Driver Shortage Solution?
By Al Tucker
The simple solution is Intelligent Shifting. I’ve been away from shifting gears in heavy duty trucks for over 25 years. I admit that I was never really good at it. Driving cars, light duty trucks and vans with MT’s was easier. I switched to AMT’s for my automobile needs 20 years ago.
Fast forward to my recent trip to the Volvo Customer Experience Centre in Dublin, Virginia and my opportunity to test drive a couple of their new VNX Heavy Haul Vocational Trucks, complimented with their innovative I-Shift AMT. Eureka! These work-oriented big rigs earned themselves a Gold Star in my books.
The I-shift for Severe Service Duty with Crawler Gears built into the VND Dump Truck that I drove handled the extreme challenges designed into the test track with ease. Whether driving up or down an extreme grade, in deep mud or in rocky terrain, this intelligent VND took the job in stride. With my foot off the brake and accelerator pedals, the unit slowly and deliberately conquered the most formidable obstacles – no problem! The ergonomically designed seat handled my 200 lb. carcass comfortably over the bumpy parts. I can just imagine that the future Drivers of these VNX Work Trucks will actually look forward to getting back in the saddle, every day!
Getting behind the wheel of the VNX 740 OTR Rig provided me with a further enlightening experience. Briefed by a series of instructions from my Volvo Co-pilot Chris Stadler, I proceeded to haul two trailers with a 120,000 lb. cargo of rock around the specially designed paved Volvo test track. The objective was to complete the course while keeping the Trailer wheels on the paved tract, within the yellow lines, while entering and exiting the curves. In spite of being a Rookie Driver I gave myself a B+! Once again, Volvo’s I-Shift provided me the opportunity to focus on the task of driving. The larger, efficiently designed side mirrors combined with an expansive front area view over the sloping hood bolstered my confidence.
I would suggest to our Canadian Readers that if they are considering upgrading their current Heavy Haul Fleet, contact the nearest Volvo Dealer in your Province to arrange for a Test Drive. For the complete list of Canadian Dealers, go to here.
Beam me up Volvo, I want to Drive again! Tuck.☚