Atlanta, GA — UPS, which operates one of the largest commercial trucking fleets in the country, is equipping more than 5,700 of its existing Class 8 tractors with advanced collision mitigation technology. The technology alerts drivers to moving and stationary objects in front of the tractor and moving objects surrounding the vehicle.
More than 60 percent of UPS’s Class 8 tractor fleet, or more than 11,000 vehicles, will feature collision mitigation technology once the project is complete. Every new Class 8 tractor that UPS has purchased since June 2015 includes the technology, which provides blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, electronic stability control, and forward collision warning with automatic brake application. Driver assistance technologies complement safe driving practices.
“UPS has some of the safest drivers on the road, and some of our best drivers have told us that collision mitigation systems help make them even better drivers,” said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS. “This investment is indicative of UPS’s commitment to the safety of our employees, their families, our customers and the motoring public.”
UPS’s 102,000 drivers worldwide log more than 3 billion miles and deliver nearly 5 billion packages each year. Before ever making a delivery, all UPS drivers are taught safe driving methods through the company’s defensive driving platform. The training continues throughout their careers.
“Driving conditions can change quickly. Collision mitigation technology is like an extra set of eyes that helps you make decisions more quickly, especially when you’re driving in rain or fog,” said Lexington, Ky., based UPS driver Dale Brenaman, who won the 2017 Kentucky State Truck Driving Championship and placed third in the 2017 National Truck Driving Championship for precision driving.
The collision mitigation system supplements the vehicles’ current safety technology package by adding features including adaptive cruise control, which helps the driver maintain a constant distance behind the vehicle in front of the UPS tractor. With the adaptive cruise control turned on, the UPS tractor will automatically slow to help the driver mitigate a collision. Secondary benefits include reducing the accordion effect caused by traffic and, from that, enhanced fuel economy. The UPS tractors that will receive the new systems were selected based on the collision mitigation system’s compatibility with the vehicles’ powertrain and existing safety systems.
“As truck drivers, we all know the right side of our vehicle is our largest blind spot. Now we have technology that watches this every second of the day. Initially, I thought the blind spot alarms would be an annoyance, but now that I’ve driven with this technology I’ve become a believer,” said John McKown, UPS Freight driver and American Trucking Association’s America’s Road Team Captain from East Berlin, Penn. “Words can’t describe how much I appreciate UPS’s commitment to safety and investing in this technology. It gives me goose bumps.”
Nearly 10 percent of UPS’s drivers, more than 9,349, have gone 25 years or more without a preventable accident. Training is the key to that record. At UPS driver training locations, future delivery drivers and tractor-trailer professionals learn safe driving methods that include experiential “hands-on” training and new technologies such as virtual reality. These drivers have logged more than 14 billion miles and more than 266,554 years of safe driving through their careers. That’s enough miles to travel to the moon and back nearly 29,000 times.