Bet you didn't know how UPS trains new drivers


A behind-the-scenes look at an innovative training program that even includes mock towns.

Making sure that shipments get picked up and delivered on time depends largely on skilled, safe drivers. Good driver training is, quite literally, "where the rubber meets the road."

Training uses a mock town like what would be found on a movie set and combines hands-on experience with 3D simulations and classroom instruction.

And UPS sees to it with an innovative driver training program called UPS Integrad®. It includes a mock town like what would be found on a movie set and combines hands-on experience with both 3D simulations and classroom instruction. Trainees are videotaped to show them how they look in action. On-the-spot instructor feedback gets new drivers up to speed.

An in-action real-world simulation

Launched in 2007 at a facility in Landover, Md., the one-week intensive training program expanded to a second facility outside Chicago in 2010. The program has been so successful that UPS is building at least four more regional facilities. The Phoenix location opened in October, and sites in Portland, Ore., Menlo Park, Calif., and Dallas are expected to open in 2015.

The mock town at each site is called "Clarkville" and has houses, street signs, a loading dock and sheds that simulate delivery stops. Would-be drivers practice scanning and delivering packages; the goal is to make about five deliveries within 19 minutes.

Safety is a key ingredient. Driver candidates practice correctly entering or exiting the package car. While they do so, a machine measures pressure on their knees, showing them that using handrails is safer.

Several training aids teach drivers about efficiency and injury prevention – skills that aim to improve safety, efficiency and customer service. For example, a slip-and-fall simulator teaches recruits how to walk across a treated surface that mimics conditions such as ice or grease. Trainees are strapped into a safety harness and practice walking with correct posture to avoid falls.

Friendly and road-ready

In all, trainees are taught hundreds of specific methods and techniques required of UPS drivers to handle the rigors of their physically demanding job. Included are the distinctive "two tap" horn honk (more friendly than leaning on the horn) and the rationale for avoiding unnecessary left-hand turns. (Left turns take more time, use more gas, and expose vehicles to being hit by oncoming traffic. Three right turns are almost always better. Read more here.)

UPS Integrad training goes even further, though. Today's UPS driver candidates come away with a broad knowledge of UPS products and services.

Read real-world stories about UPS safe drivers.


Reader Comments

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Sorry to hear that. My center manager gained my respect the very first day...he was in the trailer showing me how he'd like things put on the rollers. Never spoke down to anyone and was a great guy and then boss. We worked like a well oiled wheel. I moved onto other stuff and left the preload after school...always regret not staying... such great times and great people. UPS does deliver a better service than anyone else.
I retired from UPS in 92. Excellent pay and benefits but i've never hated a job so much. Nothing and I mean nothing mattered other than the almighty dollar. The top man at Tulsa at the time often made the statement "Always assume that a man is lying until he can prove otherwise." To a great extent this attitude trickled down through management. Seemed to make the work environment poor. The job provided my family well but has left many bad memories in my mind.
R Manecke
Frequent deliveries. Friendly courteous drivers. Mostly on time service. Packages arrive in excellent condition. Superior to FedEx and USPS in every category. UPS rocks.
worked @ UPS from 1964-1968.loded my truck in the morning then made 80 deliveries & 40 pickups for a total of 12o stops per day in 8 hrs. rain, snow sleet bitter cold terrible heat. only one driver out of 90 was over 30! Ups worked me like a rented glad to leave there !
James Glenn
I think UPS is the only Company I have seen with Skirts over the wheels of their Trucks to prevent slinging water when you pass them on a wet rainy highway, Thanks UPS for caring.
J. Allen
A UPS driver ran a female jogger over and crushed her skull because he was speeding around a corner. UPS had a truck there in 15 minutes and emptied the truck out to keep delivering packages with the body still on the street. There you go, enough said.
Our current driver is so bad and rude we have all our ups go to our daughter's home. Can't wait till he moves on. Our last one was the best ever, 1 bad driver and I choose any other shipper if I can.
teila day
15mph speed limit is too slow on nearly every street that depicts such. I've owned property on a 15mph street and it was ridiculous. Unless you live on a narrow windy-way in San Francisco, etc. "Small children in the neighborhood" is no excuse for such ridiculous speed limits either because it punishes responsible people for irresponsible parents (many school zones are 25mph in comparison). I say write a letter to your municipality and suggest they raise the speed limit on your street to 25mph... that should take care of the "speeding" issue.
Let's have you do 150+ stops per day at 15mph.
Peggy Chisholm
Not only are my packages delivered on time and in excellent condition; but I, also, consider the driver a friend since I see him in our subdivision quite often.
And....USPS is still losing money. Bad service booted pensions
Richard M.Arnold
UPS drivers are the best of the best. Just wish UPS would stop this silly hand - off to the USPS. OTR drivers are always safe and courteous as well. I use UPS exclusively for all of my shipping needs.
M Kenney
What can brown do for you? Put safety first for all of their drivers and for us! Thank you UPS!
Just because you received a package with a UPS label doesn't necessarily mean UPS delivered it...the US postal service delivers a huge amount of UPS packages.
it was better back in the old days when they had you sign for packages. now days they drop and go and some kid comes along and pick uos and goes and you get nothing for the moment.
terry pratt
Know my driver by name,friendly and most of all ON TIME
Craig H
Our business closes on Christmas Eve, as well as Christmas (no, we are not hiring right now). As luck would have it, I had a package that was due to be delivered that arrived on that day, which has to be one of UPS' busiest. The driver CALLED ME, and wanted to know where he could meet me so I would get my package in time for Christmas. I did not need it, but I was blown away that the guy would take the time to do that. Simply awesome.
Cool Rooster
On top of what others have commented, let me say that out of hundreds of UPS tractor trailers i have seen, not even one of them speed. Always on the right lane obeying the speed limit.
we recieve packages from UPS almost every day. I've never had a bad experience with any of the drivers or their deliveries. I find them all to be careful, courteous, timely, and helpful. The drivers all seem very careful.
As pressed for time as UPS drivers are, my driver, Christian in Warrenville, IL, has always gone out of his way for me. I have physical issues and need help with the packages, which he always provides. He is incredibly kind, and you can tell he has a good heart. Christian is always service with a smile.
UPS drivers in my area go way beyond to make sure we receive our packages. They never leave them in bad weather without being covered in plastic and they always try to leave them in an inconspicious area if we do not answer the door. Thanks UPS!
Wages negotiable ???
My compliments to UPS. Unlike Fedex, UPS almost never fails to deliver a package to my rather remote rural location when there's a change of drivers on the route. I can depend on UPS.
They drive much too fast on our street.
I commend you. I get a lot of UPS deliveries, and every driver has been professional and courteous, both at my work and at home.
Really?...drag racing down your street?..come on now, if you want to be taken seriously, get real!
Hawaii Frout Farmer
Kudos to our UPS driver...he found my house even though I had messed up my house number when I placed an order.
Olivia S
Are drivers taught how to read speed limit signs? My neighborhood is 15 mph and our driver rockets down our street like he's drag racing.
Beverley Hutchins Jordan
Perhaps UPS training sessions should include teaching delivery personnel to read signs and ring door bells. In my Bronx neighborhood, all too often UPS deliveries are not completed satisfactorily. Why cause stress for recipients?
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