HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — In this time of social distancing, virtual learning isn’t just for children or even college students. Commercial driving schools can now use it too.

Truck drivers are the essential workers hauling products across the country to keep shelves stocked during this pandemic. 

But the industry faces problems in its own right with a shortage of drivers and specialized schools not able to operate at full capacity to get more people trained. 

That’s where Advanced Training Systems (ATS), which designs and manufactures virtual simulators for driver training, stepped in. 

And now, there’s an app for that.

“They have to know how to do the pre-trip inspection just like a pilot has to know how to do a pre-flight inspection before flying their airplane,” said Becky Hudson, vice president of ATS.

She says many CDL schools have closed, leaving in-person instruction unavailable for many people interested in getting a commercial license right now. However, their company is hoping that making the app widely available for free right now they will expedite a solution to the industry’s problems before it affects everyone along the supply chain.

Step-by-step Advanced Training System’s app walks you through the pre-trip inspection that every prospective driver must master.  It’s designed to put you ahead of the curve, at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home so you can get that coveted CDL once school is back in session and the DMV opens up. 

“Typically an instructor is needed and a group gathers together closely by a truck so they can see the parts and what the instructor is pointing to and they can hear what they instructor is saying,” said Hudson.  “This is not going to work with the new normal we’re going to experience with social distancing.”

ATS has made this widely available to the Commercial Vehicle Training Association and the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools so those who were already students can download it and continue to train.

But, if you think this might be something for you, right now anyone can download the app for free. It’s technology fostering the next generation of truck drivers while keeping them safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

Due to shutdowns, and even once things open up still maintaining CDC health protocols with reduced student-to-instructor ratios and other factors, they know the industry will take a hit. They say the app is just one aspect of helping. And it’s a good time to try things that have never been done before.

The promo code to get the app on iPhone or Android for free is ATS20. You just go in the App Store, and type in “Advanced Training Systems.” If you’re using Windows, submit a request via the ATS website. https://www.atstrainingsystems.com/

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