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."

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Conrad Wesley Clough

UPS driver's make left turns (on busy arterial streets no less) in Tacoma all the time. I honeslty think the no left turn thing is nothing but an urban legend.

May 22 2014 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Conrad Wesley Clough

UPS drivers in Tacoma WA make left turns.

May 22 2014 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your answer is incorrect on a number of observations. UPS did not originate this practice. The practice was implemented by the Bell System, not the Big Brown scab company. It has since become an industry standard. No company drivers make only right turns, t his practice is only utilized in high gtraffic areas and only when practical. Like your answer from UPS, All corporate executive answers are B.S. they have no concept of practical application or common sense.

February 17 2012 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is not true. I encountered a UPS driver this morning that made a left turn in front of me and cut me off. One driver I am referring to drove truck I45427. This is in Rocklin, California around 9:30 am, August 3, 2011. He came out of a residential street, did not stop at the stop sign, made his left turn in front of my path, cutting me off, and driving above the speed limit. He is extremely lucky I did not record the incident with my camcorder. Otherwise, I would have posted this incident on the internet to demonstrate how UPS puts driving reckless above safety.

August 03 2011 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lee Harrison

I always thought that was a joke...about UPS not turning left. They do in our Ohio town...but we're so small, we have no traffic. Actually, now that I think of it, I've seen them waiting to turn left in Naples, FL too...so maybe it's a goal rather than a policy?

December 23 2010 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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