Food Logistics, April 15, 2020: Last year the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a two-year delay in the planned standardization of training standards for entry-level commercial truck drivers. The setback now restricts training to only providers registered with The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Trainers will be scrutinized and those with substandard performance will not move forward in training new drivers ─ a critical need identified over the past several years and magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not every trucking company is poised to be able to afford the initial investment in the additional layers of training,” Kearney adds. “There are some companies who fly ‘under the radar’ to avoid extra cost, and these groups would oppose additional training requirements.”
The industry needs training that is a comprehensive program combining classroom training, computer-based training, adaptive virtual reality simulator training and over-the-road training. Safety is a key concern and the delayed standardization would focus on proper training to enhance safety standards.
“This is a setback for the whole industry,” says John Kearney, chief executive officer of Advanced Training Systems LLC, St. Petersburg, Fla. “Trucking is facing both a declining safety record—over a 10-year period there was a 12% increase in the yearly number of people killed in large-truck crashes—as well as an increasingly drastic driver shortage. We need efficient standards for entry-level truck driver training, and we need the government’s help to do it.”
“The new adaptive simulator training modules train drivers to anticipate actions when negative situations of weather, mechanical failure and accident avoidance present themselves,” adds Kearney. “It is not sufficient just to have tests and look for an accident rate to improve. We need to improve on the system with the use of advanced techniques of training. The old methods of classroom, computer-based training and over-the-road are necessary, but there are aspects of driving and safety that can’t be taught without simulation training. We must include simulators in the comprehensive training to professionally train drivers.”
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