TAMPA BAY (CW44 News at 10) – As the U.S. continues to produce plenty of food and other goods during the Coronavirus pandemic, the process of delivering those supplies is still being impacted. Experts are warning that the growing shortage of truck drivers could pose a serious threat to the food supply chain. A local trucker training company thinks they might have the solution after developing an app.

“It allows a student to train. They actually have a virtual truck. They have training that takes them through the pre-trip inspection, and then they can actually go through what a CDL pre-trip inspection exam would be,” said Becky Hudson, Vice President of Advanced Training Systems.

That company, located right here in Tampa Bay, manufactures hi-tech virtual reality simulators, which help train truckers before ever hitting the road. The company took note of current supply and demand issues as many training schools and DMV’s have been closed across the country.

Currently, the trucking industry is seeing a massive shortage of drivers delivering supplies.

With an initial shortage of 60,000 truckers in the U.S. prior to the pandemic, ATS says the numbers are reaching the 100,000’s, causing a backup in supply delivery to consumers. ATS took this into their own hands and created the app to train student drivers from a distance.

“Typically, it’s done in a school, it requires a truck, and it requires a group of students to be very closely gathered so they can hear the instructor,” said Hudson. They can open the hood, they can go under the truck, virtually, they can take off the wheels, see the brakes.”

Hudson says the app will ultimately help fight the shortage of drivers when the economy opens back up.

“We believe this is going to be very important going forward with the new norm,” said Hudson. “We’re actually thinking out of the box. DMVs could use this app to evaluate, to test a student and find out whether they know the information or not.”

And they plan to incorporate this as a tool even after the pandemic has passed.

“So that social distancing can be kept in place when schools do reopen and we believe that that’s going to be the future,” said Hudson.

For more info on that app  – just visit the ATS Traning website.