Chapter 31: The Commercial Driver
Handbook of Driving Simulation for Engineering, Medicine, and Psychology
The Commercial Driver
Myra Blanco, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Jeffrey S. Hickman, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Richard J. Hanowski, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Justin F. Morgan, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
The Problem. The use of driving simulators is becoming increasingly frequent in Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO). However, the full extent of their use for training and maintaining the skills of commercial vehicle drivers has not been completely examined. Role of Driving Simulators. Driving simulators address many current problem areas and driver training needs for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, both before and following licensure (i.e., entry-level training, screening, evaluation, retraining). Key Results of Driving Simulator Studies. Previous research and companies implementing commercial vehicle simulators have indicated cost and safety benefits from simulator-based commercial driver training. Further investigation of the long-term effect of CMV simulator-based training, especially in regard to driver safety, is warranted. Scenarios and Dependent Variables. Entry-level simulator-based driver training presents an alternative to, or enhancement of, traditional behind-the-wheel (BTW) training by allowing drivers to gain basic skills and driving time in a low-risk environment. In addition, commercial vehicle simulation allows drivers to be introduced to hazardous or dangerous driving conditions (such as weather and traffic conditions) without the risk associated with BTW training. Platform Specificity and Equipment Limitations. Although a range of commercial vehicle simulators exist, the range of training possible with each level of simulator varies. In order to train higher-level rules and knowledge type tasks, simulators with greater fidelity of visual and kinesthetic modeling are required.
Driver Training, Driver Screening, Driver Evaluation, Commercial Driver License, Commercial Vehicle Simulator
• The process of operating a commercial vehicle is fundamentally dissimilar from the operation of an automobile. Accordingly, the simulation needs for commercial drivers are different from those of automobile drivers.
• Insufficient training is a major contributor to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes. Training of CMV drivers is a continuous process, beginning with pre-CDL training and continuing throughout a driver’s career. Many fleets recognize simulation as a valuable tool for training CMV drivers.
• In addition to training, commercial vehicle simulators may be used to support the pre-hire screening process and targeted training (retraining) of commercial drivers. Simulation allows for these processes to occur in safe and controlled environments, minimizing both the risk and costs associated with screening and retraining drivers.
• Commercial vehicle simulators are sufficiently advanced to allow training of a wide variety of commercial driving behaviors.
• Simulators have demonstrated safety and cost benefits in some limited testing. Ongoing studies will help further define what benefits may be obtained from use of a training simulator for training novice commercial vehicle drivers.
Web Figure 31.1: Large Truck Backing Task in Real Truck vs. Truck Simulator (color version of Figure 31.1).
Web Figure 31.2: Specialized Training Scenarios (color version of Figure 31.2).
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