TORONTO, Ont. – Ask drivers where they hate driving in Southern Ontario and they’ll probably tell you it’s Toronto.
With its crowded roadways and sometimes careless drivers the area can be a minefield, but in the nearly three decades of moving through Toronto traffic Edward Joseph hasn’t had a single at-fault accident.
Joseph drives a “feeder” truck for UPS – a Class 8 carrying packages to distribution centers before they head out for delivery. He was one of 19 Southern Ontario drivers inducted into the 2018 Circle of Honor June 20.
The award is given to drivers for the package delivery company that can boast 25 consecutive years or more with no at-fault accidents.
Joseph says he owes his clean driving record to the culture at UPS Canada that encourages and rewards employees for safe behaviors.
“You have to rely on your training and with UPS safety habits is tops in the industry. You not only have to look out for yourself but look out for the general public.”
Joseph started at UPS more than 27 years ago after leaving a job at Pearson International Airport. He started with smaller package cars but moved into tractors-trailers which he says he’s hooked on.
“In the corporate world everybody aspires to have that corporate office. I say driving transport, on the highway, on a beautiful day, it’s the ultimate corner office. The scenery changes by the second.”
In addition to being recognized for his 30 years collision-free driving with UPS, feeder-driver Todd Shepley was given the Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year Award.
The award is given out by the National Safety Council in the U.S. to nominated North American drivers who have had 15 consecutive years or 250,000 consecutive miles (about 402,000 kms) without a collision.
Shepley will travel to the U.S. in October to be celebrated with other Kaplan award winners and nominees.
Feeder division manager Derek Venman says watching drivers under his supervision get recognized for their safety and accomplishments feels good.
“It’s a proud moment for all of us. We’re really just so happy that they can go out there, get a job done, and keep the community safe while being a great professional,” he said.
Newly elected MPP Michael Tibollo from the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge was also on-hand to congratulate the honorees.
“I started off as a kid working in the construction industry, so I know what it’s like to get up at six o’clock in the morning and put in a hard day’s work,” he said. “They’re obviously passionate about their work, they care what their job is, and it shows on the road. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a UPS vehicle stopped at the side of the road.”
Although the MPP wouldn’t comment on his own collision record, he said spending a few hours each day on the road (to commute) doesn’t compare to the eight or more hours each UPS delivery driver spends on the streets.
“To me it’s outstanding that that dedication is there. It demonstrates something to me that if a company instills principles into their employees you can go accident free because you create the environment where people feel it’s an important part of their job.”
Tibollo says he hopes to be named to the position of Minister of Transportation when the new Ontario cabinet is announced June 29, and it is already thinking about how to make improvements to transit and reduce congestion in the GTA.
Other drivers inducted into the Circle of Honor for 2018 include Dave Mcneillie, John Decesare, Ronald Ryce, Stephen Ashbee, David Mundy, Tyrone Lynch, and Patrick Furlong for 25 years with no at-fault accidents. Roy Burton, Brian Groves, Clyde Gooding, Donald Wenner, Jim Pilcher, and William McKellar were recognized in the 30-year category, and in the 35-year group Monty Yip, Carl Grech, Kevin Richardson, and Frank Jarvis were honored.
After the induction ceremony, which takes place each year at a drivers’ morning meeting, new members of the Circle of Honor attend a Blue Jays game wearing personalized jerseys.
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