Research Papers

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Simulator-Based Training on the Acquisition of Gear-Shifting Skills for Learner Truck Drivers

Filename 1A-Pierro-Hirsch.pdf
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Version 1
Date added May 8, 2011
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Category 2011 CMRSC XXI Halifax
Tags Session 1A
Author/Auteur Pierro Hirsch, Sonia Pignatelli, François Bellavance


The performance of truck drivers directly impacts public health through crash risk, with younger and less experienced drivers representing the highest risks. Therefore, improvements in the training of truck drivers have potential safety benefits. Some evidence exists of successful transfer of training from driving simulators to real world driving performance in skill and safety. This research project compares the results of a traditional program with a modified program that includes a truck simulator with a self-paced, performance-based, gear-shift training program (known as the Golden ShifterTM). A total of 80 learners from a multi-site truck driving school participated in this study. The experimental group of 48 came from the main campus equipped with truck simulators. The control group of 32 came from two satellite locations. Every participant received an in-truck evaluation of their gear-shifting skills from the same evaluator using a standardized evaluation form on standardized driving routes.

The data did not permit firm conclusions about transfer of training from the truck driving simulator to the truck. However, a wide variance in the evaluation scores of learners in both the control and experimental groups indicates some learners require more time than others to master gear shifting. The study results inspired improvements in the design and implementation of the truck simulator gear-shifting programme addressed to slower learners. Additionally, the data indicate that the self-paced, performance-based simulator program has a strong potential for use as a dual function screening tool. First, at the onset of the practical training, the program could potentially identify those learners who may need more hours of practice to achieve mastery. Second, the program could then provide those learners with the opportunity to practice with minimal or no teacher supervision. Further research is required to test and quantify these improvements and potential benefits.

Pierro Hirsch, Sonia Pignatelli, François Bellavance