By John Kearney

Recent research studies show that interest in using virtual reality (aka simulation) for training in “high-consequence” industries—i.e., industries where a mistake can cause significant property damage or fatalities or both—has increased 60% over the last two years. We’re certainly seeing greater awareness in the motor freight industry; trucking companies, driving schools, and even the general public are increasingly aware that simulation training helps produce better, safer drivers.

It does so by solving an ancient problem: how do you teach somebody to deal with situations that are too dangerous to be a part of ordinary training? You can’t take a trainee out on the road, have her set out across a patch of black ice, and tell her to slam on the brakes. You just can’t do it. But the simulator can do it, over and over and over, until she knows, all the way down to her muscle memory and reactions, exactly how to keep the rig under control.

How important is that knowledge? Let’s consider a couple of statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading cause of workplace deaths in the United States is —guess what? — vehicle crashes. And according to the National Highway Safety Administration, more than 90% of those fatal accidents are at least partly due to driver error. The math is simple. The more a driver is exposed to potentially fatal situations—safely, in a simulator—the less likely that driver is to make a fatal mistake.

Simulation is driving the industry in other ways, too. By reducing the amount of one-on-one road training needed to get a CDL, it’s helping attract more women to the field. We’ve got a long way to go, but with the help of simulation (and automatic transmissions), we’re getting there. Trucking companies are also realizing that simulator-trained drivers not only save money by having fewer accidents, they also, by learning correct driving technique, use less fuel. It’s a win-win.

For More Information

Advanced Training Systems has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulators to improve driver training and create both better drivers and a safer world. In addition to hundreds of driving schools, we provide equipment and support for major shippers who do their own training, as well as customized solutions for those with particular training needs. For more information or to schedule a demo, please contact us here.