Postal Service "Million-Mile' Drivers Deliver Driving Tips for Memorial Day Weekend
Since 2005, 7,065 postal professionals have each driven more than a million miles without a single accident through 2011.
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. They include:
- 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 cellphones or texting.
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 through 2011. Reaching this pinnacle requires 30 years of service and a safe attitude.
Tips from a few Million Milers:
- For Orchard Park, N.Y., city carrier Nancy Pillard, safety starts before she 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, Ohio-based letter carrier Pat Betts has driven 34 years without a preventable 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. I use my turn signals. You just have to pay attention at all times, and a little luck helps too.”
- Orchard Park, N.Y., city carrier Ron Reukauf started his postal career in 1978 and 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,” Reukauf said. “They are: ‘expect the unexpected; any distraction can put you in traction; and safety first, never last. Have a future, not a past.’”
- Norway, S.C., rural carrier Dwain Fogle has driven 32 years with a perfect driving safety record. He delivers to 452 boxes along 92.5 miles of highway and 35 miles of dirt roads in his right-hand drive jeep. “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,” Dwain said.
Driving for the Postal Service requires that 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, the Postal Service said.
After a review of state driving records, candidates undergo a 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 teaches candidates how to drive 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.