Bison Transport holds virtual truck safety courses

Bison Transport, a Canadian truckload carrier based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has added a new course called “Let’s Bring Safety Home” for its driver development and training program called Tatonka.

Let’s Bring Safety Home grew out of an idea from an employee in Toronto. While teaching his teenage daughter how to drive, the employee expressed his concern that not enough motorists know how to operate safely around trucks. In response, Bison executives decided to offer a two-hour safety training course to employees’ families and friends. As part of the course, students spend time in full motion and stationary simulators that Bison purchased from MPRI in 2003.

The advantage of using simulation is that students can practice the techniques being discussed in a safe environment and see the consequences of their driving decisions, says Garth Pitzel, director of safety and driver development. For instance, using a separate “rabbit station,” an instructor can take control of a passenger vehicle in a simulated environment and move into a truck’s blind spot or move out in front of the tractor and slam on the brakes.

The first three training courses were held on separate days in late June and early July at three of Bison’s terminals: Winnipeg, Mississauga and Calgary. Once the company announced the dates for the course, classes filled up within a week, he says. The company is already planning additional training events to meet growing demand. Management also is considering ways to expand the Let’s Bring Safety Home campaign to a wider audience by offering the training, for instance, to customers and insurance companies, he says.