Milestone Achieved: Walmart driver logs three million safe miles
After three million miles on the road, Mike Grim takes a moment to reflect on his career and a difficult-to-fathom total distance he has traveled throughout the years as a professional driver for the Walmart Distribution Center in Brookhaven.
The soon-to-be retired Grim celebrated one of the most prestigious honors for his profession, a flawless safety record for his entire career of driving for the company.
The number of miles that Grim has traveled is a number difficult to put into perspective. Over the years, he has driven his Walmart rig the equivalent of six roundtrips to the moon and back. It would take a driver no less than 1,200 trips from New York City to Los Angeles to come close to the three-million mile mark.
To do it safely, and without accident, is a remarkable achievement, notes Walmart Fleet Safety Manager David Simmons.
“Out of 146 drivers, less than 10 have driven over three million miles. And to do it without an accident, whether it is considered preventable or non-preventable, is close to impossible,” Simmons said.
It also takes a whole lot of time. In Grim’s case, it has taken close to 30 years. Grim started when the Walmart Distribution Center opened in 1986. Now, he is one of Simmons’s senior drivers.
There are a number of things that can go wrong on the road. Road conditions can vary from state to state, and since drivers are expected to drive in inclement weather, the hazards can increase exponentially. Simmons says most accidents are the result of the driver hitting a fixed object. Other accidents are the result of other drivers, or situations outside one’s control.
“It takes a lot of patience and practice to maneuver a rig, especially in tight spots. There are also non-preventable accidents to consider where the driver has no control over
the matter,” Grim noted.
According to Simmons, before his career with Walmart, Grim’s CB handle was “slowpoke.” Yet, just like the tortoise in the “Tortoise and the Hare” story tale, Grim’s cautiously patient approach wins the marathon, not the sprint.
“The other drivers don’t know how he does it. He starts off slower than everyone else. But somehow, he beats other drivers to the destination,” Simmons said. “That’s another thing. Mike always makes it to his destination on time.”
Achieving the three-million-mile mark does not come without its benefits, Simmons noted. Drivers who reach the mark are equipped with a fully loaded, customized rig that includes a flat screen TV, Bose sound system and microwave, among other amenities.
Pre and post trip inspections play an important role in ensuring a driver’s equipment is in working order. Other than this, it takes an extremely cautious and attentive individual to obtain a record like Grim’s.
Simmons notes that Grim’s driving career is not merely a means to an end.
“Mike is one of those guys that loves the allure of driving. This was his passion. He loved the idea of traveling across the country and seeing as much of it as he could. It’s a romantic notion to some,” said Simmons.
Walmart has stringent pre-hire stipulations in place for drivers. The company requires a minimum of 250,000 miles of tractor-trailer driving. Additionally, drivers are put through an eight-hour defensive driving course and hazardous material and injury prevention training.
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