The loudest messaging in trucking is that the industry is short on drivers.
One recruiting director of a major trucking carrier recently told this reporter they didn’t know how the industry could survive unless it adopts driverless trucks. But FMCSA may have another alternative: The Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB).
This new board features 16 women from across the entire industry- from recruiters to authors, and they have just one mission– to figure out why only four percent of truck drivers are women and how to encourage more female truck drivers in the industry.
Secretary of Transporation Pete Buttigieg told the FMCSA & Fleet Owner that, ‘”America needs truck drivers like never before, yet women—half the American people—have long been underestimated and underrepresented behind the wheel and in jobs across this sector,” Buttigieg said.
According to TKO there are several ways that organizations in trucking can help facilitate more female drivers in the industry.
- Create female-oriented training. Some carriers have instituted CDL training geared toward women with more truck driving simulation time, women driver support groups, sensitivity and sexual harassment training for the entire staff, and even self-defense classes.
- Fund scholarships. More than one trucking company has instituted scholarships for females graduating from High School as well as for women who desire a career change.
- Train spouses. Encourage male drivers whose wife’s show interest in driving, to help their spouse take the next step.
- Female restrooms. You know those truck stop restrooms with showers geared toward attracting over the road drivers? Did you know some of them don’t have facilities for women? So, even if it’s a male and female team do not frequent truck stops that don’t provide for women.
- Interior cab cameras. If a male trainer knows he might be recorded he may be less likely to cross the bounds of professionalism. Sexual harassment has been an industry-wide concern.
Several of these suggestions revolve around safety issues. Women in the industry want to feel like they can do their job with a reasonable expectation of a safe working environment.
Perhaps the most glaring issue for women is safe parking: A female truck driver identified as Maggie, says that heads up a small scale initiative that parallels the transportation board’s mission recounts that when she helps mentor women into the industry Maggie talks to them about safe parking. She told this Blue Eagle author that the work is doable for women, but some of the safety issues can be sometimes be intimidating.
Safe and abundant parking is an issue that has consistently ranked among al drivers’ top ten concerns according the the American Trucking Association for years. It’s encouraging that among the funding that supports this board expanded parking will be receiving some of the benefits of its passage.