Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

FedEx and all of us


Photo credit Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Photo credit Wyoming Tribune Eagle

In Wyoming last Saturday three innocent people died when a FedEx truck crossed the median and hit their minivan.    While the initial story indicated two people in the van died, a subsequent article, which describes those killed as involved in their community, shared the sad news that a third person, the son of the woman, died as well.

Does this sound familiar?

I bet most of us have forgotten all about the crash last spring in California where a FedEx truck crossed the median and hit a tour bus filled with college students.  At least ten were killed including both drivers.  The NTSB still hasn’t issued a report telling us what caused that crash, though they shared a report earlier on the sequence of events.  And at the time there were lots of heartbreaking stories about the individuals who were killed and injured and how they and their families were coping.  When ten people are killed in a senseless crash in California it’s a big story. But still, we all forget as soon as the next big story comes along.

It’s inevitable.

Internet photo by Lockett

Internet photo by  Jeremy Lockett

So when only three people die in a remote state like Wyoming there’s little press.  Not so much national coverage.  It’s not headline news.  And when one person dies here, another one there, over time and across 50 states, no one notices at all.

Except those of us that have been there.

And when it’s the same company that has killed innocents we sit up and take extra notice.  FedEx warrants some of our attention, some research.  I know people will say that it’s early and we don’t know the cause of this latest crash in Wyoming.  That we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  But it has been proven that a driver involved in one crash, regardless of fault, has a bigger probability of being involved in another.  Logically that is because a person involved in a crash, even one not their fault, may be a less observant driver, perhaps not as defensive, as someone paying more attention who might have been able to avert disaster given the same circumstances.   I can extrapolate on this theory to assume that a company that has been involved in one fatal crash has a larger probability of being involved in another fatal crash, perhaps due to the culture of the organization.

What’s the culture at FedEx?

I’m not the only one wondering what’s going on.  Turns out others are investigating their safety record.  And included in the article are some numbers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration comparing FedEx and other carriers.  Notice the 3.8 crashes per 100 drivers for FedEx compared to 1.74 crashes per 100 drivers for UPS.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it.  And don’t you doubly wonder when you realize that FedEx is one of the large shippers lobbying hard to get longer and heavier trucks approved to travel on all our roads?

The holiday season is upon us.  More and more packages will be shipped and companies like FedEx will be busier and under more stress to get your baubles and gifts shipped faster then ever.  We all leave holiday shopping to the last minute.  We all want instant gratification.  We all want that next day delivery.  And so we all contribute to the culture of pushing drivers to go faster and further just to make our dreams come true.

Let’s just stop.

Let’s shop locally.  And early.  Or send gift cards from your family’s favorite local store.  Let’s not demand instant delivery.  Let’s spend more time with our families and less time shopping.  And while we’re doing that let’s remember the families and survivors of the crashes in California and Wyoming, and all the other crash victims we haven’t even heard about.  Let’s remember that they are going to face their first holidays in what is their new normal.  Let’s be thankful for what we have while we remember those we’ve lost.  Let’s never stop working toward fixing this problem, investigating those responsible, and supporting those hurting.  Let’s not forget.  Ever.

And maybe, just maybe, let’s not use FedEx until they can understand that profit over safety is unsustainable.



Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

14 thoughts on “FedEx and all of us

  1. Well written. I’ve never understood how it is truckers are expected to remain awake and alert when working so many hours straight. It’s a perfect storm in the making.


  2. Frightening. Sad. Horrifying. Frustrating. The accidents and the fact that it’s the voices with cash behind them that are the voices our government hears.

    Sent from my iPad



  3. I will understand human reasoning – when you consider how many people die every single day in car and truck accidents and hardly any of them get a mention and yet a plane crashes and kills 20 and suddenly the whole aviation industry is drawn over the coals and scrutinized for days. People still have more fear of dying in a plane crash then being killed on the roads even though the odds of a car accident are astronomically so much higher.


  4. Here’s part of the culture, Dawn:

    I agree with you, too, that there’s very rarely a need for overnight delivery. But I hadn’t forgotten the crash last spring in California. In fact, at first I thought you were referring to that one, not a more recent tragedy. Sigh!


  5. Yes, please. Let’s just stop. The piggy-backed FedEx trucks on I-80 and on the PA turnpike have always given me the heebie-jeebies, especially when there are high winds and you can see the back trailer swaying all over the place.

    Well written, Dawn. Thank you.


  6. Thats a good point to shop locally.


  7. Profit over safety is not only unsustainable, it’s morally WRONG. Thanks for pointing it out, Dawn!


  8. You are abspawlootly correct. That accident rate is far to high.


  9. I don’t need anything overnight. Any boxes I need to send will go UPS.
    Is Robin talking about tandem trucks or triples? I don’t like them either. I’ve shared the Ohio turnpike with them and been very uncomfortable!


    • I think Robin was talking about doubles. Even on those the back trailer weaves around. Triples are even worse of course. She lives out east, so it’s possible she does have triples there.


  10. So sad. I don’t do over night or any quick delivery because frankly it’s just to expensive. But now I know another reason not to quick delivery, FedEx should be ashamed of themselves .


  11. Thank you everyone, for your support!


  12. This entire article is written off observations with little research. Truck drivers (as long as they are legal citizens) have very strict regulations to follow as far as hours per day with required break periods. A large company such as fedex isn’t going to bend these rules with as many trucks as they have on the road. Anyone who thinks about this for a second would know that once a FedEx driver is pulled over with too many hours on their log book they are going to begin keeping a closer eye on that fleet and that’s going to start hurting their wallet.
    Another little stab of research would show you that UPS spent millions of dollars developing their own navigation system for their routes. One look at the system and you will notice that the routes mainly focus on right hand turns, which are safe for large vehicles and eliminates waiting for a left turn and crossing traffic. Also bringing crash reports lower.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s