Longer training period doesn’t necessarily produce better drivers: Report

by Canadian Shipper

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has completed research that shows new commercial drivers don’t perform any better whether they receive 88 hours of training – or slightly more than three times that amount, at 272 hours.

ATRI’s research examined the statistical relationship between training regimens and safety performance for over 16,500 new commercial drivers, a sample representing nearly 30% of the annual new entrant population in the US. Among these findings, “was the absence of a significant impact of total training duration on new entrant driver safety performance,” according to the ATRI.

“As a fleet, we have long believed that the litmus test for commercial driver training should be performance-based, and not a derivative of hours spent in training,” said Chad England, vice-president, recruiting, training and safe driving for Utah-based C.R. England. “This research bears out our hypothesis.”

“This study provides a critical benchmark for carriers and driver training schools alike,” commented Michael O’Connell, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. O’Connell and England both served as members of the study’s technical advisory committee who, along with others from training institutions, motor carriers and driver groups, provided oversight to ATRI on the research methodology.

ATRI’s study is among the first ever to examine the overall duration of new entrant driver training, the instructional environment and curriculum topic areas covered, and the relative safety impact of each, on new entrant driver safety performance. The driver training report is available on ATRI’s Web site at www.atri-online.org.

ATRI is a not-for-profit research organization, engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.

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