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TRAINING OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVERS SUMMARY This synthesis focuses upon similarities and differences in training strategies and curricula among existing driver training programs, with a goal of identifying those commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver training tools and techniques that hold the greatest potential to improve CMV safety. In particular, the need to ensure adequate knowledge and skills for entry-level drivers guided this research effort. The summary and recommendations that follow reflect an exhaustive review of technical information sources, as well as inputs from the trucking and motorcoach industries derived through survey responses solicited in this project, supplemented by comments to the FMCSA's 1993 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), which was published in the Federal Register on June 21, 1993, and its 2003 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published in the Federal Register in August 2003. Although this research synthesis identified specific tools and techniques that, if broadly implemented, appear likely to yield safety benefits, there are overarching needs and requirements to promote the effectiveness of driver training programs that cannot be overlooked. As emphasized in the recommendations of the 2002 Interna- tional Truck and Bus Safety Research and Policy Symposium, there is an urgent need for standardized curricula for entry-level driver training and remedial training for problem drivers (Zacharia and Richards, 2002). And, it is equally critical--whether it comes about through regulation, through initiatives by motor carriers and insurers, or through a combination of actions--that it is not possible for a driver whose qualifica- tions are limited to completion of a course designed solely to coach the student to pass the commercial driver's license (CDL) exam, to assume sole responsibility for a heavy vehicle. One sometimes overlooked factor is the extent to which training program effectiveness depends upon the qualifications and commitment of the trainer, regardless of the partic- ular tools available to support training program activities. These individuals, whether employed by schools or carriers, must instill in entry-level drivers not only the requi- site knowledge and skills that make them able to perform everyday driving tasks but also a `safety culture' that they will take with them when they have sole responsibility as a heavy vehicle operator. Certainly, the trainer must know everything that the trainee is expected to know and have the skills--oral and written communications, listening,

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2 platform skills, and patience--to impart this knowledge effectively. Trainers who are highly motivated, with 2 or more years of hands-on driving experience, who are pro- vided with proper certification and recertification as needed to meet a given carrier's training goals, and are compensated in proportion to their essential contributions are paramount to meeting future demands for a safe, stable, and productive workforce in the trucking and motorcoach industries. Finally, the overall commitment of an organization to finishing training for entry-level drivers and refresher training for experienced drivers will dictate how training programs are structured and what resources are allocated to them. As noted by a regional less-than- truckload (LTL) company participating in the present industry survey, "There is no sub- stitute for selection of the right individual, one-on-one training, evaluation, and obser- vation. The organization needs a strong safety culture at all levels of the spectrum and continual emphasis on highway safety." Recognition of drivers' skills, through rodeos and similar events, and tangible rewards for their accomplishments in meeting safe per- formance milestones similarly reinforce a new driver's understanding that the company is serious about its training programs. With these thoughts in mind, a number of recommended practices for improving training effectiveness for entry-level CMV drivers are supported by this synthesis: Industry-wide acceptance of, and adherence to, standards put forward by the Pro- fessional Truck Driving Institute (PTDI) as a minimum requirement for entry-level (2nd seat) drivers and for the certification of driver trainers. As a practical matter, this will depend on the adoption of hiring policies by carriers that require graduation from a PTDI-certified institution. Finishing training for 1st seat (solo) drivers. This may be accomplished through partnerships between schools and industry to provide the PTDI-recommended externship experience or by carriers who provide over-the-road, one-on-one train- ing using certified company driver-finishing trainers for a number of miles or hours that are specified in advance and tied to performance-based criteria. Substitution of multimedia instructional materials, delivered via CD/DVD-ROM, for traditional classroom presentations relying on printed materials. These resources can better engage students' interest, more clearly explain or display certain proce- dures, and reduce training costs, while allowing more time to be devoted to instruc- tion in and around the vehicle instead of in the classroom. Distance learning and e-learning possibilities may also be greatly expanded. Training program elements that are good candidates for instruction using multimedia resources include famil- iarization with vehicle control systems; how to perform pretrip, en route, and post- trip vehicle inspections; identifying and maintaining vehicle systems; preparing the vehicle for driving in adverse weather; procedures for securing cargo; proper lifting techniques; and effective communication skills. The explanation of defen- sive driving techniques can also be enhanced through dynamic examples illustrated via CD/DVD-ROM technology. Introduction or expansion of appropriate uses of affordable simulation options. A key in this area is to properly match the training target with the capabilities of a particular simulator platform. Safe driving strategies and tactics can be taught and evaluated using a dynamic presentation of realistic traffic situations on a low- end, noninteractive simulator with forward view only, providing that it offers a sufficiently high-resolution display to permit detection and recognition of safety hazards at meaningful preview times and distances. Certain maneuvers in a fixed (noninteractive) environment, such as docking, can be effectively practiced using model-board simulators that are relatively modest in cost. For other maneuvers,

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3 however, such as effective scanning practices, it is desirable to simulate a visual environment that is nearly or fully immersive (360 degrees), which requires a more expensive system. Training operators to drive in hazardous weather and make emergency maneuvers requires still higher fidelity simulation, including top-end computer graphics and a sophisticated motion platform. Schools and companies should design simulation into their training programs in a way that makes sense in terms of their particular instructional goals and available resources. Drawing on the concept of a regional training center, an attractive solution would be for multiple organizations to share access to simulators. Expansion of the use of skid pads to train beginning drivers about stopping distances under different load configurations; to use different brake systems (including all ABS, mixed ABS, and non-ABS); and to experience the consequences of driving on a wet surface for handling and stopping the vehicle, including skid control. As in the case of simulators, a consortium of training providers that share a common facility may be the most practical means of increasing access to skid pad training. Employment of videos, in concert with testimonials by experienced drivers, to give entry-level trainees a realistic orientation to health, wellness, and lifestyle issues and to provide fitness-to-drive instruction. Increased cost-effectiveness for training programs and better driver retention will be served by using this approach to train recruits in the management of work schedules and family time, management of finances while on the road, and general health maintenance. Teaching novice driv- ers to recognize signs of fatigue and to employ fatigue-reducing strategies also will be enhanced by including these methods as mandatory components of a training program.