Army Training: Improvements Are Needed in 5-Ton Truck Driver Training and Supervision
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Army Training: Improvements Are Needed in 5-Ton Truck Driver Training and Supervision

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  • Alternative Title:
    Report to Congressional Requesters: Army Training: Improvements Are Needed in 5-Ton Truck Driver Training and Supervision
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  • Abstract:
    The 5-ton truck driver training programs we reviewed do not graduate drivers that are fully trained in all aspects of the instruction program and for some tasks they may be required to perform. The main reasons for these shortcomings are instructor shortages, limited environmental conditions (lack of snow, ice, steep or rocky terrain, etc.) at the training sites, and certain mission-related driving skills not being taught. There is also an imbalance between the two formal truck driver training schools: the other one has smaller classes, conducts fewer classes per year, and maintains a lower student-teacher ratio. In addition, some communication problems hinder the flow of information to instructors, students, supervisors, and licensed drivers. Some supervisory procedures and processes designed to ensure that 5-ton trucks are operated safely are not being performed or documented as required. In particular, required annual “check rides” and “sustainment training” are either not properly performed or recorded. We reviewed over 450 driver records and found that more than three-quarters of them did not contain a required entry indicating that the driver had received an annual check ride and/or sustainment training as stipulated in Army regulations. The Army Safety Center maintains an accident database that has already proven useful in developing some policies aimed at improving the safe operation of M939 trucks. We analyzed M939 accident data from 1988 through 1999 and found trends that we believe could be used to improve driving safety and to better focus training on problem areas. But the database is not being periodically analyzed for these purposes, and opportunities are thus being missed. Also, some accident reports have missing information, thus limiting the usefulness of the database for some analytical processes using these fields. We are making recommendations aimed at improving the quality of truck driver training, increasing compliance with Army regulations, and increasing the safety of M939 truck driver operations. The Department of Defense concurred with all our recommendations.
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