Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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36 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com For instance, Remi Quimper, president of Virage Simulation, notes, "You can have a vehicle coming to an intersection at the right moment to create a potential conflict and see how your driver will react to that," for better or for worse. Every driver can experience the same scenario. The ability of simulators to provide another perspective also can be helpful in training skills such as backing, says VDI's Davis. An inset map with a birds-eye view can help a driver learn exactly what happens to that trailer in response to his or her actions. For new drivers, simulators are an excellent way for them to practice shifting a manual transmission proper- ly. Virage, for instance, has a simulator where improper gear synchronization results in realistic jerking on the lever and refusal to shift into gear. Using a simulator to provide the repetitious sort of practice needed to master shift- ing allows training programs to devote more instructional time to more advanced safety training, either in the simulator or in the truck. Better decision-making Virage's Quimper says what may be even more important than teaching drivers skills is using simulators to help train better decision-making skills to keep them out of hazardous situations in the first place. "We can teach recovery from a skid, but I'm not sure that's the right thing to do," he says. "You may think you can get into that situation and recover. But you don't know how slippery it could be in the next curve. What we have to teach is how to prevent these things, how to steer so we don't get into a skid." Schneider National discovered that despite doing remedial training with drivers who had been in an accident, those drivers kept getting into crash- Safety&Compliance T here are several types of interactive training and driver simulators available. Choosing the right type depends largely on your train- ing requirements: 1. Very high-end simulators use a real truck cab on a huge motion base. While this may provide the most realistic simulation, it's also more expensive and requires more space than most fleets are willing to provide. 2. High-fidelity simulators with motion, a 180- to 220-degree field of view, and realistic shifting, often with real truck cab dashboards, seats, and shift towers. 3. Part-task trainers, such as a shifting simulator, which generally do not have as sophisticated systems for motion and wide fields of view. 4. Portable table-top systems which do not have motion or full field of view. Types of simulators es, explained Alan Weisinger, director of driver training, at the 2013 Fleet Safety Conference. So the fleet started testing drivers after they had been in a crash, using the driver simulators Schneider has in each of its 20 training sites. What they found, he said, is that "90% of our drivers do not have a skills issue. They had a behavior issue." So now, instead of a right-turn crash resulting in right-turn training, for instance, the driver comes in for an assessment using the simulator, then goes through a computer-based deci- sion-making training module based on the results of that assessment. Although Schneider has led the industry in its use of large, sophisti- cated simulators, you don't necessarily need a full-motion, full-field-of-view simulator to help teach decision-mak- ing skills, according to Virtual Driver Interactive, which worked with UPS on its driver training program. "When teaching fleet drivers, it's all about the decisions you make. It's less about the [vehicle] handling," Davis says. "No simulator is going to replace the driver's knowledge of being in the actual truck." Efficiency Simulators, like trucks, aren't cheap. On one end of the scale, you can get computer-based interactive instruction for less than $10,000, according to Speers. At the other end of the scale are the full-cab, full- motion platforms that can run up to $500,000. The most common are high-fidelity, multi-screen platforms, which run from about $100,000 to $150,000 depending on options. Just as with trucks, the key is to This smaller-format simulator de- sign from Virtual Driver Interactive helped UPS reduce its accidents. Simulators can not only duplicate the in-cab environment, but also show driv- ers other views of the vehicle, as in this image from a VDI simulation for UPS.

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