Hear from a few of those remarkable drivers who have reached at least 25 years without an avoidable accident.
Behind the wheel, an accident can happen in a second. Maybe a distracted driver runs a stop sign, or you're blinded by the sun's glare, or you misjudge a safe stopping distance. But for an elite group of UPS drivers, accidents don't happen in a second – or over a quarter century (for what equates to 788,400,000 seconds!). These drivers are members of UPS's Circle of Honor, a distinguished class of individuals who have not had an avoidable accident in 25 years or longer.
"Drive like it's your family out there. Respect is the key to safe driving."
– Charlie Obergfoll
In 2016, 1,575 drivers joined the UPS Circle of Honor. They are the largest group of safe drivers to reach this milestone in UPS's 109-year history, and they bring the Circle of Honor's total membership to 9,349 – nearly 10 percent of all UPS drivers.
These drivers point to UPS's focus on safety as a key to their success behind the wheel. Before ever making a delivery, UPS drivers learn safe driving methods through the company's defensive driving platform. The rigorous safety raining continues throughout their careers.
Taking safe driving personally
Trained drivers know to watch for challenges such as distracted drivers and weather hazards, staying focused on what's ahead. They keep their eyes moving to track changing conditions and hazards. They try tomaintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
"We talk about safety every day. You've got to take it personally. Tomorrow is not promised to you," says Juan Hargraves, a driver based in Petersburg, Va., and a 2016 honoree.
Driver Charlie Obergfoll, an honoree based in Orange Park, Fla., agrees. "Safety has to be your No. 1 bedrock foundation. Once you get that, then you won't drive a car with bad tires. You won't speed or cut people off," he says. "Drive like it's your family out there. Respect is the key to safe driving."
Circle of Honor driver Danny Kaminski met UPS founder and then-CEO Jim Casey in the 1960s. Kaminski, based in Meadowlands, N.J., recalls how his encounters with Casey made an impression on his UPS driving career, now 50 years long. "Jim told me, ‘There is no greater concern to me than the safety of our people and the general public.' And I took that to heart." Kaminski has been a member of the Circle of Honor for 43 years.
The first French inductee into an elite roster
This year, for the first time, a driver from France – Patrick David – joins the circle. He delivers packages in Chilly-Mazarin, a traffic-laden Paris suburb. "Driving in the area south of Paris is a unique situation because there are so many people," he says. "For me, it's quite simple: I drive safely to avoid accidents and to be able to come home and see my family every night."
Tom Camp of Livonia, Mich., continues his run as UPS's longest-tenured safe driver. He has driven for 54 years and delivered more than 5 million packages without an accident.
Of all Circle of Honor members, 576 have been accident-free for 35 or more years, 91 have gone more than 40 years, and 10 drivers have topped the 45-year mark.