Fifteen years ago, in 2004, UPS made a striking change to their driver policies. Drivers would no longer make left turns. This policy is still in place today.
While there are some rare cases in which drivers have no other options, they are told to always seek a route that avoids left turns. They even do this if it means making three right turns to get to the proper destination.
Why the change? There are a few reasons. A main reason is efficiency. UPS did not like having drivers sitting in traffic, waiting to turn left. With thousands of trucks doing it every day, that amounted to hours and hours of wasted time. By telling drivers to turn right instead, they avoided that issue and used time more effectively.
On top of that, they noted that it was more environmentally-friendly to avoid left-hand turns. After all, those trucks waiting to turn were still creating emissions.
Finally, safety came into the picture. There were a “disproportionate number of accidents” when trucks attempted to turn left. The risk of crossing that other lane was too great. A single accident could injure the driver, result in a lawsuit, damage the truck and delay shipments. It also meant other vehicles had to pick up the slack. It was more effective to just avoid left turns entirely so as to cut back on accidents.
Not all trucking companies and commercial vehicles follow these same rules, and they cause extra accidents because of it. If you get injured in an accident, you need to know what legal steps to take.