U.S. Xpress Enterprises unveiled a new professional development program for its commercial drivers on Tuesday that will use industry-leading technology to better prepare new drivers for the road and provide ongoing development for current ones.
At the company’s Tunnel Hill facility in north Georgia, executives focused on how the new program will prepare new hires, whether they are coming to U.S. Xpress straight from earning their commercial driver’s license or have years of experience at other companies. U.S. Xpress officials said the company currently has about 8,000 drivers, and the new program has already trained about 250 drivers in the past six weeks.
The new program and approach steers away from the traditional classroom style that drivers have historically trained in industry-wide. It involves hands-on and self-paced learning modules in a new computer lab, practice in the safety of a controlled driving range, stations where drivers can practice inspecting and fixing defects in parts, the chance to apply lessons in a driving simulation lab with augmented reality and more.
Matt Herndon, the company’s chief operating officer, said the company has been undergoing a transformation in the last few years with significant changes in leadership, operations and technology.
“Truck drivers, like any profession, need ongoing training, development, support and practice,” Herndon said. “That’s why we are investing in our drivers like never before with a completely new approach.”
In 2018, the average turnover rate at some of the largest truckload carriers in the country was 95 percent. Last year, U.S. Xpress announced another pioneering program called “Full Ride” at an online college to its drivers and their families. U.S. Xpress CEO Eric Fuller said it typically costs the company more than $5,000 to recruit and train a new driver.
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