For context: after 42 years of rocketing into space, the Earth’s most far-flung spaceship, the Voyager 1 space probe, has traveled almost 15 billion miles. Almost. Voyager is traveling over 38,000 miles per hour; it streaked past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune years ago and has been in interstellar space for 7.5 years.
Fifteen billion miles is enough for nearly three round trips to Neptune, the farthest planet in our solar system, or over 200 round trips to Mars. It’s enough to circle the earth at the equator about 600,000 times. It would take the average driver over a million years to drive that many miles, and in that time he or she would have over 55,000 accidents.
UPS announced the induction of 1,316 men and women into this elite group of UPS drivers who have not had an avoidable accident for 25 years or more. With those new inductees, the Circle of Honor now includes 10,411 of UPS’s active brown-clad drivers.
Collectively, these drivers have achieved more than 280,969 years of safe driving throughout their careers. That’s enough time behind the wheel to drive non-stop from Miami to San Diego – over 65 million times. And they’ve done it while helping to deliver 3 percent of the world’s GDP – 20 million packages a day.
“My congratulations go out to the thousands of hard working UPS drivers around the world, including those from my home state of Oregon, who not only keep our economy moving but who are also part of an elite group with a remarkable record of decades of safe driving,” said Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “I applaud the commitment to our communities and the safety of our neighbors.”
Along with drivers in all 50 U.S. states, this year’s Circle of Honor includes new members from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In addition to those markets, the list of non-U.S. countries with active Circle of Honor drivers now includes: Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
UPS’s longest-tenured safe driver remains Livonia, Mich., package car driver Tom Camp, who has now driven well over half a century – a remarkable 57 years – and delivered more than 5 million packages without an accident.
“This group has grown in size every year for decades,” said Charlene Thomas, chief human resources officer and senior vice president, global human resources and labor. “That growth is proof that our training is effective and our people’s commitment to excellence is as strong as ever. Congratulations to every Circle of Honor member, and thank you for keeping yourself and the public safe.”
Of all Circle of Honor members, 796 have been accident-free for 35 or more years, with 159 of those having driven more than 40 years without an accident. 23 drivers have eclipsed the 45-year safe driving mark. Four drivers have 50 or more years without an accident.
All new inductees and current members are issued uniform shirts and jackets with a distinctive Circle of Honor patch emblazoned with the milestone number of years of safe driving they’ve achieved. The patch is located on the driver’s left shoulder so it can be seen by other drivers.
The company’s 129,000 small-package drivers worldwide are among the safest on the roads, logging close to 3.5 billion miles per year and delivering 5.5 billion packages annually.
UPS invests more than $200 million in safety training programs annually. Before ever making a delivery, all UPS drivers are taught safe-driving methods through the company’s defensive driving platform. The training continues throughout their careers. The company set an aggressive goal of reducing accident frequencies by 3 percent by the end of 2020 and is making significant progress toward achieving this metric.
The company’s UPS Integrad training school for delivery drivers and Driver Trainer School (DTS) for tractor-trailer instructors boast some of the industry’s most rigorous safety training. Virtual reality technology is now being used at UPS Integrad sites across the country to give students a chance to learn using the most up-to-date methods available.
UPS and The UPS Foundation also support the AIP Foundation’s Safety Delivered program, which works with young, inexperienced motorcycle riders in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and India, to educate and eliminate distracted riding behavior, as well as increase helmet use among children. To date, more than 50,000 helmets have been provided as a result of this support.
UPS extends its safe driving expertise to the communities it serves through UPS Road Code® training, a teen safe driving program available in the United States and internationally. Taught by UPS volunteers, based on the company’s safe-driving methods, the program is available to teens between the ages of 13 and 18 and other novice drivers. To date, more than 76,700 new drivers have participated. The program has been extended to Canada, China, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
UPS Road Code training is offered in the U.S. in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and overseas in six countries with various youth development organizations. The UPS Foundation has contributed nearly $30 million to the UPS Road Code program since its inception.