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.
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.