Nations Largest Trucking Company Gives Driver Training Program a Makeover


Schneider National Shifts to Simulation-Based Training for its 15,500 Driver Fleet


Green Bay, Wis. and Salt Lake City, Utah--October 11, 2005--Schneider National Inc., a premier provider of transportation, logistics and related services, announced today that it will dramatically transform its driver training program over the next two years, incorporating MPRIs motion-based driver training simulator to better prepare drivers for situations on the road. MPRI, with offices around the world, is a global leader in the supply of ground vehicle and maritime simulation products and services as well as critical incident management and emergency response solutions. The shift makes Schneider National the largest, and one of the first, truckload carriers in the industry to incorporate simulation-based training fleet-wide.


Through the years, Schneiders training programs have been recognized as the gold standard in the industry when it comes to successfully preparing drivers for the rigors of the road, said Schneider Vice President of Safety and Training Don Osterberg. But when it comes to safety, we always strive to do more. Using motion-based simulation technology allows us to train drivers for those situations that cannot safely be replicated under our current training methods.


Under the program, Schneider will purchase simulators over the next 12 months for its network of driver training academies located across the United States and Canada. Schneider, one of the only trucking companies in the industry to offer company-paid driver training, is incorporating simulation in its training program as it evolves to an integrated learning model. Currently Schneiders driver training program is primarily instructor-based. However, the new program will incorporate both computer and simulation training in order to expose drivers to a broader range of on-the-road scenarios, including driving in inclement weather, handling equipment failures or navigating heavy traffic.


Think of it as an IMAX experience for trucking, Osterberg said. In the simulator, the drivers seat and on-screen images will move, spin and rotate to create the sensation of different driving conditions. Its amazing how realistic simulation makes these scenarios feel.


Osterberg notes that the simulator can even be customized by location, so that a driver in training can experience what it will look and feel like to deliver loads to different types of facilities in various geographic locations.


Schneider National piloted its new integrated learning model, including simulation, in September 2004. Within five months, Schneider saw fewer accidents and a significant reduction in the dropout rate for inexperienced and experienced drivers and fewer accidents.


Simulation-based training has been highly successful in the U.S. military and in the airline industry, and we now have the opportunity to apply the same training method to the trucking industry in order to reduce accidents and improve safety for our drivers and the motoring public, said Osterberg.


People quickly forget they are in the simulator. They act and react as if they were driving their own truck, notes Ray Greer, senior vice president of MPRI. That allows us to help them improve their driving skills by reinforcing appropriate training reactions and strategies. The ultimate goal is that better driving skills will translate into safer roads.


Schneider National, the nations largest full truckload provider, is committed to the development of innovative programs to attract and retain professional truck drivers. In February, the company announced the largest compensation and work-life improvement package in its 70-year history. In addition, the company is currently testing an innovative computer system that will allow drivers to design their own work schedules, improving the predictability of time at home.