Trucking companies are responsible for using various types of safety training to prepare new drivers for the dangers they might experience on the road, as well as update veteran drivers on safety procedures. Training can come in any format—like classroom or computer-based—but some companies like UPS and Linde North America are starting to use virtual reality (VR) technology as a learning technique.
Truck driver safety is a big concern for the industry right now. The number of fatal truck accidents is rising, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing that salespeople, truck drivers and delivery workers had the highest number of fatalities in 2016. This was more than any other occupation, with 918 driver deaths on the job.
The future of driver training
Fortune reports that UPS plans on putting 4,000 new delivery drivers through VR training by the end of 2018. In their training, users put on a VR headset and proceed through realistic exercises that teach them the UPS standard of looking left, right, and then left again before proceeding through an intersection. Their virtual roadway also trains drivers how to spot road hazards.
Virtual-reality driving tools can help trucking companies expand their driver pool in a time where drivers are scarce. Companies are more likely to hire new graduates of virtual reality driver training schools, explained Lucas Mowrey, safety director at Grand Island Express, a 140-truck refrigerator carrier based in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Beyond driver safety training
Another company jumping on the VR bandwagon is Linde North America, one of the world’s biggest industrial gas suppliers. Not only do they employ VR technology in an effort to prevent vehicle crashes, they also use it to teach drivers safe handling of the dangerous gases carried in their tankers.
This specialized virtual reality courseware allows Linde drivers to practice unloading their tankers safely—without the risk of spills, collisions, or having to take any trucks off the road for training. Drivers gain nearly-hands-on experience and their managers can accurately measure their skill level before sending them out in the field for deliveries. The software also allows the trainee to see an overlay animation of exactly how the gas flows from their tanker to the customer’s tank, giving them an understanding of how the unloading process works.
Virtual reality training can present hundreds or even thousands of different types of dangerous scenarios, without real-life consequences if a mistake is made. The article from Fortune noted that early results from Linde’s training indicated that time-to-mastery with VR training is accelerated by two-thirds.
The ultimate goal with virtual-reality driver training is not only that it can alleviate the truck driver shortage here Georgia, but also fill the shortage with very safe and skilled drivers.
If you’ve been involved in a collision with a truck or tractor-trailer, you can turn to HLM. The Georgia injury attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP can help you seek compensation for your damages and losses. Call us today at 404-998-8847 at our Atlanta office, or in Savannah at 912-417-3774, or fill out our contact form.