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      OATS employees getting some real hands on training

      If you have been by the OATS facility in Macon over the last few days, you've probably noticed the brightly colored semi-truck in the parking lot.

      For the last week oats has hosted the Professional Driving Simulator Training Mobile Unit.

      Jim & Michelle Eastwood of Paducah Transit Authority out of Kentucky has been training OATS northeast Missouri drivers on safe driving techniques to and to let them practice dangerous scenarios without being in real danger and by not putting the public at risk.

      "They don't put in practice, here we get to talk about it and practice it and giving you the reality of what you need," Eastwood said.

      With the simulator training individuals can practice driving through all kinds of weather in day or night. Scenarios can be customized for each individual and ultimatley shows their strengths and weaknesses.

      "One of the things we can do is after you driven the stimulation, we can replay it and you get to see yourself drive. When I ask if you look left and you said sure, we can play it back and you didn't. The point is not embarrassment, is realizing to look left and right before crossing," Eastwood said.

      Eastwood said about 100 Macon OATS employees have been in training with the simulator and is hopeful that they will put what they learned in training out on the road.

      "It's all about safety , so we're really trying to make a difference with this. From our perspective, we want to get our people home safely at night," Eastwood said.

      The Missouri Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) provided funding to bring the unit from Kentucky to Missouri.

      This is the second time OATS has hosted the simulator. OATS in the Bridgeton facility hosted the mobile unit about two years ago.