U.S. Postal Service 'Million Mile Drivers' Offer Safe Driving Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

Thousands of Postal Service Drivers Surpass Accident-Free Million-Mile Marker

May 27, 2013, 08:00 ET from U.S. Postal Service

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The thousands of Postal Service employees who have individually driven more than a million, accident-free miles are delivering safety tips to Americans hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend.

WASHINGTON , May 24, 2013

  • Drive defensively — expect the unexpected.
  • Maintain a safe distance of one car length for every 10 mph between you and the car in front of you.
  • Be courteous, use turn signals and obey all laws.
  • Keep your options open — have a "what to do if I'm cut off" strategy.
  • Turn off mobile devices when driving — no cell phones or texting.

How do they do it?

"Safe driving is no accident," said U.S. Postal Service Safety and Health Director Linda DeCarlo. "The safety of our employees is our top priority, and we are proud our comprehensive safe driver training program is second to none."

According to the National Safety Council, more than 9,300 Postal Service employees have achieved a distinction most people never approach in their lifetimes — driving more than a million, accident-free miles. No other business comes close.

The nation's 31,000 plus Post Offices are linked by nearly 214,000 vehicles — the world's largest civilian fleet. More than 300,000 letter carriers and truck drivers log more than 1.2 billion miles annually when delivering to America's 151.5 million addresses. 

Since 2005, 9,385 Postal Service professionals have each driven more than a million miles without a single accident. Reaching this pinnacle requires a safe attitude that entails driving 1 million miles or 30 years without a preventable incident.

Tips from a few Million Milers

  • For Orchard Park, NY, City Carrier Nancy Pillard, with almost 34 years on the job, safety starts before she even takes to the streets. "I make sure my vehicle is in complete operative condition every day," she said. "I identify and report repair work for lights, tires, wipers and mirrors, and I then make sure that the repairs are done ASAP."
  • Akron, OH, Five Points Station Letter Carrier Pat Betts has driven nearly 35 years without a motor vehicle accident. "I've learned to slow down with my driving as I have senior citizens on my route and businesses that generate a lot of traffic," said Betts. "I use my turn signals — even in parking lots which are inherently unsafe."
  • Orchard Park, NY Letter Carrier Ron Reukauf started his postal career in 1978, but also has a few years of personal driving under his seat belt. More than 40 years of driving experience has provided him with some sound practices and wisdom. "I've found myself adopting three theories on safety which have helped me so far," said Reukauf. "They are: 'Expect the unexpected;' 'Any distraction can put you in traction;' and 'Safety first, never last. Have a future, not a past."
  • Norway, SC, Rural Carrier, Dwain Fogle has driven 33 years with a perfect driving safety record — just like his father. Bryan Fogle, Dwain's dad, delivered mail in Neeses and Orangeburg, SC, during his 41-year career. He earned the award before retiring in 1998. Dwain delivers to 452 mail boxes along 92.5 miles of highway and 35 miles of dirt roads in his right-hand drive jeep. Dwain credits his dad with teaching him to be respectful of others.  "I was taught as a child to be courteous. I think being courteous to each other is the main thing when you're on the road," he said.

Safe Driving Habits Start With Good Training

Driving for the Postal Service is a privilege. All drivers must demonstrate safe-driving practices throughout their careers. Behind-the-wheel job candidates undergo a rigorous screening, training and certification process to earn credentials to operate a right-hand drive postal vehicle.

After a review of state driving records, candidates undergo a thorough medical examination and an extensive interview process. They then take a web-based 4-hour defensive driving training course, followed by a 1-hour defensive driving debrief conducted by driver safety instructors who reinforce key safe-driving topics covered in the web-based course.

Candidates then become familiar with the vehicle through behind-the-wheel training on a mock driving course. The skills course acclimates candidates to driving postal vehicles under various conditions on an 'off-road' course that simulates street conditions. Their performance is evaluated on a final drive prior to becoming certified to operate Postal Service vehicles.

Information on the National Safety Council's Safe Driver Program is located at www.nsc.org/usps. Questions can be directed to National Safety Council Customer Relations at 1-800-621-7619 or uspsawards@nsc.org.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 152 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With more than 31,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private-sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 42nd in the 2012 Fortune 500. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for seven years and the fourth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

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SOURCE U.S. Postal Service