On Friday, when UPS tractor-trailer driver Ginny Odom completed her usual 650-mile route towing twin 28-foot trailers from Orlando to Unadilla, Ga., and back, she became the first female UPS driver in history to drive 40 years and more than 4 million miles without so much as a fender bender.
Odom was 23 and working at a boat store in Orlando when she applied for a driver job at UPS in 1973. She was the first female employee at UPS's Orlando hub, and drove the company's brown delivery trucks for nine years before moving to tractor trailers.
Odom is the top female driver in UPS's elite Circle of Honor, which recognizes drivers who have avoided accidents for 25 years or more. She's one of only 42 active UPS drivers to reach 40 years without an accident, out of the company's 102,000 drivers worldwide. Not bad for a farm kid from Rutledge, Tenn., who mastered the clutch on a John Deere tractor when she was 12.
Virginia Hooper of Atmoore, Alabama, is UPS's next safest female driver, with 36 years of safe driving.
Globally, 7,221 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor.
UPS invested $175 million in 2013 on safety training and employs its own comprehensive driving course called "Space and Visibility." All UPS drivers are taught safe driving methods beginning the first day of classroom training through the company's defensive driving platform. The training continues throughout their careers.