Theory first, then practical skills

Theory first, then practical skills

At first glance, the Young European Truck Driver competition might seem to be all about skilful truck driving. However, equally important to winning the competition is having theoretical knowledge on issues as diverse as tyre safety, reacting to an emergency and current laws. At the end of the day, the best truck drivers truly are those who can handle more than just the truck.

Seven out of ten participants in Young European Truck Driver 2012 said that they thought that the theoretical part of the competition was “interesting, instructive and challenging”, when interviewed following the event.

World’s largest driver training event

The competition’s theoretical component has evolved over the years to reflect legislative changes and also the increased knowledge drivers are expected to have in areas such as road safety and security. YETD is a part of Scania Driver Competitions, the world’s largest driver training event and more than 200,000 truck and bus drivers across the planet have sat the knowledge test to prove their theoretical knowledge.

Ensuring the test is fairly and uniformly implemented around the world presents various challenges.

Karol Stępień, 33 years, won the regional final and will enter the national final in Gdansk, Poland.

Karol Stępień, 33 years, won the regional final and will enter the national final in Gdansk, Poland.

In Poland, for example, the competition committee had to arrange an extra test round after too many drivers qualified for the final. One driver had scored 12 points out of 12 in the first round, while one scored 10 points and eight drivers scored 9 points. As the final can only involve eight drivers, the additional round helped reduce participant numbers to an acceptable level.

“This really showed that drivers are high-skilled in theoretical knowledge,” says Stefan Przeniosło, Junior Marketing Project Manager at Scania Polska. The drivers had to answer questions about laws and traffic regulations, driver working hours, security and economical operation.

Assistance from the Red Cross

In Belgium, the competition committee ran the theoretical component of the qualifying rounds with assistance from both the Red Cross and tyre manufacturer Michelin. The Red Cross contributed with questions about health and safety and also checked the drivers’ skills with CPR and fire extinguishing. Michelin provided tyres and contributed questions relating to rolling resistance, fuel economy and how the choice of tyres can affect safety.

In Belgium, answering questions about the tyres impact on fuel consumption was part of the driver competition.

In Belgium, answering questions about the tyres impact on fuel consumption was part of the driver competition.

In Romania, Scania again teamed up with the Red Cross, whose members arranged a simulated accident scene with volunteers’ playing the role of injured people. Drivers had to take care of the victims, deciding who to give aid to first and what actions were required to take to save lives.

From left: Mitrkat Bodza and Catalin Handrea from the Red Cross in Romania discuss Florin Jucan’s answers in th etheory test.

From left: Mitrkat Bodza and Catalin Handrea from the Red Cross in Romania discuss Florin Jucan’s answers in th etheory test.

Romanian YETD finalist Ionut Tolescu, says, “The Red Cross exercises are something I’ll take away with me, learn more about and use in my everyday life. First aid is important for everyone. It helps to save lives and is something that you need to know, but hope you’ll never need to use.”

Scania teamed up with the Red Cross in Romania.

Scania teamed up with the Red Cross in Romania.

Skilled drivers handle more than their truck

Mikael Person, Project Manager for Scania Driver Competitions at Scania, says, “The driver’s role is so much more than moving goods and people. The most skilled drivers can handle more than their truck in any given situation, be it at a scene of an accident or negotiating customs.”