Program Spotlight Apr 17

Safer Roads  Program Spotlight: UPS Road Code

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor partnered with UPS in 2016 to deliver the UPS Road Code program. UPS Road Code is a driver and passenger car safety training program based on the same safety training used with UPS’s own drivers. Local UPS employees serving as volunteer instructors teach UPS Road Code’s safe driving techniques to help teens “Drive Change.” The program focuses on safety principles, from basic instruction to the consequences of risky behaviors such as talking on cell phones, texting, or drinking while driving. 

UPS Road Code’s computer driving simulators test teens’ safe driving abilities with a realistic steering wheel and life-like gas and brake pedals to respond to a variety of road conditions and driver distractions. UPS Road Code is available free of charge to Club members.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three teenage deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each day, more than eight people are killed and some 1,100 people are injured in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). In contrast, UPS’s 103,000 drivers worldwide are among the safest on the roads, logging more than three billion miles per year. More than 8,700 UPS drivers have qualified for the company’s elite Circle of Honor, which recognizes drivers who have had no avoidable accidents in 25 years.

As we enter the second quarter of UPS Road Code this year, over 100 teens who successfully completed the program have become the catalysts for recruitment of new teens to participate. Even more, safe driving has become a regular topic of conversation for Club members. “You can tell by the look in their eyes they are getting it,” said Bruce Benson, Sports and Recreation Coordinator. “It's changing their mindset but it can potentially change this community.”
UPS Manager Brian Edick serves as the Lead Facilitator of the Road Code program. His knowledge of the business and insight into teen drivers’ safety continues to play a pivotal part in the development of the program at the Club. Brian teaches members about both the joys and dangers of driving. Recently, he told the teens a story about one of his driver's vehicles flipping, due to no fault of the driver. To conclude the lesson, he told members, “Defensive driving is crucial to being a safe driver. You would be surprised how many people pull out in the intersection and don't look both ways, failing to see the big brown truck." Brian has a young teen driver at home, so he a unique insight into the needs of members. 

The UPS Road Code program continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of members and the community. The Clubs and UPS are now discussing individual ride-alongs with UPS drivers, as well as qualifying for part-time summer jobs. 

Every session, the program has a profound impact on the teens. “I like the simulator because it helps me to be prepared to drive a real car,” said 15-year-old Jaquavion. His peer Lawrence said, “The program is great because it taught me to stand up to my mom and let her know to slow down because my life matters.”
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