Hot wheels

  • Follow Metro

Racy Freemam has worked through some extremely hot days during nearly 30 years as a UPS driver.

UPS driver Racy Freeman checks his side mirror as he pulls away from The Augusta Chronicle loading dock after picking up packages Thursday. Mr. Freeman's UPS truck, like many delivery vehicles, has no air conditioning. But he says that's OK.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
UPS driver Racy Freeman checks his side mirror as he pulls away from The Augusta Chronicle loading dock after picking up packages Thursday. Mr. Freeman's UPS truck, like many delivery vehicles, has no air conditioning. But he says that's OK.

But he said he'll never forget the sweltering heat of this August.

He stays hot because his company's fleet of vehicles does not come equipped with air conditioning.

Ronna Branch, of UPS corporate public relations in Atlanta, said the well-known delivery service has traditionally avoided air conditioning units inside their trucks.

"We're definitely aware of the excess heat that our drivers are exposed to, but the drivers make over 200 stops a day, and having air conditioning (in the trucks) wouldn't have any (positive) effect," she said.

"They have eight-hour shifts, and we'd like for them not to be in hot weather for an extended period of time, and they should park in the shade," she said.

She also said having air conditioning is not cost-effective. It creates maintenance and fuel efficiency issues, she said.

"Because of the nature of the drivers going in and out of the truck, we have to take fuel efficiency into account," Mrs. Branch said. And, to let engines idle while an air conditioner continued to run would create added emissions to the atmosphere and cause strain on batteries, she said. It also creates a safety issue because trucks could be stolen.

Overall, UPS' objective is to deliver packages in a timely, consistent manner - without possible loss of revenue due to broken down vehicles that need additional maintenance, she said.

Meanwhile, some drivers request fans inside their "package cars," she said, while others, like Mr. Freeman, do without fans and air conditioning.

"We're in and out of buildings so much, you don't really need the air conditioning," Mr. Freeman said. "When you go inside these buildings, you try and get as much AC as you can from the offices. You've got the water fountains, and I drink lots of Gatorade," said the south Augusta resident.

Mrs. Branch said the company prohibits drivers from retrofitting trucks with fans, because of safety concerns. Drivers are also advised to wear light clothing, drink lots of fluids and eat a light lunch when temperatures are extremely high.

"We're definitely aware of the excess heat on our drivers and want them to be aware of remaining hydrated and drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water each day," Mrs. Branch said.

At 52, a fit and trim Mr. Freeman gives credit to his high metabolism but adds that he stays in shape by working out at the YMCA and continues to lift weights and do sit-ups.

"I mainly work out to prevent back injuries. That's the most common complaint I hear from many of the drivers," he said.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

OTHER COMPANIES


Do other delivery companies have air-conditioned vehicles for their drivers?


FedEx: No air conditioning.


U.S. Postal Service: No air conditioning.


DHL: Yes, most of its vehicles are late-model vans that are equipped with air conditioning.

Comments (8) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justus4
113
Points
justus4 08/14/07 - 02:36 am
0
0
Good work guy! A good days
Unpublished

Good work guy! A good days work for a good days pay. The job is keeping him fit. And thats a good fit.

sliique
0
Points
sliique 08/14/07 - 07:16 am
0
0
Dash fans, at least! [filtered word]

Dash fans, at least! [filtered word] safety issue is caused by them? Sheesh!!!!!

jumpinpaul
0
Points
jumpinpaul 08/14/07 - 07:24 am
0
0
They may save money on gas,

They may save money on gas, but just one lawsuit from a worker who has heat stroke from the excessive heat will take any money that the company saves.

Venus
0
Points
Venus 08/14/07 - 11:38 am
0
0
Mr. Racy is a wonderful man

Mr. Racy is a wonderful man no matter how hot it is outside he always delivery your packages with a smile. Mr. Racy delivers in the downtown area maybe we all need to offer him something cold to drink at each stop!

420Time
0
Points
420Time 08/14/07 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Being in and out of AC/Heat

Being in and out of AC/Heat all day is actually more stressful on the body due to the body having to make constant adjustments. It is better to be in a constant temp environment whether hot or cold (reasonably) then in and out of both environments all day.

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 08/14/07 - 03:36 pm
0
0
Wow, I like UPS because they

Wow, I like UPS because they are fast and reliable, but I pay good money for that. You would think they could spend some of that money on their employees. Cheap b***. Just more corporate suites getting more while the people who do the actual work that make them look good get less.

mosovich
858
Points
mosovich 08/14/07 - 10:00 pm
0
0
Don't even the US Mail trucks

Don't even the US Mail trucks get a small fan?

weatheringheights
0
Points
weatheringheights 08/15/07 - 02:19 pm
0
0
The entire administrative

The entire administrative branch of UPS, right up to the CEO should be forced to work for one week in the same conditions these men and women are forced to work in. Last week, my car thermometer registered an outside temp of 111, that is far too hot for someone to work in without the aid of even a fan. Aren't they union? Can't something be done? Maybe OSHA should take a look at UPS's business practices. In the meantime, I may just have to check out DHL rates. Nothing will get the exec's attention like a hit to the pocket.

AsItIs
1
Points
AsItIs 08/15/07 - 02:54 pm
0
0
I agree with

I agree with goodstuff......we appreciate you, Mr. Racy! Thanks for bringing our orders regardless of the weather! Would you like some Gatorade to go?

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs