The Road to Safety

The Road to Safety

As the world’s population grows and cities swell, traffic can become deadly. How can we make the world’s roads safer?

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Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 4:15pm

CAMPAIGN: Thought Leadership

CONTENT: Blog

Eduardo Martinez | The UPS Foundation

Gridlock. Congestion. The cacophony of honking horns. As many city dwellers know, the benefits of living in a metropolis come with the stress of heavy traffic. But it’s more than just a daily grind.

As migration from rural areas increases, crowded cities, especially low-income areas, face higher rates of road traffic injury and death. The statistics are staggering.

Each year, 1.3 million people worldwide die of road traffic injuries, and 50 million are injured. In fact, road traffic incidents are the leading killer of children and young adults aged 5-29, according to the World Health Organization.

The problem could get worse before it gets better. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, a figure that will grow to more than two-thirds by 2050.

If we want safe, resilient cities, we have to make road safety a global priority. And we have to act now.

Bringing road safety expertise to communities worldwide

With 125,000 drivers around the world logging approximately 3 billion miles each year, UPS’s commitment to road safety begins with our own people.

We devote substantial time and resources to ensuring the safety of our employees and our communities. In 2018, UPSers participated in more than 6 million hours of health and safety training, including a mixture of computer simulations, virtual reality and other hands-on instruction.

And through the UPS Circle of Honor program, we recognize UPS drivers who have driven for more than 25 years without an avoidable accident. To date, more than 10,000 drivers have achieved this elite status.

UPS has pioneered one of the industry’s most innovative, hands-on driving schools in the world, UPS Integrad. In 10 locations in the U.S. and facilities in Germany and the U.K., UPS drivers are immersed in a one-week course that teaches through “experiential learning” that emphasizes real-life scenarios —enhanced by virtual reality simulations.

Beyond this, we share our driving expertise to help make the world safer for all drivers and pedestrians. We collaborate with government and nonprofit organizations to help communities deal with some of their biggest road safety needs. And we tailor our efforts to meet the specific needs of each situation.

Committed to more 

As an example, UPS Road Code, a six-hour program based on the same safety training given to UPS drivers, provides real-world driving instruction for novice drivers, especially teens. Our trained UPS employees volunteer their time as Road Code instructors.

Since we launched this program in 2009, in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other organizations, we’ve trained more than 58,000 students in the U.S., China, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., the UAE and Germany.

In Southeast Asia, motor scooters are the main means of transportation. UPS teamed up with the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation) to fund a life-saving initiative called Helmets for Kids in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Wearing a helmet correctly can reduce fatal injuries by 42 percent and reduce head injuries by nearly 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Through charitable contributions from The UPS Foundation, the AIP Foundation program has provided more than 50,000 helmets to young cyclists, and AIP has worked with governments and police to raise awareness about helmet safety.

Based on the success of that program, we’ve committed to provide even more support.

UPS and global organizations, including the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), launched The Global Road Safety Initiative at the World Economic Forum (WEF) earlier this year. The primary focus is on low- and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles but nearly 90 percent of road-related deaths. The pilot project focuses on India, where 10 percent of the world’s traffic fatalities occur.

During the next two years, as part of the Road Safety Initiative, The UPS Foundation will provide more than 2,000 helmets and road safety training to primary school students in high-risk communities in India. The 2,000 scooter drivers receiving the training will then help create a safer environment for the other drivers sharing the road.

Supporting those who deliver relief 

In Africa, as well as other parts of the world, humanitarian relief is often delivered by drivers working for nonprofit organizations who must navigate challenging terrain and difficult road conditions to bring life-saving support to remote communities. Often, the cargo includes emergency relief materials such as food or water or even medical personnel.

Keeping these drivers safe on their mission of relief is obviously critical to their success.

The UPS Foundation supports Fleet Forum, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing safe driving practices to humanitarian relief drivers. The organization provides a forum for collaboration and innovation, allowing UPS and other participating organizations to share expertise and inspiration.

The multiplier effect

Whether it’s supporting global, policy-oriented organizations or grassroots programs focused on local communities, UPS is committed to sharing our safety expertise to make an impact.

By bringing forward the knowledge and experience of our people, our industry alliances and our charitable contributions, we make road safety a shared, global effort.

No single organization can fix this problem alone. If we want high-density cities to provide opportunities, then governments and policymakers, NGOs and the private sector must work together to find solutions to make cities — and the roads in cities — more viable.

Top photo: Safety Delivered volunteers promote child helmet use in Hanoi. [credit: AIP Foundation]