He may be the safest driver on the road.
United Parcel Service driver Ronald Sowder has driven his big brown truck the equivalent of six round trips to the moon, amazingly without a single auto accident.
He reached the remarkable milestone of 4 million miles of safe driving this past January as he entered his 49th year as a UPS driver in Ohio.
"I think there are three keys: stay alert, keep a positive attitude on the road, and exercise your skills" Sowder said.
Sowder, 67, who fellow drivers affectionately call "Big Dog," is the most senior safe driver among UPS’s 102,000 drivers worldwide, who themselves are among the safest on the roads, averaging less than one accident per million miles driven, says the company. Only one other driver has equaled Sowder’s mark in the company's 100-year history.
He attributes his clean record to being cautious saying, "you have to be a defensive driver. You have to be able to compensate for other people's mistakes and expect the unexpected. You can't drive too close. I don't like to be in a pack."
Sowder was one of 1,122 drivers inducted into UPS’s elite "Circle of Honor" this year. The award goes to active drivers who have steered clear of accidents for 25 years or more.
Sowder began his career in the brown uniform right out of the Navy. He spent his first 16 years in Dayton, Ohio making deliveries in one of UPS's original brown package cars before switching over to "feeders," as the big tractor trailers are known. He drives a 312-mile route from West Carrollton, Ohio, to Louisville and back 5 days a week.
He credits the “space and visibility” on the job training all UPS drivers are required to take for keeping the roads he travels safe.