Why UPS Drivers Never Turn Left

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UPS routes package deliveries so that drivers will never turn left. On a two-way street you will see UPS drivers on both sides and both will only be making right hand turns.

UPS Senior Vice President Bob Stoffel, in an exclusive interview with Fortune, explained the two reasons behind this practice: safety and time. In business, both safety and time impact the bottom line. Listen up. This could also become a best practice for your business or your personal driving.

The safety part is obvious since, by their nature, left-hand turns are tricky. As you know from your grandparents who are still driving, the aging are often advised to only make right turns. The reality is that many car accidents start with a left turn. After that initial decision to "take a left," lots of things can go very wrong. In fact, left-hand turns are so inherently problematic, points out Tacoma, Wash., attorney Michael Myers, that in his state, there is a specific jury instruction devoted to them.

The second part -- time -- costs money, both in driver productivity and fuel use. The time waiting to execute a left hand turn also increases CO2 emissions. This has been proved out by UPS researchers using software models. Left turns can be avoided by simply routing packages so that they can be delivered by drivers only making right turns. Fortunately, this can be done very efficiently. In 2009, UPS routing software eliminated 20.4 million miles off routes. It also downsized CO2 emissions by 20,000 metric tons.

Does mandating "no left turns" sound like a great idea for your own company? Your own driving? Maybe some out-of-the-box insurance company will lower your rate for this pledge to only "do right."

Filed under: Employment News

Jane Genova


Jane Genova http://janegenova.com began focusing on transitions when the academic market collapsed as she was writing her dissertation in linguistics and literature at the University of Michigan.  After re-establishing herself in the public relations industry, she gradually published on the subject.  Her first piece was on The Professional Woman in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Since then, she co-authored the book THE CRITICAL 14 YEARS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE and myriad e-books and articles on career subjects ranging from emotional intelligence to aging.  In the 1980s she attempted another change by attending Harvard Law School.  She didn’t complete the degree but channeled that experience into maintaining a legal blog [http://lawandmore.typepad.com] housed at the Library of Congress.

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