Science

UPS Drivers Never Turn Left For Fuel Economy and Emission Purposes

By Charles Omedo , Feb 20, 2017 03:46 AM EST
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UPS truck drivers stopped turning left on the road since the 1970s, and even today they still apply that rule wherever possible. The package delivery company justifies this on fuel economy, reduced emission, and reduction in auto accidents. The company now has a software known as Orion which regulates the use of right turns against left turns in pre-planned routes.

Benefits of always turning right to UPS drivers

UPS executives explain that turning left in countries utilizing right-hand driving roads is dangerous since it often leads to crashing into oncoming vehicles. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Association reveals that auto crashes occur 22.2% of times drivers turn left, compared to 1.2% of times they turn right. They also add that 61% of road accidents happen when drivers turn left or cross left intersections as against 3.1% of those for right turns, 5 News Online reports.

So apart from security and the additional fact that turning left is three times most likely to kill pedestrians than right turns, UPS says turning left is also less fuel efficient. Jack Levis, UPS Senior Director of Process Management, said turning right has enabled his company to save between $300-$400 million annually in fuel, wages and vehicle maintenance costs. This he attributes to Orion's ability to analyze 250 million US addresses everyday for product deliveries, and performing 30,000 best routes optimizations per minute.

Is turning right instead of left suitable for everyone?

According to Levis, "We will make left hand turns, but not ones that are unnecessary." He made it clear that UPS truck drivers actually make left hand turns but only for good reasons, because it is not possible to always turn right all day. He said Orion software is able analyze the number of left turns on any routes mapped out for drivers, and highlight those that cannot be utilized in most cases.

Since Google Maps shows the most direct routes to given destinations, this right-turning idea may not work with Google Maps because the concept is not built into it, KRDO clarifies. So this idea seems best for pre-planned routes that delivery trucks use, but the routes of other drivers is very diversified on daily basis. More so, everyone cannot save time and fuel by always turning right because road layouts and constructions change frequently with intersections and roundabouts being added over the years.

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