After reading your editorial in the Jan. 2007 Truck News I felt it important to point out a few things to you. First I agree that automated transmissions are extremely beneficial in combating driver fatigue, maintenance issues and accidents. Obviously, if a driver’s attention is focused on the conditions of the road, he will be more apt to respond correctly. I also agree that trusting technology is the key to accepting the transmission. The company I drive for, Warren Gibson Transport, has been using the automated tranny for a number of years.
Initially, I was skeptical having driven manual 10-, 13- and 18-speed transmissions. However after getting used to not grabbing for the stick all the time, I quickly adapted.
The true test of course was driving in the mountains under load. I have to admit that the automated system performs flawlessly and after numerous tests I became a true believer in the technology.
It should be noted that most, if not all, drivers of manual transmissions rarely, if ever, use the clutch. It only really is used at stops and when switching to reverse. This is not something that is taught in driving school and only comes with the realization after pushing in that clutch 500 times a day that you are damned tired. The double clutch of course is the “proper way” to shift gears, but professional drivers, as with most things thrown at them have learned to adapt, improve and carry on doing their jobs.
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