Can commercial vehicle safety improve when companies use virtual reality to train drivers, aside from equipping trucks with conventional tools such as wireless LED trailer lights?
That’s the question that the industry wants to answer, as a report showed that safety did not improve over the last 10 years based on statistics for fatalities, injuries and property damage.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that workplace fatalities rose 7% in 2017. A year before that, fatalities from the trucking industry accounted for 40% of all work-related deaths. Companies have tried to reverse this trend by using simulated VR training for drivers.
For instance, United Parcel Service launched a similar program in the previous year for its fleet of drivers. It aims to orient 4,000 workers in 2018 about the best practices on road safety. The logistics company introduced the program to not only sustain its safety record but also attract potential talents. VR training appeals to the younger workforce because of its similarities from playing a video game.
Benefits of VR
VR training allows trainees to have a grasp of what it’s like to drive a truck in the real world. It also gives them an idea how truck-loading operations work in real time, particularly for hazardous chemicals. Some courses do this by using x-ray vision that lets them see how chemicals are loaded onto tanks.
This part of the training course teaches drivers about troubleshooting techniques in case of certain problems since chemical spills can sometimes be more harmful than a vehicle collision. Companies can also save money when implementing VR training sessions, especially for companies with a large fleet of drivers that are spread out in different states.
Virtual reality can be a good solution for the trucking industry’s safety problem, yet companies should not substitute it for other essential tools like emergency lights for vehicles.