Refresher courses needed to maximize value of driver training: PIT

by Truck News

MONTREAL, Que. – Driver training on fuel efficiency and safety is only effective if it includes refresher courses, according to a new study released by PIT Group.

The research and engineering group also showed the benefit of in-vehicle technologies to reinforce good practices and address weaknesses.

“While vehicle technology designed to improve fuel economy continues to advance, driver training is the element that has the largest impact on fuel consumption,” said Yves Provencher director, market and business development at PIT Group. “Our studies show that various ways to train drivers, including classroom, in-cab and simulator training, all have their advantages. However, the lessons and techniques they teach don’t last without monitoring behaviors that impact fuel use and safety. Providing refresher training and in-vehicle coaching technologies that address bad habits and reinforce effective skills is what’s needed to maintain and improve fuel efficient and safe performance on a regular basis.”

In one study on fuel efficiency performance, PIT Group compared 47 control and 38 test longhaul drivers before and after simulator training that focused on specific elements, including speed, boost pressure, braking, acceleration and RPM. Initial baseline performance measures were established over a period of two months before test drivers were trained. After training, evaluations were performed at one, three, six and nine months.

“The largest impacts on fuel consumption in longhaul operations were the use of cruise control, proper acceleration and maintaining the correct engine and road speed,” Provencher explained. “With close monitoring and communication with drivers, including frequent reminders of how efficiently they were performing, the test data show that longhaul drivers operating a truck an average of 156,000 miles per year could save 2,640 gallons of fuel annually.”

Provencher also reported on a PIT Group test that illustrates the value of employing advanced fuel saving technologies. In particular, a group of 35 regional haul drivers were monitored for nine months, including 22 operating a manual transmission and 13 an automated manual transmission.

In this case, the drivers with manual transmissions would shift in the most fuel efficient range (1,000 to 1,400 rpm) 55% of the time while drivers with automated transmissions were in the most efficient range 78% of the time. Additionally, the average rpm for drivers with manual transmissions was 1,316 versus 1,240 rpm for drivers with automated manual transmissions. The result, Provencher reported, was a 5% fuel savings in favor of automated manual transmissions.

“What these and other studies tell us is that training is only effective if it is reinforced with new ideas and structured to include regular reminders,” Provencher said. “Many companies make the mistake of providing the same training year after year without focusing on weaknesses or adding new ideas to make the lessons more interesting and effective. Regardless of the type of training and its initial effectiveness, it is human nature to revert to old habits unless we are constantly reminded what works best. In the end, the type of training really doesn’t matter as much as the monitoring that takes place afterward.”


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  • To make some kind of profit in this business it has to be monitored constantly and to do good fuel mileage just let Computer if Auto transmission do the job at 64 mph on highway, and of course no idling while away from the unit.
    It is simple and get the new super hero get acquainted with this way of conducting good business.

  • When I retired in 2002 I was driving a KW Conventional with a 15 OD Transmission and a 425 CAT Engine. I shifted at 1500rpm I drove at a Maximum of 1800 rpm pulling Flat Bed “B” Train grossing an average of 140,000 lbs and I averaged about 5 mpg. over a year. About 25% of the time I was empty.
    I see by your results the automated tranny would be the way to go.
    As for safety, you can train drivers till your blue in the face, then these drivers disregard everything they’ve been taught.
    I bet you some of those drivers on the 400 last night disregarded safety.