Arlington, Va. — Getting behind the wheel of a simulator makes a driver safer—if only for a limited period of time.
A new study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) finds drivers who are given simulator training that presents risky scenarios and teaches them how to correctly respond to the situations are involved in fewer on-the-road safety incidents for six months after they receive their training.
The study, Safety Impacts of Truck Driver Simulator Training, also looked at the longer-term driving records of the participants. It found that after 12 months, the effects of the training had worn off, and drivers returned to their previous behaviours. Based on that tendency, the report’s authors suggest that “carriers examine the frequency of sustainment training for drivers.”
Despite the backslide in results over the long-term, the ATRI concludes: “Truck driving simulators provide carriers with the ability to offer a wide variety of training exercises to drivers from the safety and convenience of a classroom. By focusing training efforts on correcting behaviors that have a known correlation to crash risk, carriers can take a proactive step towards preventing future crashes.”
The training scenarios used in the simulators were based on driving behaviors previously identified in ATRI’s Predicting Truck Crash Involvement report.