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Higher training levels sought by Mexican driver facility

Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are expected to benefit from higher standards set by a new heavy-truck driver training facility in Mexicali, Mexico, near Calexico, California.

The CECATI 84 Heavy Truck Training Center, which opened on April 6, was funded in part by Camara Nacional del Autotransporte de Carga (CANACAR, the Mexican counterpart to the American Trucking Associations), the Mexican educational institution CECATI 84, and Kenworth Truck subsidiary Kenworth Mexicana S.A. de C.V. Truck cab simulators and training methodology were provided by St. Petersburg, Florida-based Advanced Training Systems (ATS).

Driving skills can be greatly enhanced with the use of simulators, ATS CEO John Kearney told FreightWaves, because there are situations such as skidding over ice or dealing with a blowout that can’t be taught on the road. Kearney also noted that new entry-level driver training rules in the U.S. that go into effect in February 2020 do not allow simulators to certify drivers for road training.

In Mexico, “the training center will be able to use the technology provided by simulators to improve and advance training throughout the 32 states of Mexico,” Kearney said. “That is a benefit for the U.S., because it will lead to standardized training between the two countries.”

ATS’s methodology of integrating “adaptive training” uses a three-element approach: instructor-led training; computer-based training; and simulator-based training. It allows prospective drivers to learn the basics of driving and develop the necessary skills to deal with adverse weather and road conditions before climbing behind the wheel of a real truck, according to Jesus Omar Bon Campos, the center’s director. Trainees will have access to five simulators, two trailers and a 50-acre maneuvering track.

CANACAR’s Luciano Jiménez Laveaga said that the students at the facility will receive a total of 97 hours of instruction before graduation, whereas before they received less than 19 hours.

ATS chief operating officer Enrique Mar and CANACAR president Enrique Armando Gonzalez agreed to highlight the attributes integrated in the training center in forthcoming driver training forums within Mexico to demonstrate the effectiveness of an integrated dynamic driving simulation laboratory, they said.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.