Why Are Mail Trucks Right-Hand Drive?

If you have ever really paid attention to a USPS mail truck like the Grumman LLV, you have likely noticed something different about these trucks. And that is the fact that the driver sits on the opposite side of where Americans typically sit when driving. While not every vehicle in the United States Postal Service’s fleet is right-hand-drive, vehicles like the Grumman LLV are. So what’s the deal with that and why are mail trucks right-hand-drive?

USPS mail trucks are RHD

For some time, the USPS has been employing RHD vehicles to help make delivering the mail an easier task. In rural areas, this allows mail carriers to easily get mail from the truck into a mailbox. And when it comes to city driving, RHD means that drivers do not have to step into traffic as often. 

The Jeep DJ is an old USPS mail truck, here it has postal service livery.
USPS Jeep Mail Truck | IFCAR

Since the Jeep DJ, a significant portion of mail trucks are RHD, and the Grumman LLV carries on that tradition. Once the Oshkosh NGDV hits the streets, it will also feature the same configuration, even with its EV powertrain. In fact, Jeep still builds a right-hand-drive Wrangler for use by rural mail carriers to get to places the standard Grumman LLV may be unable to go. 

Is right-hand drive legal in the United States?

Simply put, if you have a vehicle that meets federal regulations and it is right-hand drive, it is legal to drive. But, it is important to note, that RHD can quickly become an annoyance when you attempt to do things like go through a drive-thru. 

That said, plenty of folks import vehicles from places like Japan, where RHD is a standard feature. So, you may see some dealing with the drawbacks in order to drive an enthusiast car. In terms of mail trucks though, those are not necessarily considered enthusiast vehicles, but rather purpose-built trucks created in order to deliver the mail in an efficient manner. 

Is it hard to drive right-hand drive?

Adjusting to RHD is undoubtedly a process for those that deliver the mail. You have a different vantage point and most Americans grew up driving left-hand drive. Because of this, RHD is something that you will likely have to get used to, but it can be done. 

A Grumman LLV mail truck sits in a local neighborhood with USPS livery.
Grumman LLV | IFCAR

Unfortunately,  America’s infrastructure is built around LHD, so RHD vehicles are not the most practical. For the United States Postal Service however, mail carriers benefit from this configuration and it helps to keep delivering the mail a safer and more efficient process. 

Is USPS replacing the Grumman LLV?

The postal service is currently working to replace its fleet of aging Grumman LLV mail trucks. These vehicles were introduced in the late 1980s, and a replacement is long overdue. The truck slated to replace this iconic mail truck is the Oshkosh NGDV. It should offer more modern features and according to MotorTrend, it has an available electric powertrain. And that will boost efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of USPS mail trucks. 

The Oshkosh NGDV is the next generation of USPS mail trucks.
Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle | Oshkosh

Although the NGDV will be a modern USPS mail truck, it will still have RHD much like delivery vehicles of the past. 

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