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PTDI Certifies First Military Truck Driver Training Course
The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) recently granted its first certification of a truck driver training course at a military facility when it recognized the U.S. Air Force Tractor Trailer Training (3T) program based at Dobbins Air Reserve Base near Atlanta, Georgia.
PTDI certification of the course not only ensures that Air Force personnel will receive industry standard training to operate commercial vehicles during their service, but will also provide them with a marketable, industry-recognized credential when they seek to enter the civilian job market as veterans.
“The Air Force has taken the defense department’s motto of ‘Complete your service on Friday and begin your civilian life on Monday’ to heart. By designing their program around the standards set by PTDI, they have more than adequately prepared their service members,” said Dave Money, PTDI board chairman.
A key source of inspiration behind the Air Force 3T program came when Chief Master Sgt. Trevor Shattuck, Career Field Manager at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, attended a civilian driver-training program. Chief Shattuck saw a need for more extensive driver training to ensure his personnel would be at an equivalent skill level with their civilian counterparts.
“It’s important that when we put our Airmen outside the base on the streets with civilians, they are safe operators,” said Shattuck. “The people driving on the surface streets with our Airmen need to feel confident that the guy driving that truck knows what he’s doing.”
“Not only are we training a mission skill set with 3T, but we are also training a Military Life Cycle skill set that can be utilized once the Airman transitions from the military,” said Shattuck. “With PTDI certification for the 3T course, we meet the civilian standards, so it makes that military member much more employable once they enter the civilian sector.”
The Air Force 3T course teaches pre-trip inspection steps, shifting proficiency, and backing maneuvers, and provides valuable over-the-road driving experience. One of the highlights of the 3T course is a driving simulator located at Dobbins ARB, which allows students to take a test drive before hitting the road.
Online course materials allow the trainee to perform operator inspections, learn safe operation techniques and preventive maintenance steps for current tractors and trailers. The course encompasses more than 60 hours of one-on-one, behind-the-wheel training, including real-world operation of commercially available tractor-trailers in Atlanta’s legendary traffic. A DMV-equivalent performance test is then given at the end of the course.
“Making the driving skills of transitioning service personnel more readily marketable helps address two critical issues, veteran unemployment and the trucking industry’s continuing driver shortage,” said PTDI and Truckload Carriers Association President Brad Bentley. “We applaud the Air Force’s efforts to gain certification for the 3T course at Dobbins, and we look forward to their program serving as the basis for similar programs across all branches of the military.”
Founded in 1986, the purpose of PTDI is to advance tractor-trailer driver training, proficiency, safety, and professionalism by promoting high quality truck driver training courses and by verifying and publicly attesting to their quality. PTDI does not certify an individual’s driving skills, but schools with PTDI-certified courses may issue documentation verifying the student has successfully completed a certified course.
View photos from the Capstone event on January 23, 2015 by clicking here.