If you’re ever driving behind a UPS truck, you may notice that the driver of the truck will not take any left turns.
The reason why UPS trucks don’t turn left is become the company has found that avoiding these turns can save millions of gallons of gasoline, and benefit the environment by lower emissions.
The company started the practice in the 1970s, prior to the invention of GPS and computers, and it now uses sophisticated software to plot the best route for each delivery truck.
UPS officials have found that not only are left turns not fuel efficient, they also cause delivery trucks to sit in traffic for a longer period of time, which can affect engine performance.
While UPS does not officially ban its drivers from making left turns, it does ensure that the route to each delivery minimizes as many left turns as possible.
The computer software will simply eliminate unnecessary left turns in favor of right turns that will allow drivers to make delivers more efficiently. That doesn’t mean that UPS drivers never make left turns, they just make far fewer than other commercial trucks.
UPS’ proprietary maps are more accurate than commercially available ones. The system knows about parking lots, private driveways, variable speed limits and roads that are inaccessible for a truck.(2)
With more than 18 million deliveries each day in the U.S., UPS officials said the no left-turn policy saves the company between $300 to $400 million each year when gasoline, salaries and vehicle running costs are tallied.
In addition, UPS lowers its emissions by 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is the same as taking 21,000 cars off the road.
“UPS took the initiative to minimize left turns,” stated Dallas Truck Wreck Attorney Amy Witherite, partner at Eberstein Witherite, LLP. “It developed its maps to eliminate as many left turns as possible, and in the process it lowered the chances for truck accidents, and saved millions. When safety also provides benefits to the bottom line, truck carriers are more incentivized to pursue innovative methods to lower accident rates.”