Record Group of Drivers Joins UPS “Circle of Honor”

Atlanta, February 08, 2011

5,248 Drivers Have Gone 25 Years or More Without Accident; 2011 International Class Also Largest Ever

UPS (NYSE: UPS) today announced the induction of 1,122 drivers into its elite “Circle of Honor,” raising to 5,248 the number of active drivers who have steered clear of accidents for 25 years or more.

The number of new inductees is the largest for any single year in the company’s history – up 21 percent from last year – and includes the first three from Puerto Rico. UPS began service in that U.S. territory in 1985. In addition, 11 inductees from Germany and seven from Canada make this year’s international class the largest to date.

Collectively, the 5,248 drivers have logged more than 5 billion miles and more than 147,244 years of safe driving through their careers. That’s enough miles to circle the earth 188,000 times.

“I congratulate the 5,248 UPS drivers who have achieved such an exemplary safety record over the course of 25 years,” said U.S. Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I also want to commend UPS for placing such a high priority on public safety and the safety of its employees.”

Of the Circle of Honor members, 283 have been accident-free for 35 or more years, with 27 of those having driven more than 40 years without an accident. UPS’s top safe driver in 2010 is Ohio Valley District tractor-trailer driver Ron “Big Dog” Sowder, who has achieved 49 years and 4 million miles of driving without an accident.

“It’s an honor to lead this remarkable group of seasoned safe drivers,” said Sowder. “I’m not ready to stop just yet – 50 years without an accident has a nice ring to it.”

Last year, UPS implemented a ban within its organization on text and e-mail messaging while behind the wheel, a proven cause of traffic crashes. “Our training and our drivers’ attention to details such as avoiding distractions while driving all play a part in their remarkable record,” said Debbie Gehricke, UPS’s corporate health and safety manager. “The Circle of Honor is a testament to the daily dedication that our drivers display in keeping the roads a safe place for everyone.”

This year, 14 female drivers have joined the ranks of those with more than 30 years of safe driving. This group is led by Orlando tractor-trailer driver Ginny Odom, who is credited with 36 years and more than 3 million miles without an accident.

UPS’s 102,000 drivers worldwide are among the safest on the roads, logging more than 3 billion miles per year with less than one accident per million miles driven.

“We salute Ron Sowder and the other UPS Circle of Honor drivers,” said C. Christopher Patton, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers. “What Sowder has done, driving 49 years without an accident, is an amazing feat and one that should be recognized worldwide. ASSE members continue to work every day at preventing workplace injuries, especially those that occur on the roads, as roadway incidents are the No. 1 cause of on-the-job deaths. Because of people like Sowder and the UPS Circle of Honor drivers, our roads are safer, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.”

All UPS drivers are taught safe driving methods beginning on the first day of classroom training, including the company’s comprehensive safety course, “Space and Visibility.” The training continues throughout their careers.

More information on UPS’s commitment to safety is available at

Video b-roll and a complete list by state of new Circle of Honor inductees can be found at the following link:


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