culture. 
Typically, its long-haul driver candidates come from the ranks of UPS 
associates who are experienced drivers of CMVs that do not require a 
CDL. Once a candidate obtains a CLP, UPS provides 80 hours of combined 
classroom and behind-the-wheel skills instruction training. UPS noted 
that a driver must wait 14 days after receiving a CLP before he or she 
can take the skills test required to obtain a CDL (49 CFR 383.25(e)). 
Depending on the State, it may take longer to secure an appointment for 
the CDL skills test. Therefore, weeks could pass between the time the 
driver receives primary training and the time the driver can obtain on-
the-road training in doubles.
    UPS notes that the regulations allow any Class A CDL holder to take 
the double/triple trailer endorsement knowledge test and obtain the 
endorsement without completing specialized training or passing a skills 
test. By contrast, under the requested exemptions, the UPS driver-
trainee with a CLP would be permitted to operate doubles only under 
direct supervision of an experienced instructor and be required to 
successfully complete the training prior to obtaining the Class A CDL 
and applying for the double/triple trailer endorsement.
    After the close of the comment period to UPS's application for 
exemptions, UPS submitted additional materials to FMCSA detailing UPS's 
training program. UPS identified the additional materials as 
Confidential Business Information (CBI). Because the information is 
CBI, there is no way for the public to comment on it. For this reason, 
the additional materials were not placed in the docket for this notice.

IV. Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    According to UPS, the requested exemption would achieve a level of 
safety equivalent to, or greater than, that which would be obtained by 
complying with current regulations and cites the following measures in 
support of this conclusion:
     Each driver with a CLP will receive a minimum of 80 hours 
of training;
     Drivers must successfully pass a UPS knowledge test 
similar to one that would be administered by the SDLA before beginning 
on-road skills training in doubles;
     Doubles skills training for drivers with CLPs will start 
in a closed yard;
     During all phases of behind-the-wheel training (BTW) 
(i.e., road and range), driver-trainees will have direct supervision 
from a certified instructor who has completed an 8-week UPS Driver 
Trainer and Instructor Program and is recertified every 90 days; and
     UPS will maintain a ``satisfactory'' safety rating with 
FMCSA.
    Upon completion of the formal training, UPS asserts that the 
driver-trainees continue to improve their skills by operating UPS 
vehicles under the close supervision of certified instructors until 
they are ready to obtain their CDL. UPS believes these controls should 
address any safety concerns FMCSA or the motoring public might have 
regarding the requested exemptions. A copy of UPS's application for 
exemptions is available for review in the docket for this notice.

V. Public Comments

    On February 25, 2020, FMCSA published notice of UPS's application 
for exemptions and requested public comment (85 FR 10810). The Agency 
received 38 comments. Twenty respondents supported the exemptions. Ms. 
Carolyn Carter said, for example, that ``[a]llowing UPS to train with 
doubles during the initial training period gives the new drivers more 
experience and training prior to getting on the road by themselves. 
Providing UPS receives this exemption, it allows for safer new drivers 
to be prepared for the conditions of the roadways while hauling sets.'' 
An anonymous commenter stated that, ``All of the trainers at UPS go 
through extensive training in order to drive and operate doubles 
(Tractor and two 28' trailers)

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and are very experienced when it comes to training new drivers how to 
operate such equipment. It would be very beneficial to the new drivers 
to be able to get behind the wheel experience with doubles while they 
are going through training with their CLP.''
    Eighteen individuals opposed the exemption. Commenters who opposed 
the exemption stated that new drivers do not have sufficient experience 
to operate double trailers and that those drivers would not operate 
safely. Mr. Michael Millard wrote: ``Based on the verbiage of UPS' 
application that did not request an exception from [Sec.  380.203] that 
requires a driver to possess a CDL for six months or [Sec.  383.25] 
which prohibits CLP holders from obtaining a double/triple trailer 
endorsement and the safety issues associated with double/triple 
trailers. I strongly suggest UPS's application be denied.'' Another 
individual, MJ Thorne, said, ``Please do not give UPS this exemption! 
New drivers need experience before they start handling things like 
doubles. If UPS is experiencing a hardship because they are training 
drivers but can't have them pull doubles, then they should not be 
training people new to this industry.''

VI. FMCSA Response and Decision

    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 proposed by 
UPS would ensure that drivers receive on-road skills training prior to 
receiving the double/triple trailer endorsement.
    In response to the comment stating that UPS did not seek an 
exemption from 49 CFR 380.23, FMCSA notes that section 380.23 applies 
only to operators of longer combination vehicles (LCVs), which have a 
gross vehicle weight greater than 80,000 pounds. The training 
requirements in 49 CFR part 380, subpart A, continue to apply to UPS 
drivers operating LCVs.
    FMCSA has evaluated UPS's application and the public comments and 
decided to grant the exemptions. 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 (49 CFR 381.305(a)). The 
exemption is restricted to UPS's driver-trainee CLP holders operating 
vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds or less. The 
exemption will enable UPS drivers to obtain on-the-road training in 
doubles only under direct supervision of a certified driver instructor 
who has completed UPS's 8 week UPS Driver Trainer and Instructor 
Program and is recertified every 90 days before obtaining a CDL and the 
required endorsement for operating such CMVs.
    Prior to making its decision, the Agency conducted a comprehensive 
review of UPS's safety performance, which included a review of the 
Motor Carrier Management Information System safety records, and 
inspection and accident reports submitted to FMCSA by State agencies. 
UPS possesses an active USDOT registration, maintains minimum required 
levels of financial responsibility, is not subject to an ``imminent 
hazard'' or other out-of-service (OOS) order, and has a 
``satisfactory'' safety rating with FMCSA. FMCSA has therefore decided 
to grant the exemptions, subject to the terms and conditions outlined 
below.

VII. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

    The exemptions from 49 CFR 383.37(a) and 49 CFR 383.93(b)(1) will 
allow UPS driver-trainee CLP holders who have completed yard skills 
training and passed a company administered knowledge test in all of the 
areas required to obtain a double/triple trailer endorsement on a CDL 
under 49 CFR 383.115 to operate doubles under direct supervision of a 
certified training instructor who has a CDL with the double/triple 
trailer endorsement. Driver-trainees covered by these exemptions will 
not be required to possess a CDL or a double/triple trailer endorsement 
while performing on-the-road training in doubles. However, drivers will 
be required to present proof to law enforcement, upon request, that 
they have completed yard skills training and passed a company-
administered knowledge test.

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

     Each driver covered by the exemption must maintain a valid 
CLP and not be subject to an OOS order or loss of driving privileges;
     Each driver must meet all of FMCSA's physical 
qualifications requirements under 49 CFR part 391;
     Each driver with a CLP must receive a minimum of 80 hours 
of training administered by UPS. The training must include at least 15 
hours of classroom instruction, 18 hours of one-on-one field 
instruction focused on coupling and uncoupling doubles equipment, and 
45 hours of individual on-road instruction operating doubles equipment 
on a public roadway;
     Drivers must successfully achieve a score of at least 80% 
on a UPS-administered written knowledge test similar in content to that 
which would be administered by the State pursuant to 49 CFR 383.115, 
before beginning BTW skills training in doubles;
     Doubles skills training for CLP holders will start in 
empty vehicles in a closed yard before moving to a public roadway;
     During all BTW training, driver-trainees will be under the 
direct supervision of a Class A CDL holder with a double/triple 
endorsement who has been certified as an instructor by UPS through an 8 
week training program and is recertified every 90 days and who meets 
the qualifications in the definition of ``BTW instructor'' in 49 CFR 
380.605;
     UPS will maintain a ``satisfactory'' safety rating 
assigned by FMCSA under the procedures in 49 CFR part 385; and
     Each driver must have a copy of this notice in his or her 
possession while operating under the terms of the exemptions. This 
notice serves as the exemption document and must be presented to law 
enforcement officials upon request.

Preemption

    During the period these exemptions are in effect; no State may 
enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent 
with the exemptions with respect to a person or entity operating under 
the exemptions (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)).

FMCSA Accident Notification

    UPS must notify FMCSA immediately of any accidents (as defined by 
49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of its CMVs while 
utilizing these exemptions. The notification must be by email to 
[email protected], and include the following information:
    a. Exemption Identifier: ``UPS'';
    b. Date of the accident;
    c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
which is closest to the scene of the accident;
    d. Driver's name and driver's license number;
    e. Co-driver's name and driver's license State, number, and class;

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    f. Vehicle company number and power unit license plate State and 
number;
    g. Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
    h. Number of fatalities;
    i. The police-reported cause of the accident;
    j. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
or motor carrier safety regulations; and
    k. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV 
driver at the time of the accident.

Termination

    The FMCSA does not believe the CLP holders covered by the 
exemptions will experience any deterioration of their safety record. 
However, should this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to 
protect the public interest, including revocation of these exemptions. 
The FMCSA will immediately revoke these exemptions for failure to 
comply with the terms and conditions set forth above.

Robin Hutcheson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2022-20968 Filed 9-27-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P