Can Driving Simulators Make Trucks Safer?


June 10, 2019 / Truck Accidents

When a 5,000-pound car collides with an 80,000-pound eighteen-wheeler, the outcome is catastrophic for the passenger vehicle and its occupants. In 2017, according to data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 4,102 people in the United States died in accidents involving big rigs. That’s 30% higher than in 2009. Of the fatalities, just 17% were truckers, while 82% were occupants of another vehicle, pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.

As the industry faces a staffing crisis with an estimated shortage of over 50,000 drivers, the government is rolling out a plan to lower the age requirement for driving a commercial truck across state lines. Carriers are offering incentives like signing bonuses and higher salaries to attract recruits. This may help keep goods moving and prices in check, but doesn’t bode well for highway safety.

One promising development is the increasing use of truck driving simulators to teach novice truckers. The big-rig equivalent of flight simulators, these sophisticated training tools are designed to mimic the actual conditions of the road. When used in conjunction with hands-on training with experienced drivers, they may indeed help ensure the newest generation of truckers is well prepared for life behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer, call Indiana truck accident lawyer Mike Stephenson. He has decades of experience fighting for his clients and winning the damages they need to move on.

What Are the Benefits of a Truck Driving Simulator?

A truck driving simulator gives students an experience similar to being on the road — in the safe confines of a training center. Simulators replicate many of the features of real-life driving:

  • Graphics showing a 180-degree view of the road with changing traffic and weather
  • Force-loaded steering wheel that mimics the feel of changing terrain
  • Realistic cab interior with a seat, steering wheel, gear shift, and three pedals
  • Different truck and tractor configurations
  • Emergencies students may encounter while driving, like tire blowouts.

But how well do these machines do what they’re supposed to do? An analysis published in the Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board (and recognized by the organization as the “Best 2017 paper”) suggests that truck driving simulators are highly effective at giving novice truckers the skills they need to drive safely.

The study, titled Transfer of Training in Basic Control Skills from Truck Simulator to Real Truck, found that people who learned on a simulator were just as proficient — and fast — in straight-line backing and 45-degree backing as their peers who trained in the field. They actually became adept at gear-shifting quicker, though other students did catch up.

While driving simulators will not and should not replace real road experience, they are a positive development in truck driving safety.

The attorneys at Stephenson Rife have the experience, knowledge, and passion necessary to give their clients the best possible representation. If you’ve been injured in a collision with a truck, call us to schedule a consultation.

Featured Posts

  • Car AccidentsCan you sue for lower back injuries in a car accident?
    In Vehicle Accidents
    Car accidents can be frightening and horrific experiences, resulting in PTSD and significant physical injuries. One of the most common car accident injuries is lower back trauma. The spine is a delicate and essential collection of nerves and vertebrae. When you are thrust against a steering wheel, seat belt, windshield or other stationary object upon collision, the spine is jarred or bruised, resulting in extreme pain, numbness and […]
  • Brain InjuryTypes of brain injuries caused by medical malpractice
    In Catastrophic Injuries
    It is devastating when you take your loved one to the hospital to be treated or to a nursing home to be cared for only to have them be seriously injured or die due to medical malpractice. The very doctors, nurses and medical personnel charged with healing and protecting your loved one wind up harming them due to negligence or insufficient skills. The types of medical malpractice that can result in brain injuries include: Surgical […]
  • Spinal Injury X-RayWhat is the average settlement for a spinal cord injury?
    In Catastrophic Injuries
    If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Spinal cord injuries can be serious, and even catastrophic, which means significant medical bills, lost wages and other unanticipated expenses. You should not have to bear these costs alone, especially if you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence. Because every case is different, there is not an […]

Archives