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||Contact: Randy Martin, Director, Workforce Training
Simulator Lets Students Drive the
LEWISTON-LCSC's Workforce Training Center (WTC) personnel have just installed a new
piece of equipment they say will make it possible to retrain unemployed workers, reduce
highway accidents, and cut trucking companies' expenses.
It's a truck driving simulator, a highly sophisticated product of computer technology that
makes it possible for the user to experience the many realities of being on the road
behind the wheel of a truck. WTC Director Randy Martin, driving instructor Les Williams,
and WTC Office Manager Peggy Craig are unmistakably excited about the new tool.
The device, paid for by a $45,000 grant written by Craig, consists of a truck cab driver's
seat connected to a computer screen that can be programmed to simulate a dizzying array of
conditions. The resulting "truck" can "drive" just like over 100
different makes and models of semi tractors. Heavily loaded or empty trailers, steep or
gentle grades, gears that grind or are properly shifted
the simulator makes it
possible for the driver to experience these and many more real-life truck-driving
WTS staff says the simulator will benefit the public and the college in several ways. One
is that more highly skilled drivers translates into fewer accidents involving trucks.
Another is that it will help expand LC's truck driving school. Two hundred-plus students a
year now graduate; the simulator should attract more. In particular, WTC thinks it will
help offer new possibilities to people from the region that are unemployed because of hard
times in the timber industry.
WTC also plans to market the simulator to small trucking companies as a tool for keeping
their expenses down. For example, a trucking company that has changed the brand of its
fleet can send its drivers for short-course practice on the simulator before sending them
out on the highway in the new rigs.
Williams says the simulator also teaches driving technique that results in lower fuel and
maintenance expenses. This creates incentive for both management and drivers.
"Drivers can achieve as much as 17-20% reduction in fuel costs after sessions in the
simulator and some companies pass these savings along as driver bonuses."
On February 20, President Dene Thomas plans to visit the center, located at 1920 3rd
Avenue in North Lewiston. The proud crew of WTC looks forward to showing her this amazing