Simulator use is catching on for schools and carriers

Montreal, November 27th 2019

A recent article by Dave Wickenhausser in TruckingTruth.com1 reports an increased uptake of truck simulator deployment in training new and experienced CDL drivers. Worth noting, most of the trucking schools and fleets consulted in that article use the VS600M truck simulators and Golden training programs developed by Virage Simulation.

One of the interviews was with John Rojas, Director of Transportation Training Services at DelMar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, where students complete up to 20 hours of simulator training within the 200-hour CDL driver training program. Rojas observed that on the simulator, students quickly “understand looking in mirrors, they shift confidently, they coordinate their leg and hand (when shifting)." He appreciates that there are no safety issues, no wear and tear on the truck's equipment and that less fuel is used during the simulator portion of training. The college has just ordered another five VS600M truck simulators, two of which will be installed in their mobile classroom (trailer). This brings their total VS600M simulator count to six.

Brett Bell, a trainer with Basic Energy Services of Fort Worth, Texas, is another Virage Simulation VS600M truck simulator client interviewed in the article. Bell attested to the effectiveness of the Virage Rollover Prevention and Defensive Driving Programs by reporting that simulator training for their drivers has resulted in fewer rollovers and accidents with the company's 1,620 tractors.

Also interviewed was Dan Columbus of Westcan Bulk Transport, Edmonton, Canada. Columbus reports significant reductions in fuel costs after he started using Virage Simulation’s VS600M truck simulator Eco-Drive program to teach correct fuel management driving techniques. This outcome is consistent with the results of a 2015 study by University of Toronto researchers2 that showed how eco-drive training on the VS600M produced significant reductions in average accelerations and decelerations, good indicators of fuel efficiency. As an added bonus for fleet managers, research has shown that eco-drive training has been associated with crash rate reductions of 35% 3.

Another interviewee was a representative from Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, who recognizes multiple benefits from incorporating Virage Simulation driving simulators in their CDL program. The college representative explained that their students are introduced to truck driving in a safe and risk-free environment that is much less stressful for students and instructors. Less stress helps shorten learning times. After four VS600M truck simulators were integrated into the classroom training at the college, students were able to begin their in-truck range work after less than two days compared to the week that was previously required. These truck simulators also make it easy for Hawkeye instructors to give students realistic driving practice in variable weather environments, on different road configurations and even with different diesel engines such as Mack and Cummins.

The article also reports the findings of a scientific study4 that demonstrated the training efficiency of the Virage’s VS600M truck driving simulator and Golden Training Programs. The Golden Programs consist of proficiency-based modules designed to help drivers master CDL skills by providing immediate performance feedback and collecting data, including video recordings of each session that instructors can access to monitor learning progress and coach skill development.

Virage Simulation is proud of its contribution to the advancement of truck driver training in colleges and fleets and especially pleased by the positive results obtained by our customers.