By US Daily Review Staff.
The thousands of postal 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.
- 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 do I do if I’m cut off’ strategy.
- Turn off mobile devices when driving — no cell phones or texting.
How do they do it?
“We place the safety of our employees as our top priority,” said Deborah Giannoni-Jackson, vice president, Employee Resource Management. “And we credit our comprehensive safe driver training program as being second to none.”
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 7,100 postal employees have achieved a unique distinction most of us never approach in a lifetime — 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. As one of America’s last vestiges to make house calls, 297,000 letter carriers and truck drivers log more than 1.2 billion miles annually when delivering to America’s 151.5 million addresses.
Since 2005, 7,065 postal professionals have each driven more than a million miles without a single accident thru 2011. Reaching this pinnacle requires 30 years of service and a safe attitude.
Tips from a few Million Milers
- For Orchard Park NY City Carrier Nancy Pillard, with almost 33 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.”
- Five Points Station, Akron, OH, Letter Carrier Pat Betts has driven 34 years without a preventable motor vehicle accident. For his accomplishments, Betts joined the Million Mile Club. “I am proud of this recognition,” Betts said. “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. I use my turn signals. You just have to pay attention at all times, and a little luck helps too.”
- Orchard Park, NY City Carrier Ron Reukauf started his postal carrier in 1978, but also has a few years of personal driving under his seat belt. His 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 32 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 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’ve been 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 that requires all drivers to 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 four-hour defensive driving training course, followed by a one-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 in 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 vehicles.