The Problem with Peloton

It’s not just about UPS Feeders. It’s about every motorist on the road.

Peloton Platooning technology is an electronic tethering concept United Parcel Service and other trucking transportation companies have expressed intent upon incorporating in the future. If you’re unfamiliar, take a look at Peloton’s promo video below.

“UPS wants to implement this plan to save fuel,” says Teamsters Local Union 767 President Brian Perrier, “but it’s really just one step closer to driverless trucks.”

Peloton’s top investors readily agree. Intel Capital’s Automated Driving Divison Vice President, Kathy Winter, characterizes Peloton’s technology as “a key element on the path to fully autonomous driving,” while Omnitracs CEO, John Graham, claims, “We want to expand the possibilities of truck automation on the nation’s highways.” Not surprising, United Parcel Service has invested many millions of dollars into Peloton.

Highway safety and labor advocates in Texas have pointed toward legislation that is prohibitive of Peloton’s program. The Texas AFL-CIO and the Teamsters have taken the position this legislative language must remain unchanged by UPS’s lobbyists in order to further protect the lives of all motorists.

Safety is always the most important factor. UPS Feeder Drivers and Teamsters 767 Business Agents Bobby Jach and Andrew Reddell have reviewed the specs associated with the Peloton plan: “This goes against everything UPS drivers are trained to do. The following distance maintained during platooning is unsafe.” Jach, a UPS Circle of Honor driver agrees, “It’s incredibly dangerous, but that’s just the beginning of the problems we foresee with Peloton.”

At the Teamsters Local 767 General Membership meeting over the weekend, many truck drivers expressed concern about existing issues with other Wingman (Bendix) technology already in use. UPS Driver James Pushala explained, “With the technology these tractors have, if somebody gets too close or cuts you off, it doesn’t slow down nice and easy. It actually jams on the brake, noses over, and you noticeably feel it. It’s not safe. Peloton will not work.” Other senior drivers quickly added, “It’ll throw your co-driver out of the bunk,” and, “It’s a big safety issue. No warnings whatsoever.”

With drivers already battling against the current, less-automated systems that frequently malfunction and cause other concerns, we cannot allow UPS and other companies to create an even more hazardous environment on our Texas highways.

If you’re a 767 Feeder Driver, we’d like to hear about your experiences using the current Wingman (Bendix) system: (a) Have you driven one of these tractors?; (b) Have you experienced a malfunction? Please email your responses to: teamsters@teamsters767.com along with your name and phone number.