MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Truck drivers have emerged as some of the most essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic. America relies on them to haul goods across the country and keep our shelves stocked.
But right now the United States is facing a shortage of drivers. With training schools not able to operate at full capacity, and with many DMV’s shutdown, the industry is struggling to get more drivers on the road.
Social distancing has made it difficult for people interested in getting a commercial driver’s license the ability to train in person with an instructor and eventually get their certification.
But now an app is helping students get the training they need from the comfort of their own home.
Advanced Training Systems, a company that designs and manufactures virtual simulators for driver training, has created a free virtual training app that walks drivers step-by-step through the pre-trip inspection, one portion of a driver’s certification test they must master.
“A pilot goes through a pre-flight inspection of their aircraft before they can take off. A truck driver has to do a pre-trip inspection of their truck before they can drive,” said ATS Vice President Becky Hudson. “Right now, they have to have a truck and an instructor. With this app, going into the future, they can practice as much as they want because it is a virtual app on their phone.”
The app eliminates the need to meet in person with an instructor and prevents the congregation of a large group of trainees needing to learn the pre-trip inspection face-to-face.
“The pre-trip inspection when an inspector is training it, it’s a very tight group that stands together around a truck so that they can hear what the instructor is saying,” Hudson said. “With this app, they don’t even have to be in front of a truck, it’s a virtual truck and it’s self-paced virtual training, so they can train at home or they can actually be on campus, but they don’t have to be in this close group of 10 to 15 people.”
The ability to practice the pre-trip inspection multiple times gives students a leg up on training so that when DMV’s open back up they are prepared to test for their CDL.
Hudson said going into the pandemic the U.S. was 60,000 truck drivers short, and now without training available, that could mean America will see a shortage in the supply chain.
However, their company is hoping that by making the app widely available and free right now they can help students who are in the middle of getting certified, or those who are looking to get certified use this tool to help get their CDL.
The promo code to get the app on iPhone or Android for free from the App Store is ATS20. You just go in the App Store, and type in “Advanced Training Systems.” If you’re using Windows, submit a request via the ATS website.