A devastating crash involving 28 cars and a long-haul truck driver has left the trucking industry re-evaluating safety protocol involving trucker training and vehicle inspections.
The accident – which occurred in April in Lakewood, Colorado, turned deadly when a driver for Castellano 03 Trucking LLC of Houston stated to police the breaks of the truck failed on a downhill grade. The driver – who has a clean driving record, was charged with three dozen felony counts and could face prison time.1 According to records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 30 violations were reported out of 19 inspections spanning two years – some of which were directly related to brakes.2
“Exactly what happened and how remains a matter for the courts to determine,” said John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of virtual simulators for truck driver training. “This tragic incident makes clear the importance of stringent enforcement of truck safety regulations and the best possible training for operators.”
“Trucking is thus a linchpin of the economy,” Kearney said. “It is also an industry under intense pressure to manage explosive growth within tight financial margins.”
With trucking moving a reported 70 percent of total freight in the U.S. by American trucking associations, 3 trucking companies are undoubtedly feeling the pressure to provide training while meeting market demands. Additionally, it’s reported the industry is in need of 50,000 more full-time drivers.4 The challenge is recruiting, training, and deploying drivers quickly and safely.
The real question asks if simulator training is the next best step in addressing the challenges and extreme pressures present within the industry. Simulator training provides room for learning without incurring damages and risking lives on the road.
“It’s a key component of training, but not the only component,” Kearney said. “Classroom instruction still is essential, along with behind-the-wheel training with an experienced operator in a real truck. This is exactly the mix of mandatory training modalities used by the airline industry, which also should be mandatory in the trucking industry. As delivery schedules shorten, highway congestion and the demand for highly skilled truck operators will only increase. It’s to everyone’s benefit to make sure those drivers have had the best training possible.”
This report was provided by Advanced Training Systems LLC and includes the following references:
1 Helsel, Phil, “Truck driver in fiery Colorado crash charged with 40 counts, may face decades in prison,” NBC, May 3, 2019.
2 Miller, Blair, “Company that I-70 crash driver works for has past federal violations for brakes, English proficiency,” The Denver Channel, April 29, 2019.
3 “Reports, Trends & Statistics,” American Trucking Associations, 2019.
4 “Pressure’s on the Trucking Sector,” Insurance Journal, November 15, 2018.